Jefferson Cup 2018 Championship Division Preview: U-17 Boys
With the 2018 Jefferson Cup fast approaching, SoccerWire.com continues its article series previewing the top divisions for the showcase age groups. In this edition, we take a look at the teams that will be competing in the U-17 Boys Championship Division.
Scuola Calcio Inter USA 01 Academy (FL)
Coach: Ricardo Alcerro
After a strong showing in the U-16 Championship Division last spring, Florida side Scuola Calcio Inter USA 01 Academy is back in the top flight once again for 2018. The team has continued to impress in showcase competition ever since last year’s Jeff Cup. Inter USA captured a division championship in the EDP Cup Spring Showcase in June 2017, posting a perfect 3-0-0 record. They continued with a second place finish at the Disney Soccer Showcase Qualifier in September, and claimed a division title at the VisitRaleigh.com Boys Showcase (Formerly CASL Showcase) in November.
Concorde Fire ECNL (GA)
Coach: Sukhi Bal
Georgia side Concorde Fire ECNL is off to an outstanding start in the Boys ECNL this season, rising to third place in the Southeast Conference with a 9-4-3 record in conference play. Concorde has outscored Southeast opponents by a margin of 27-19 on the season, as they continue to battle for ENPL postseason positioning. Their defense has notched five clean sheets over the course of their first nine wins on the season.
Delaware FC 01 (DE)
Coach: Chibsah Abdul-Faisal
Reigning US Youth Soccer Delaware State Cup champion Delaware FC 01 continues its run of playing in some of the nation’s highest level showcase events, heading into the 2018 Jeff Cup. The team earned points in two of three games at last year’s Jefferson Cup in the U-16 Elite Division, and has since gone on to win the state title, finish as semifinalists at the Potomac Memorial Tournament and capture a division title at the Kirkwood Boys Premier Tournament. Delaware FC placed third in the US Youth Soccer Eastern Regional League last spring, and fourth in the EDP League’s 1st Division South.
GPS MA Elite Red 01 (MA)
Coach: Steve Schechter
Massachusetts powerhouse GPS Elite Red 01 is a returning Jefferson Cup champion, coming off a title run in the U-16 Elite Division last spring. GPS ran the table at the event, posting a 3-0-0 record while scoring five goals and shutting out all three of their quality opponents. The squad also captured the 2017 US Club Soccer Massachusetts State Cup title, and won the GPS Super Cup Florida championship earlier in Feburary 2018. Last spring, they finished as semifinalists in the Potomac Memorial Tournament, and placed third in the New England Premiership.
Manhattan SC Emelec (NY)
Coach: Steve Schechter
New York City squad Manhattan SC Emelec has racked up four premier level showcase tournament titles since March 2017. Emelec had a perfect 3-0-0 showing in the Manhattan Kick-Off Classic in March, before going on to post an unbeaten four-game run in the Potomac Memorial Tournament’s top flight. Manhattan went on to close out the year with two more division titles at the EDP Cup Fall Showcase and the Disney Soccer Showcase.
North Carolina FC 01 Elite (NC)
Coach: Doug Prewett
US Youth Soccer North Carolina State Cup champion and Region III semifinalist North Carolina FC 01 Elite is perennially one of the southern region’s top 2001 teams. The squad placed second in the 2017 Jefferson Cup’s U-16 Championship Division, posting an unbeaten 2-0-1 record, while outscoring opponents 7-3. They had a strong third place finish in the 2016-2017 US Youth Soccer National League season, competing in the U-16 Black Division.
Penn Fusion SA ECNL 01 (PA)
Coach: Jonathan Rhodes
Eastern Pennsylvania squad Penn Fusion SA ECNL 01 is off to a fast start in Boys ECNL competition, compiling a 2-1-1 record through four games. They stormed past Continental FC 6-0 in their first Northeast Conference match-up, before having a 1-1-1 showing at the Boys ECNL Florida National Event over the New Year holiday. Their Florida event was highlighted by a 4-2 win in the closing match against Texas side Lonestar SC. Penn Fusion placed fourth out of 12 teams in a highly competitive U-16 Championship Division at the 2017 Jefferson Cup.
Richmond Strikers 01 Elite (VA)
Coach: John Faircloth
Host club Richmond Strikers 01 Elite has earned its way into the Jefferson Cup’s top bracket following an outstanding fall season. The squad captured the US Youth Soccer Virginia State Cup title in November at the U-17 level, before going on to claim division titles at the prestigious VisitRaleigh.com Boys Showcase (Formerly CASL Showcase) and the PA Classics Winter College Showcase. Most recently, the Strikers stormed through their bracket at the PA Classics event in December, winning three straight games while outscoring their competition 10-1.
SJEB Rush 01 Academy (NJ)
Coach: Clifford Simmons
Tri-State area force SJEB Rush 01 Academy will look to add to its collection of top level showcase tournament titles as it competes in the Jefferson Cup’s top bracket. The team is coming off championship runs at the VisitRaleigh.com Boys Showcase, EDP Cup Fall Showcase and the PA Classics Winter College Showcase. They also earned first and second place finishes in the two EDP Spring Showcase events in 2017. In December at the PA Classics Showcase, SJEB Rush did not allow a single goal while sweeping their three opponents in Bracket D of the U-17 Championship Division.
STA-Morris United SC 01 NPL (NJ)
Coach: Laurence Smith
New Jersey State Cup finalist STA-Morris United 01 NPL has racked up showcase division titles at the Penn Fusion Winter Showcase, Bethesda Premier Cup, EDP Cup Spring Showcase, Potomac Memorial Tournament and the EDP Easter Showcase, all since the start of 2017. In addition to their second place finish in the US Youth Soccer National Championship Series state tournament, they advanced all the way to the title match in the 2017 US Club Soccer Mid-Atlantic Regional. STA-Morris United SC also placed third in their division at the 2017 Jefferson Cup, finishing with an unbeaten 2-0-1 record.
Strikers FC Southbay Black 01 (CA)
Coach: Marcus Chorvat
Southern California State Cup semifinalist Strikers FC Southbay Black 01 will travel to the East Coast to match-up with some of the top opponents from the other side of the country. Strikers FC has fared well in showcase competition out west, winning a pair of division titles at Pats Cup and the Players College Showcase in 2017. They also earned a second place finish in the West Coast Futbol Classic over the summer, and over Thanksgiving weekend they allowed just two goals over the course of three games at the highly competitive San Diego Surf Cup College Showcase.
Vaughan Azzurri (CND)
Coach: Vince Calabria
Canadian side Vaughan Azzurri has always made the most of their trips to the United States, consistently putting forward impressive performances at some of the most competitive events in the country. In March 2017, Azzurri traveled to Northern Virginia for the Premier Cup powered by Under Armour, and stormed through the U-16 Showcase White Division with a 3-0-0 record, 14 goals scored and none allowed. Their trip to Texas in May 2017 resulted in another division title, this time at the Umbro Top Rated Showcase. A week later, they visited Pennsylvania for the FC DELCO Players Cup, where they racked up 13 goals and conceded only one over the course of four games, resulting in another first place finish.