IMG Academy crowns Boy’s Invitational Champions on final day
BRADENTON, Fla. – The IMG Cup – Boy’s Invitational concluded today with nine champions crowned in the U14, U15, U16, U17, U18/19 and Super Group divisions. Seventy-six elite club soccer teams from 10 states and 10 countries descended on IMG Academy for this year’s event, marking the deepest and most talented field in the event’s four year history.
“We have strived to elevate the talent of the IMG Cup every year, and this was without a doubt the best year we’ve had for this event,” remarked IMG Academy Director of Soccer Scott Dean at the conclusion of the IMG Cup.
Dean added: “We introduced teams from around the world to Bradenton, and exposed our community to players at the highest levels of youth soccer who will no doubt be the stars of tomorrow in this game. Now we’re looking forward to welcoming the MLS Eastern Conference to campus for preseason.”
Earlier this week, it was announced that Major League Soccer (MLS) selected IMG Academy as its Eastern hub for the 2014 preseason. MLS teams including the Chicago Fire, Columbus Crew, D.C. United, FC Dallas, New England Revolution and Toronto FC are expected to train and compete in a series of friendlies also featuring international clubs beginning in late January and continuing through the end of February.
However, Sunday belonged to the victors of the fourth annual IMG Cup.
The winners of the 2014 IMG Cup, by division:
Super Group; Champion – Cruzeiro Esporte Club (Brazil)
The Super Group came down to a winner-take-all match between the Premier Academy League’s Tottenham Hotspur and Brazil’s Cruzeiro Esporte Clube. It was a defensive battle that ended in a 1-1 draw. Cruzeiro, however, had been undefeated leading into this morning’s match, and was rewarded with the Super Group division title over Tottenham, who played to a draw earlier in the week, giving Cruzeiro the advantage on points.
Past Super Group champions include the U.S. Soccer U17 Men’s National Team (2010, 2012) and Israel’s Maccabi Haifa (2011).
U19/18 Division; Champions – Blue: IMG Academy U19; White: West Florida Flames
The U18/19 division was divided into two tables, the Blue and White. In the Blue table, the IMG Academy U19sannexed the title with a 1-0 victory over Texas’ Houston Dynamo. The White table, meanwhile, went to West Florida Flames, who upended the Gainesville Soccer Alliance 95/96 squad by a 4-2 margin.
U17 Division; Champions – Blue: IMG Academy U17s; White: Queretaro
The IMG Academy U17s would not be denied at the IMG Cup, finishing their 4-0-0 run through the event in the Blue table with a 12-0 combined scoring margin over their opponents. To cap off the title, IMG Academy knocked off the Houston Dynamos, 1-0 in a defensive struggle. In the White table, Mexico’s Queretaro was likewise dominant, rolling through the competition by a combined margin of 17-1. In the U17 White finale, Queretaro bested the River City Rovers out of Colorado, 4-0.
U16 Division; Champions – Blue: Calgary Spartans; White: Florida Pumas
Calgary Spartans took their leave from Canada’s frigid winter, and took full advantage of the opportunity by crushing the opposition by a combined 18-6 scoring margin. Calgary earned a well deserved souvenir with the U17 Blue title by taking down the vaunted FC Rosich of Moscow, Russia. Across the division, the Florida Pumas earned the U17 White title with a convincing 3-1 win over Florida’s San Carlos Park Scorpion U16s.
U15 Division; Champion – Weston 98 Pre-Academy
It was a big day for Weston FC, whose Pre-Academy teams earned a pair of titles to bring home on the day. The Weston 98 Pre-Academy moved the ball effectively all weekend, and capped off the event with a 2-1 victory over U15 runner-up, Atlanta Fire.
U14 Division; Champion – Weston 00 Pre-Academy
The first of West FC’s two titles on Sunday, the Weston FC 00 Pre-Academy team was an offensive juggernaut, scoring a combined 22 goals in just four games. On Sunday, they continued their offensive assault against Leg AZ of Gainesville, Fla., 6-0.