Jefferson Cup 2016 Championship Division Preview: U-17 Boys
With the 2016 Jefferson Cup quickly approaching, SoccerWire.com has started an article series previewing the top divisions for the showcase age groups. Continue reading for a look at the U-17 Boys Championship Division.
Carolina Elite SA 98 Premier
Coach: Nick Finotti
Reigning Region III champion and South Carolina State Cup finalist CESA 98 Premier is having another strong season, placing first in the US Youth Soccer Southern Regional Premier League and third in the National League’s U-17 Red Division. The team earned points in six of its seven National League matches, compiling a 3-1-3 record while giving up less than a goal per game. Quinn McNeill led CESA with two goals in National League play, while five other players netted one each for the balanced attack.
CASL 98 Red
Coach: Dan Popik
CASL 98 Red is coming off a 2014-2015 season in which the team captured a North Carolina State Cup title, advanced all the way to the semifinal round of the US Youth Soccer Region III Championships and placed first in the NCYSA Spring Classic League. The team went on to finish third in the highly competitive US Youth Soccer Southern Regional Premier League U-17 East Division this fall, and recently competed in some of the top flights of the Disney Soccer Showcase and CASL Boys Showcase.
Concorde Fire Elite 98-99
Coach: Ken Kurilec
Georgia’s Concorde Fire Elite 98-99 has established itself as one of the best teams in the South, winning the 2015 State Cup at the U-16 level and going on to reach the quarterfinals of the US Youth Soccer Region III Championships. During the fall season, the team placed fourth in the Southern Regional Premier League U-17 East Division.
FC Virginia / SYC Strikers Blue
Coach: Julian Chang
Northern Virginia side FC Virginia / SYC Strikers Blue made a major splash during the 2015 EDP League’s spring season, finishing at the top of the U-16 1st Division South. Since then, the team has gone on to win the USA Champions League, reach the finals of the OBGC Capital Cup and claim a division title at the prestigious CASL Boys Showcase.
LDC United Italia 98-99
Coach: Jason Pelletier
One of the premier teams not only in Eastern Pennsylvania but anywhere in the country, LDC United has stormed through college showcase competition over the past year, winning division titles at top events including the Challenger Invitational, Potomac Memorial Tournament, Spring EDP Cup, US Club Soccer Mid-Atlantic Regional, MSSL Summer Showcase, APC Challenge Cup, Winter EDP Cup and PA Classics Winter College Showcase. A few of the team’s key playmakers in the EDP League and recent showcase events include forwards Alex Henry, Luca Nardini, Nathan Smithers, Cameron Shollenberger and midfielder Stephen Thompson.
Loudoun 98 Red
Coach: Mark Ryan
Representing one of the top clubs in Virginia, 2014 US Youth Soccer National Competitive Coach of the Year Mark Ryan‘s squad recently won the State Cup title and made runs to the semifinals of the 2015 US Youth Soccer Region I and National Championships. The team currently leads the Club Champions League U-17 Boys Division with an unbeaten 12-0-1 record, following up on a 2014-2015 campaign in which they won the CCL’s U-16 Boys Division at 13-1-1. In December, Loudoun won the top bracket of the Disney Soccer Showcase and secured a spot in the 2016 US Youth Soccer National Championships by clinching a top two finish in the National League. Midfielder Michael Scully and goalkeeper Nabil Milani have each been selected for the Region I ODP squad this season, while forward Giovanni Vasquez is second in the National League in scoring with six goals.
Massapequa SC Aces
Coach: Rich Nuttall
New York East State Cup champion Massapequa SC had a remarkable spring season in 2015, placing first in the Region I Champions League Division 2 White and winning one of the most competitive divisions at the Potomac Memorial Tournament, in addition to claiming the state title. Over the winter, Massapequa reached the semifinals of the Disney Soccer Showcase U-17 Gray Division with a 1-0-2 record in group play. Defenders Tyler Hutchinson and Alessandro Sambone have each been selected for the Region I ODP squad for the 2015-2016 season.
Match Fit Academy FC 98/99
Coach: Pete Kay
New Jersey State Cup champion and US Youth Soccer Region I semifinalist Match Fit Academy FC 98/99 is also fresh off a Disney Soccer Showcase title in one of the top flights, a semifinal appearance in the ASL Spring Showcase, a run to the MSSL Spring College Showcase finals and a first place finish in the EDP League’s 1st Division Central in the spring 2015 season.
NY Hota Thunder 98
Coach: Vinny Innes
Eastern New York side NY Hota Thunder 98 earned a division championship in the competitive New York Club Soccer League (NYCSL) in the spring of 2015, finishing with an unbeaten 9-0-2 record while racking up 34 goals and giving up only five. In May 2015, Hota reached the finals of the FC DELCO Players Cup top flight. Hota had a strong showing among some of the best US Club Soccer teams in the country at the 2015 NPL Finals in Indiana, advancing to the semifinal round.
OBGC Roadrunners Blue
Coach: Julio Arjona
A premier level team representing the state of Maryland, OBGC Roadrunner Blue has torn through college showcase competition over the past year, winning divisions at the PA Classics Mid-Atlantic Cup, Kirkwood Boys College Showcase and SAC United Premier Columbus Day Tournament, while also reaching the finals of the Disney Soccer Showcase Premier Red Division. The team finished third in the Spring 2015 EDP League’s 1st Division South and fifth in the Region I Champions League Division 1 White.
Ohio Galaxies FC 98 Elite
Coach: Tom Robey
Ohio Galaxies FC 98 Elite enters the Jefferson Cup with recent championships at the adidas Blue Chip College Showcase and its home club’s Boys College Showcase. Galaxies also finished second in the Midwest Regional League’s U-16 Premier I Red Division during the spring of 2015, and has since gone on to compete in some of the top flights at the CASL Boys Showcase and Disney Soccer Showcase. Class of 2017 midfielder Ramon Bajeca and forward Lamondre Roumegoux have both been selected for the Region II ODP squad for 2015-2016.
Penn Fusion SA 98 Elite
Coach: Mark Thomas
Undoubtedly one of the teams to beat in this division, Penn Fusion SA 98 Elite nearly claimed the tri-fecta of State, Regional and National titles in 2015 along with impressive showings at some of the nation’s top showcase events. Fusion won the Pennsylvania East State Cup title and the US Youth Soccer Region I title, and went on to reach the semifinals of the National Championships in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The team also finished at the top of the table in the Region I Champions League’s Division 1 White in the spring of 2015, and since then has gone on to win division titles at the Bethesda Premier Cup and Potomac Memorial Tournament, while placing fourth in the US Youth Soccer National League’s U-17 Red Division. Frank DeRosa led the team in National League play with three goals on the season.