Jefferson Cup 2020 Championship Division Preview: U-18 Boys
With brackets set for the 2020 Jefferson Cup, SoccerWire continues its annual article series previewing the event’s Championship Divisions. In this edition, we take a look ahead at the U-18 Boys age group.
*All standings & statistics current as of March 6, 2020
Doral Elite U-18 (FL): Florida side Doral Elite earned their way into the Championship Division thanks in part to their outstanding performance last spring at the 2019 Potomac Memorial Tournament, where they won the U-17 Potomac East bracket in impressive fashion. Doral stifled their opponents all weekend long, giving up only 1 total goal in 4 games. They turned in a similarly dominant defensive effort this fall at the highly-competitive West Pines Kickoff Classic in Pembroke Pines, Fla.
CES Strikers Elite (FL): After an unbeaten 2-0-1 showing in the 2019 Jefferson Cup’s U-17 Championship Division, CES Strikers Elite hasn’t slowed down at all. The Florida State Cup champs went on to place 2nd in the 2019 US Youth Soccer Region III Championships, and this fall they went unbeaten (5-0-2) to win the Florida State Premier League title. The Strikers have also racked up three showcase tournament division titles this season, including one at the prestigious Disney Soccer Showcase.
GPS MA Elite Red 02 (MA): One of many returning figures in this age group’s first tier, GPS MA Elite Red 02 posted a win and 2 draws at the 2019 Jefferson Cup. Over the past year, GPS has piled up top performances including a perfect 10-0-0 record in the New England Premiership NPL, and showcase tournament titles at high-level events including the Potomac Memorial Tournament and NEFC Spring Showcase, among others.
Maryland United FC 2002 ECNL (MD): Over New Year’s, Maryland United turned in a solid performance at the Boys ECNL Florida National Event, earning an unbeaten 2-0-1 record. They earned 3-0 and 3-1 victories over Alabama FC and Chicago’s Eclipse Select SC in the high-level showcase. United also won a division championship at the Bethesda Premier Cup in November, and they placed 2nd in the 2019 Maryland State Cup last spring.
Baltimore Celtic 2002 (MD): Reigning US Youth Soccer Region I champion Baltimore Celtic 2002 is back in the Jefferson Cup’s top bracket once again, after winning 2-of-3 matches in the U-17 Championship Division last year. Celtic reached the semifinals of the 2019 US Youth Soccer National Championships, and has been dominant in tournament play, winning division titles at the United Soccer Coaches Baltimore Showcase, Potomac Memorial Tournament and the National League EDP Conferences Boys Showcase.
Brausa United Futbol Blue 02 (MD): Maryland State Cup champion Brausa United is another team familiar with the Jeff Cup’s top flight. They won 2-of-3 games in the U-17 Championship Division in 2019, outscoring opponents by a margin of 8-2 at the event. Brausa placed 3rd in the US Youth Soccer National League during the 2018-2019 campaign, and followed up their State Cup title run with a 2nd place finish at the US Youth Soccer Region I Championships. This season, they won the top bracket at the EDP Cup Fall Showcase.
Arlington SA 2002 Red (VA): Once again earning a place in the Championship Division is Arlington SA 02 Red, which won it all at the US Youth Soccer Virginia State Cup this fall. Arlington is coming off a 2018-2019 season in which they placed 1st in the US Youth Soccer National League’s U-17 Red Division, and went on to reach the title match at the US Youth Soccer National Championships, finishing 2nd overall in the country.
Delaware FC 02 (DE): Out of 16 teams competing in last year’s Jefferson Cup U-17 Championship Division, Delaware FC 02 was the only side that ran the table with 3 straight wins. They did so behind the toughest defense in the division, only conceding 1 total goal. Delaware FC will aim to defend their crown in 2020 against another stacked field of opponents.
PDA Hibernian Vardar (NJ): Representing New Jersey powerhouse club Players Development Academy, Vardar is coming off a 1st place effort at their home club’s 2019 PDA College Showcase this fall. In the spring of 2019, PDA finished 2nd in the US Youth Soccer National League EDP South Atlantic Conference, and they went on to post an unbeaten 2-0-1 record at the National League EDP Conferences Boys Showcase.
Penn Fusion SA ECNL 2002 (PA): An early frontrunner in the Boys ECNL Northeast Conference, Penn Fusion is off to a 5-1-0 start in league play with 3 straight wins against conference opponents. Fusion had a perfect showing over New Year’s at the Disney Boys Soccer Showcase, sweeping the competition in the U-18 Showcase Black Division.
Princeton SA National 02 (NJ): Following their title run in the 2019 Jefferson Cup’s U-17 Elite Orange Division, PSA National will battle in the top bracket in 2020. The US Youth Soccer National League EDP Mid Atlantic Conference champion squad continued their strong form this fall at the Bethesda Premier Cup, where they finished atop the U-18 Potomac Green Division.
Philadelphia Ukrainian Nationals 02 Black (PA): US Youth Soccer Eastern Pennsylvania State Cup champion Ukrainian Nationals will aim to continue their recent run of success at the Jeff Cup. The team placed 3rd in the US Youth Soccer National League last season, and won their 9-team bracket in the EDP South Atlantic Conference. Over the summer, Ukrainian Nationals reached the semifinals of the US Youth Soccer Region I Championships.