Jefferson Cup 2018 Championship Division Preview: U-18 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 competing in the U-18 Boys Championship Division.
Delaware Rush 00 (DE)
Coach: Tyler Bastianelli
Reigning US Youth Soccer State Cup champions Delaware Rush 00 returns to the top flight of the Jefferson Cup following another banner year. Rush was one of three teams in the 2017 Jeff Cup’s U-17 Championship Division to not lose a game, placing third in the 12-team group. Following their state title run, Rush went on to finish as semifinalists at the US Youth Soccer Region I Championships last summer. In league play, the squad earned a second place finish in the US Youth Soccer National League’s U-17 Red Division last season, posting a strong 5-2-0 record.
Global Premier Soccer – MA Elite 00 Red (MA)
Coach: Brian Harkin
US Club Soccer Mid-Atlantic Regional finalist Global Premier Soccer Eite 00 Red has earned continued success across showcase competition over the past year. Along with reaching the regional title match, the team captured division titles at the prestigious Potomac Memorial Tournament, the GPS Summer Showcase and the GPS Thanksgiving Showcase in 2017. They also advanced to the semifinals of the 2017 US Club Soccer Massachusetts State Cup last spring.
Global Premier Soccer – NH 00 NPL (NH)
Coach: John Price
New Hampshire’s GPS 00 NPL is one of several reigning State Cup champions competing in this year’s U-18 Boys top bracket at the Jefferson Cup. The squad is coming off back-to-back division titles at high level showcase tournaments, including the GPS Thanksgiving Showcase and the Massapequa Winter College Showcase. In the summer of 2017, GPS advanced all the way to the semifinals of the US Club Soccer National Cup, and in league play, earned a second place finish in the New England Premiership. They are another returning side in the Jeff Cup’s top bracket, having placed second out of 12 teams in the 2017 Jefferson Cup’s U-17 Championship Division with an unbeaten 2-0-1 record.
Marin FC 00 Blue (CA)
Coach: Troya Cowell
NorCal NPL side Marin FC 00 Blue will be the lone West Coast representative in the 2018 Jeff Cup’s U-18 Championship Division. The team is the reigning NorCal State Cup champion in the ’00 age group, in one of the nation’s most competitive National Premier Leagues. Their state title run culminated with a win over US Youth Soccer Region IV champion Santa Clara 00 Sporting Green. Marin FC also earned a first place finish in Bracket A of the U-18 Super Black Division at the prestigious San Diego Surf Cup over the summer. They placed second in their eight-team group at the highly competitive Players Showcase in Las Vegas with a 3-1-0 record, and allowed a division-low two goals over the course of four games.
North Carolina FC Youth 00 Elite (NC)
Coach: Tim Evans
Returning Jefferson Cup ’00 Championship Division title holders North Carolina FC Youth 00 Elite will look to defend their crown in 2018, now at the U-18 level. NCFC swept its three opponents in the U-17 Championship Division at the 2017 Jeff Cup, scoring a division-high eight goals, and allowing a division-low one goal on the defensive side. The team was simply dominant across all competitions in 2017, also capturing the US Youth Soccer North Carolina State Cup title, placing first in the NCYSA Spring Classic League, and winning a division championship at the VisitRaleigh.com Showcase (Formerly the CASL Showcase). They also placed third in the US Youth Soccer National League’s U-17 Blue Division and advanced all the way to the finals of the US Youth Soccer Region III Championships.
ACYS Spirit United 00 Elite (FL)
Coach: Claude Davis
Yet another State Cup champion in the division, Florida side ACYS Spirit United 00 Elite allowed just one total goal over the course of three games during the knockout stages of their US Youth Soccer state title run last spring. The team also won the US Club Soccer Florida Cup in 2017, recording three straight clean sheet victories on their way to the championship. In league play, ACYS Spirit United finished at the top of the table in the US Youth Soccer Southern Regional Premier League, posting an unbeaten 8-0-1 record while scoring a division-high 23 goals, and allowing a division-low seven goals. During the fall of 2017, the team captured division titles at the VisitRaleigh.com Showcase and the IMG Cup Boys Invitational.
STA – Morris United SC 00 NPL (NJ)
Coach: Thomas Shields
Tri-State area powerhouse STA – Morris United SC 00 NPL has finished at the top of the overwhelming majority of leagues, showcases and state tournaments it has participated in over the past year. In 2017 alone, the team claimed tournament division titles at the Disney Soccer Showcase, EDP Cup Fall Showcase, Bethesda Premier Cup, EDP Cup Spring Showcase and the Potomac Memorial Tournament. STA – Morris United SC also won the US Youth Soccer New Jersey State Cup title, and finished second in the US Club Soccer State Cup. They placed first in the EDP League’s 1st Division North last spring, posting a 6-1-0 record while scoring 31 goals and conceding just nine.
Virginia Rush 00 (VA)
Coach: Roland Aguilera
The only team in the division that will be playing in its home state, Virginia Rush 00 is making the leap to the Jefferson Cup’s top flight after capturing the U-17 Superior Division title at the 2017 event. Rush swept its three opponents at last year’s Jeff Cup, racking up nine goals while finishing at the top of the 12-team bracket. The Jeff Cup was one of five showcase tournaments in which Rush won division championships in 2017, along with the APC Premier Cup, OBGC Capital Cup, VisitRaleigh.com Showcase and the Atlantic Cup. The team also advanced all the way to the semifinals of the 2017 US Club Soccer NPL Finals and the US Youth Soccer Virginia State Cup.