2022 NPL Boys West Playoffs awards U-13 West champion, qualifies eight teams to NPL Finals
DENVER, Colorado (June 29, 2022) – The 2022 NPL Boys West Playoffs concluded Tuesday afternoon at DICK’S Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colorado. 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 Central and West regions.
In the U-13 age group, Strikers FC (CA; SOCAL Discovery NPL) and FC Dallas Youth (TX; United Soccer Clubs) were the only teams to win all three of their group stage games, setting up a finale between the two in Tuesday’s knockout round. Strikers FC won, 5-0, capping a dominating tournament with a 26-1 goal differential. The NPL Boys East Playoffs also awarded a U-13 champion (Florida Elite Soccer Academy), but there is no advancement for these teams beyond these events.
The U-14 division was tightly contested throughout the tournament, but SoCal Elite FC (CA; SOCAL Discovery NPL) and Addison United SC (IL; Northern Illinois Soccer League NPL Division) ultimately prevailed, clinching berths to next week’s NPL Finals. SoCal Elite FC was the only team in the 12-team division to win every game, and it capped the successful long weekend with a 2-0 victory over NorCal rival FC Sporting Manchester. Addison United SC entered its finale with two wins a tie and defeated Strikers FC, 4-1, on Tuesday.
Both knockout round games in the U-15 age group were decided by one goal. Utah Surf (UT; Yellowstone Premier League) and Houstonians FC (TX; United Soccer Clubs) earned the age group’s qualifying spots to the NPL Finals. Utah Surf regrouped from a 1-1 tie in its opening game to win its next three games all by 1-0 margins. Houstonians FC lost its first group stage game but rebounded in a big way, outscoring its next three opponents by a combined 11-3 score.
In the U-16 division, the knockout round was a high-scoring affair. 1974 Newark FC (CA; NorCal Premier NPL) won, 5-1, over Sockers FC Chicago, and Total Futbol Academy (CA; SOCAL Discovery NPL) defeated Anaheim FC, 4-2. 1974 Newark FC won all four of its games by at least two goals. Total Futbol Academy overcame an opening game draw in the crowded 16-team division to win its next three games.
The U-17 age group qualified Wenatchee FC (WA; Washington Premier League) and Steel United (CA; SOCAL Discovery NPL) to the NPL Finals. Wenatchee FC defeated the highest scoring team of the division, California Odyssey SC, 2-1, in its knockout matchup. In the other qualifying game, Steel United overcame Roadrunners SC, 2-0.
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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, touring area attractions and visiting local colleges. 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.
Among the 10 qualifying NPL member leagues to the NPL Boys West Playoffs, SOCAL Discovery NPL now sends the most representatives to the NPL Finals with four. Texas-based United Soccer Clubs was responsible for a pair of qualifiers. NorCal Premier NPL is next in line with one qualifier, plus bragging rights as the U-13 West champion. Northern Illinois Soccer League, Washington Premier League and Yellowstone Premier League contributed one two apiece.
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 West Playoffs and NPL East 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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