Jefferson Cup 2017 Championship Division Preview: U-18 Boys
With the 2017 Jefferson Cup fast 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-18 Boys Championship Division.
Arlington SA 99 Red (VA)
Coach: Dario Pot
Northern Virginia side Arlington SA 99 Red has posted strong performances in both league and tournament competition over the past year. The team recently finished as a semifinalist in the Virginia State Cup and completed its second straight winning season in the US Youth Soccer National League. In 2016, Arlington earned second place finishes in the Jefferson Cup U-17 Elite Division and in the 2015-2016 Club Champions League U-17 age group. This season, Arlington is off to a 7-1-0 start in CCL play. They recently capped off the National League season with a 4-3-0 record, as Marcel Guzman tied for second among all U-18 Boys players with five goals.
Marin FC 99 Blue (CA)
Coach: Phillip Billeci-Gard
The only West Coast representative in the group, Marin FC 99 Blue is one of the most accomplished NPL sides anywhere in the country. Marin is the reigning champ of the US Club Soccer NorCal State Cup and is fresh off an undefeated season in the NorCal NPL, as the team went 6-0-3 while outscoring opponents 24-2 during the fall of 2016. On the national stage, Marin advanced all the way to the title match at the 2016 US Club Soccer National Cup and finished second overall in the U-16 Super Group. Marin has also found success on the international level, placing first in its group at the 2016 Dallas Cup, posting a 2-0-1 record and not allowing a single goal in Bracket F.
OBGC Roadrunners Blue 99 (MD)
Coach: Julio Arjona
Maryland’s OBGC Roadrunners Blue will look to add to its collection of division championships, which includes recent title runs in the top brackets at the PA Classics Winter Showcase and the EDP Cup Fall Showcase. OBGC placed second in the EDP League’s 1st Division South last spring, compiling a 4-1-3 record and playing the toughest defense in the league with just five goals allowed on the season. Most recently, the team went unbeaten in group play at the Disney Soccer Showcase with a 1-0-2 record, going toe-to-toe with elite level teams from New York, Tennessee and North Carolina. OBGC has earned its way into the Jefferson Cup’s top bracket once again, following appearances in other top showcases including the San Diego Surf Cup, Potomac Memorial Tournament, APC Premier Cup and others over the past year.
Patriot FC Red (PA)
Coach: Steven DeMatteo
One of several reigning State Cup champion teams in the division, Patriot FC Red has had consistent success across various US Youth Soccer and EDP competitions. The team defeated another Jefferson Cup attendee, FC Montco, in the US Youth Soccer Pennsylvania East State Cup title match last spring, and has since gone on to finish as a semifinalist at the US Youth Soccer Region I Championships and as a division champion at the EDP Cup Fall Showcase. Patriot FC’s Daniel Harmon was tied for third among all U-16 players at the Region I Championships with three goals, helping lead the team to a perfect 3-0-0 run through Group D, as they outscored opponents 13-1. They also went undefeated at 6-0-1 during the Region I Champions League Spring 2016 season, finishing at the top of the eight-team table with the top scoring offense (23 goals) along with the top-ranked defense (4 goals allowed).
ACYS Spirit United 99 Elite (FL)
Coach: Eduardo Santos
In a state loaded with soccer talent, ACYS Spirit United 99 Elite has accomplished the challenging feat of consistently finishing at or near the top of some of Florida’s most prestigious competitions. Spirit United is in the midst of a dominant season in the Florida State Premier League, winning 11 of its first 12 matches to take over the top spot in the 16-team table. The team has racked up 10 more goals than the next highest-scoring side in the league, with 41 through just a dozen games. ACYS also won the US Club Soccer Florida in the U-16 age group and claimed a division title at the Disney Memorial Day Soccer Shootout.
BRYC Elite Academy 99/00 (VA)
Coach: Brian Welsh
Reigning Virginia State Cup champion BRYC Elite Academy 99/00 has not slowed down since claiming the state title in the fall, recently finishing the US Youth Soccer National League season with a 4-2-1 record and putting the team in good position to qualify for the 2017 National Championships. Julien Reininger and Powell Ryan led the team with three goals each in National League action. BRYC placed second in the Region I Champions League during the Spring 2016 season with a 4-2-1 record while allowing just two goals, and this season is off to a strong 7-2-3 start in the Club Champions League. In showcase play, BRYC recently finished as a finalist at the OBGC Capital Cup and as a semifinalist at the FC DELCO Players Cup.
Match Fit Academy FC 99 Black (NJ)
Coach: Brian Woods
EDP League squad Match Fit Academy FC 99 Black powered its way to US Club Soccer regional and national championships in 2016, capturing titles in the U-16 Super Groups of the Mid-Atlantic Regional and the National Cup. After emerging over fellow New Jersey side TSF Academy in the final of the Mid-Atlantic Regional, Match Fit went on to win five straight matches against teams from Hawaii, Washington, Florida and California at the National Cup. Both of the teams that Match Fit defeated in the semifinals and the finals of the National Cup – FC Florida Prep Academy 99 and Marin FC 99 Blue – will compete alongside Match Fit at the 2017 Jefferson Cup. Match Fit is also a returning champion of the Jeff Cup, after claiming the U-16 Elite Division title in 2016.
Carolina Elite SA 99 Premier (SC)
Coach: Nick Finotti
South Carolina State Cup champion CESA 99 Premier has fared well in some of the top competitions in Region III, including the CASL Boys Showcase and the Southern Regional Premier League. In November 2016, CESA posted an unbeaten 2-0-1 record to win the top division in its age group at the CASL Showcase, allowing just one goal while racking up nine at the event. CESA went 5-3-1 to finish in the top four of the Southern Regional Premier League last season, outscoring opponents 18-12. The team completed its US Youth Soccer National League season in December, finishing with a 1-2-4 record, earning points in five of seven matches. Nassim Al-nawasreh ranked tied for second among all U-18 Boys players with five goals in National League action.
Concorde Fire Elite 99 (GA)
Coach: Ken Kurilec
US Youth Soccer Region III champion Concorde Fire Elite 99 has followed up one outstanding season with another, going from winning the regional title and earning a third place finish in the US Youth Soccer National League, to having another winning season in the National League and capturing a division title at the Disney Soccer Showcase. Concorde recently finished the 2016-2017 National League campaign with a 4-3-0 record, picking up two wins in three regular season matches alongside the Disney Showcase on the team’s final weekend of league play. They also defeated Texas North State Cup champion Dallas Texans 99 Red to win the division title at the event. Concorde midfielder Alex Field leads all U-18 Boys players in the National League this season with six goals.
FC Montco Die Mannschaft (PA)
Coach: Dominick Balsamo
Eastern Pennsylvania side FC Montco Die Mannschaft has earned first or second place finishes in virtually every competition it has entered over the past year, including some of the most challenging events on the East Coast. Montco claimed division championships at the 2016 EDP Open Cup and EDP Easter Showcase, and placed second at the APC Premier Cup, EDP Cup Spring Showcase and in the Eastern Pennsylvania State Cup. In league play, the team finished second in the EDP League’s 1st Division Central during the spring of 2016, going 6-1-2 while tying with Match Fit Academy for the top-ranked defense in the 10-team table, allowing only eight goals. The team also placed second in the 2016 Region I Premier League, posting a 5-2-0 record while outscoring opponents 15-6.
Yonkers United Golden Touch (NY)
Coach: Winston Buddle
Representing the state of New York and the EDP League, Yonkers United Golden Touch is coming off a highly successful year. The team placed first in the EDP League’s 1st Division North during the Spring 2016 season, posting an undefeated 6-0-2 record while outscoring opponents 24-10. Yonkers United went on to claim a division title at the EDP Fall Classic, earning four straight clean sheets wins at the event. They have also finished as semifinalists at the 2016 Manhattan Kick-Off Classic, Eastern New York State Cup and the Disney Soccer Showcase.
South Carolina United FC 99 Elite (SC)
Coach: Robert Strickland
The Jefferson Cup’s top U-18 bracket will include the reigning champion and finalist of the South Carolina State Cup, as 2017 runner-up South Carolina United FC 99 Elite will also represent the state. In addition to State Cup success, United has captured division championships in the top brackets of the CASL Boys Showcase and the Charlotte Invitational. The team earned a third place finish in the Southern Regional Premier League during the fall, compiling a 5-3-1 record behind the second-most prolific attack in the U-18 Premier Division with 22 goals scored. In National League play, United forward Kellan O’Hara is tied for second among U-18 players with five goals.
CASL 99 Red (NC)
Coach: Jeremy Wisdo
North Carolina’s CASL 99 Red has tested itself against some of the top competition in the country, and has consistently matched-up well. The team finished second in the North Carolina Spring Classic League last spring, ahead of 10 other teams in the U-16 Premier Division. In tournament play, CASL was a finalist in both the 2016 North Carolina State Cup and at the Disney Soccer Showcase, competing in the U-18 Championship Red Division. CASL won Group A of its division at Disney, beating out teams from Pennsylvania, Ohio and Georgia, before falling 3-1 in the title match to Virginia’s Annandale United FC. CASL had a terrific showing at the 2016 Jefferson Cup, sweeping its three opponents while giving up just two goals at the event. The team was one of three to finish with a perfect record in the Jeff Cup’s 12-team U-16 Superior Division.
FC Florida Prep Academy 99 (FL)
Coach: Jelco Petrov
Coming off division championship runs at the Disney Soccer Showcase, Bethesda Premier Cup, US Club Soccer Southeast Regional and the 2016 EDP Cup Spring Showcase, FC Florida Prep Academy 99 will look to add to its growing list of tournament accolades with another title at the Jefferson Cup. FC Florida also placed second in its divisions at the 2016 Manhattan Kick-Off Classic and at its own club’s FC Florida Invitational, and finished as a semifinalist in the 2016 US Club Soccer Florida Cup and the US Club Soccer National Cup. Most recently, the team netted 12 goals over the course of four straight wins at the Disney Showcase, culminating with a 4-2 victory against Maryland’s Pipeline SC in the title match.
Loudoun 99 Red (VA)
Coach: Mark Ryan
In 2016, Loudoun 99 Red won it all at the US Youth Soccer National Championships and the US Youth Soccer Region I Championships, while also dominating in league play, finishing at the top of the table in the Club Champions League and the Region I Champions League. The team also placed second in the top bracket of the Jefferson Cup and in the Virginia State Cup. This season, Loudoun has gone unbeaten at 8-0-1 through its first nine CCL matches. Bret Halsey and Bryan Silver led the team with three goals each in National League play this season. Loudoun forward Bardia Kimiavi was the Golden Ball award winner for the U-16 boys age group at the 2016 US Youth Soccer National Championships.
West Florida Flames 99 Elite Brandon (FL)
Coach: Michael Lawrence
West Florida Flames 99 Elite Brandon will seek a fifth straight division championship in tournament play at the Jefferson Cup, following up on title runs at the Disney Soccer Showcase Qualifier, the CASL Boys Showcase, the NCAA Men’s College Cup Showcase and the Disney Soccer Showcase. Most recently, the Flames earned four straight wins at the Disney Showcase in the U-18 Showcase Black Division, highlighted by a 5-0 rout of FC Dallas 99 East in the final. The team also reached the semifinals of the 2016 US Club Soccer Florida Cup, and has established itself as a contender in the Florida State Premier League, climbing to fourth place out of 16 teams in the U-18 Boys Division.