2022 NPL Boys East Playoffs awards U-13 East champion, qualifies eight teams to NPL Finals
BERMUDA RUN, N.C. (June 29, 2022) – The 2022 NPL Boys East Playoffs concluded Tuesday afternoon at Truist Sports Park in Bermuda Run, N.C. The tournament was the first of a two-stage NPL postseason for U-14 through U-17 boys teams, and also served as the final destination for U-13 qualifiers from seven NPL member leagues in the Midwest and East regions.
The U-13 age group culminated with two 3-0-0 teams in the East championship game Tuesday morning: Charleston Soccer Club (S.C.; South Atlantic Premier League) and Florida Elite Soccer Academy Tallahassee (FL; Florida NPL). Ultimately, Florida Elite prevailed, taking a 2-1 halftime advantage and doubling it to win by a final score of 4-2. The NPL Boys West Playoffs also awarded a U-13 champion (Strikers FC), but there is no advancement for these teams beyond these events.
In the U-14 division, Wake FC South (N.C.; South Atlantic Premier League) and Triangle United SA (N.C.; South Atlantic Premier League) earned berths to next week’s NPL Finals. For Wake FC South, it was a conventional journey to Finals qualification through the Playoffs: three wins in group stage and then a 4-2 victory in its finale against Louisville City Academy. For Triangle United SA, though, the team saved its best performance for last. Triangle United SA entered Tuesday morning’s knockout round game with one win and two ties, but finished the tournament with a 4-0 victory over Carolina Velocity FC to clinch an NPL Finals berth.
Both U-15 knockout round games were 1-0 results in favor of Manta United SC (OH; Great Lakes Alliance) and Wake FC North (N.C.; South Atlantic Premier League). Manta United SC cruised through group stage, winning all three games by a +9 goal differential. Its knockout round game was decided in penalty kicks over South Orlando SC. Wake FC North had a slightly different path. After losing its opening game to Manta United SC, Wake FC North regrouped to win its next three games by a combined score of 7-1.
In the U-16 age group, West Pines United FC (FL; Florida NPL) and Blast FC Soccer Academy (OH; Midwest Developmental League) earned the NPL Finals slots. Both clubs won two games and tied another in group stage. Blast FC Soccer Academy won its knockout game, 4-3 against Pro Soccer Club Stars, which was the third game of their tournament resume to have been decided by one goal or less. West Pines United FC triumphed, 2-1, in its Playoffs finale over Wake FC South.
And, finally, the U-17 division berths to the NPL Finals were claimed by undefeated Southern Soccer Academy (GA; South Atlantic Premier League) and Triangle United SA (NC; South Atlantic Premier League). Triangle United surrendered only one goal in its group stage journey, ultimately finishing with a 4-2 victory in the knockout round against Croatia Juniors. Southern Soccer Academy also dialed up the defense, allowing only two goals the entire tournament, including a 3-1 final victory over Charleston Soccer Club.
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Teams were tested through three group stages over four days, as US Club Soccer instituted a rest and recovery day on Sunday as part of its Player Health & Safety pillar of Players First. Teams took advantage of the day in a variety of ways: light training sessions, bowling, visiting local colleges and even swimming in nearby Lake Norman. After returning from the off day, teams played their final group stage game. Top-performing teams then advanced to the knockout round on Tuesday. All knockout round matchups can be referenced on the tournament HQ web page.
South Atlantic Premier League qualifiers defended its home region well, winning five of the eight qualifying slots in U-14 through U-17 age groups. Three other leagues will have one representative each in Colorado: Florida NPL, Great Lakes Alliance and Midwest Developmental League. Florida NPL also earned bragging rights at the U-13 division as the league responsible for successfully preparing the U-13 East champion.
For those qualifiers, the NPL Finals – to be held July 7-11 at DICK’S Sporting Goods Park in Denver, Colorado – now awaits. The NPL Finals is the coveted destination of NPL competitors throughout the country over the course of the season. For boys divisions, U-14 through U-19 teams that qualified through the NPL East Playoffs and NPL West Playoffs will compete for National Premier Leagues titles. For girls divisions, the NPL postseason is only one stage, as qualifiers from both coasts and all the leagues in between are welcomed to Colorado to compete for U-13 through U-19 championships.
Join the conversation on social media by using the hashtags #NPLplayoffs and #NPLfinals.
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