26 Jul VIDEO: National champions take center stage at National Cup XVI Finals
WESTFIELD, Ind. | US Club Soccer awarded 22 national championships this past Monday at the conclusion of the National Cup XVI Finals, the culminating event of its cup-based national competition.
A total of 180 teams representing 104 clubs and 23 states competed at Grand Park, July 21-24, for the chance at adding their name to the prestigious Doug Hamilton Memorial Trophy. While the four-day tournament schedule, which included group stages and knockout rounds, was challenging in itself, the journey for competitors began in various qualification pathways earlier this summer – either through a National Cup XVI Regional or qualifying state cup.
Teams competed within Super Group (most competitive) and Premier Group divisions among 13-U through 18/19-U boys and girls age groups. It was the 16th edition of the National Cup, and the largest Finals tournament field in history.
The championship round featured 16 games that were decided by one goal. Monday’s national championship game results are as follows:
13-U Super Group: Western United Pioneers FC ’04 NPL (Mass.)
Western United Pioneers FC ’04 NPL 2, Sockers FC ’04 Academy I 1
13-U Premier Group: Apple Valley SC Storm Academy (Calif.)
Apple Valley SC Storm Academy 2, Sockers FC ’04 Academy 2 0
14-U Super Group: Sockers FC ’03 Academy I (Ill.)
Sockers FC ’03 Academy I 1, STA MUSC ’03 NPL 0
14-U Premier Group: North Central United Select (Ill.)
North Central United Select 3, Seacoast United Maine ’03 1
15-U Super Group: GPS MA ’02 NPL (Mass.)
GPS MA ’02 NPL 2, Empire Niagara Elite 1
15-U Premier Group: GPS NH Classics ’02 NPL (N.H.)
GPS NH Classics ’02 NPL 2, Rochester Futbol ’02 1
16-U Super Group: Rochester Futbol ’01 (N.Y.)
Rochester Futbol ’01 3, Minneapolis United Premier 2
16-U Premier Group: LFC NPL ’01 (Mass.)
LFC NPL ’01 2, GPS NH Classics ’01 NPL 1
17-U Super Group: NEFC ’00 NPL (Mass.)
NEFC ’00 NPL 2, TSF Academy ’00 1
17-U Premier Group: Charlotte Eagles XLR8 (N.C.)
Charlotte Eagles XLR8 2, GPS MA ’00 State Elite 1
18/19-U Premier Group: Seacoast United Maine SC Mariners (Maine)
Seacoast United Maine NPL 98/99 3, Eastern FC Spurs ’98 NPL 1
13-U Super Group: FC Dallas ’04 JDL Red (Texas)
FC Dallas ’04 JDL Red 1, FC Stars Pre-ECNL ’04 0
13-U Premier Group: North Central United Select (Ill.)
North Central United Select 2, Rev Academy Black 1
14-U Super Group: Boston Breakers Academy ’03 ECNL (Mass.)
Boston Breakers Academy ’03 ECNL 2, Hawaii Rush ’03 1
14-U Premier Group: Northern Steel Fusion (Pa.)
Northern Steel Fusion 3, Rev Academy Black 2
15-U Super Group: Massapequa Lil Rowdies NPL ’02 (N.Y.)
Massapequa Lil Rowdies NPL ’02 1, Seacoast United ’02 NPL 0
15-U Premier Group: Lonestars ’02 Red SA (Texas)
Lonestars ’02 Red SA 1, FC Boulder ’02 Elite 0
16-U Super Group: South Shore Select AP (Mass.)
South Shore Select AP 2, Massapequa NPL ’01 Cosmos 0
16-U Premier Group: ASE ’01 Emerald (Wash.)
ASE ’01 Emerald 3, SoCal Rush 2
17-U Super Group: NJ Stallions Stampede NPL (N.J.)
NJ Stallions Stampede NPL 2, ISA Elite ’00 NPL 0
17-U Premier Group: Cleveland Cobras (Ohio)
Cleveland Cobras 3, Lonestar ’00 Red SA 2
18/19-U Super Group: Riverhounds Academy ’99 (Pa.)
Riverhounds Academy ’99 2, Lake Grove-Newfield SC Tsunami 0
New England Premiership (NEP) State Cups – featuring annual state championship events in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island – advanced the most teams to Monday’s high-stakes environment. The proven pathway was responsible for eight champions and five finalists.
The GPS conglomerate was one of only two clubs to win multiple championships, as its Massachusetts affiliate clinched the 15-U Boys Super Group – which included 2016 id2 National Selection alumnus Andrew Tong – and its New Hampshire squad won a 15-U Boys Premier Group title for the second consecutive year.
The New Hampshire-based GPS team finished a successful summer after winning the same division at the National Cup XVI Mid-Atlantic Regional and NEP New Hampshire State Cup. The Mid-Atlantic Regional is another proven precursor to the Finals, as six teams that won Regional championships in Somerset, N.J. became national champions or finalists in Indiana.
For the Massachusetts-based GPS squad, it was the second title in three years after winning both the 13-U Boys Super Group and 15-U Boys Super Group championships two years ago in Westfield, Ind.
North Central United grabbed titles on the boys and girls sides: the 14-U Boys Premier Group and 13-U Girls Premier Group. Both teams qualified through the National Cup XVI Midwest Regional, joining four other Midwest Regional champions that went on to become Finals champions and runners up.
All five National Cup XVI Regionals – West, Northwest, Midwest, Southeast and Mid-Atlantic – produced at least a national finalist.
For the Academy of Soccer Excellence (ASE) ’01 Emerald girls team, the Finals capped a stellar National Cup XVI run. After going undefeated in the Northwest Regional’s 16-U Girls Super Group, the Washington-based club boasted a 2-0-1 record in Finals group stage before winning the championship game of the 16-U Girls Premier Group.
FC Dallas ’04 girls squad also used a strong Regional performance to propel its Finals aspirations. FC Dallas scored 22 goals in four games at the Southeast Regional, and then continued the scoring melee in Indiana with 14 total goals in another undefeated, title-winning display.
Western United Pioneers FC capped a successful extended stay in Westfield by winning the 13-U Boys Super Group, just a week after advancing to the semifinals of the 2017 NPL Finals.
Two future NPL members – via the newly appointed Great Lakes Alliance – secured national championships: Northern Steel Fusion (14-U Girls Premier Group) and Cleveland Cobras (17-U Girls Premier Group).
The Riverhounds Academy lived up to its reputation as perennial contender at the National Cup by winning the oldest girls age group in the Super Group division. It’s the fourth time in the past five years the club has won a National Cup Finals championship.
Seacoast United Maine SC Mariners went back-to-back after winning the 17-U Boys Premier Group last year in Colorado and then following through with another championship performance this year in the oldest boys division.
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