Massapequa Arsenal takes Men’s U-19 National Championship
(Via ENYYSA) – Massapequa Arsenal of the Long Island Junior Soccer League (LIJSL) return home as national champions as they won the historic McGuire Cup, emblematic of Boys-Under-19 supremacy, on July 25 in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
The first youth soccer national championship was founded in 1935 in the Boys-Under-19 age group. Brooklyn’s Hatikvoh Juniors won the national championship in 1935 and ‘36, Brooklyn’s Kollsman SC were champs in 1952 plus Ukrainian of New York won the title in 1959, the last team from New York to become Boys-Under-19 national champions before Massapequa. In 1975, the trophy was named the McGuire Cup, in honor of former U.S. Soccer Federation President James McGuire.
“We know what the McGuire Cup means,” Massapequa coach Tobias Bischof said. “We know it’s the oldest youth competition in the U.S., and has been around for 80 years now. We knew there were only [four] New York teams who have ever won it. Now, the boys have found a way to win it and bring it back to New York, and we’re really happy about that.”
In the Regionals, Massapequa went 5-0-0 and outscored their opponents 18-0. But the Nationals were a different story as they faced St. Louis’ Scott Gallagher, three-time national champions, in the first game and lost 1-0 in a heartbreaker on a goal in second half stoppage time. Massapequa had gone an amazing 614 minutes without surrendering a goal until Scott Gallagher’s stoppage time tally as the last goal they had given up was midway through the first half of their State Open Cup final win against Kosmos Greek-Americans.
“Against Scott Gallagher, I think we were a little nervous and therefore not as sharp. We played very well against them but didn’t create enough scoring opportunities because of our nerves,” explained Coach Bischof.
Massapequa made it to the national finals with a 2-1 win over Arizona’s Scottsdale 96 Blackhawks Burke and a 2-0 shutout of GSA 96 Premier of Georgia to finish in second place in the round robin, behind Scott Gallagher.
In the 3-1 national championship game win over Scott Gallagher, Michael Farese scored in the third minute on a tap-in plus Nicholas Cestaro and Brendan Gallivan broke a 1-1 tie with penalty kicks in the second half to bring the McGuire Cup to Long Island.
“In the final we were focused, we followed the game plan and created scoring opportunities,” Coach Bischof stated. “It’s a long way to get there, winning the Eastern New York State Championship, the Region1 Championship and making the final of the national championship. It takes a lot of determination to stay focused and get to the final, especially after losing the first game in the last second of the game. The boys did that and deserve to win the national championship. It’s an awesome group of boys and I will be forever thankful for the last seven years with them.”
Massapequa Arsenal, three-time State Open Cup champions, have a long history, winning multiple tournaments across the United States as well as the Northeast Regional Premier League (NERP) and they were also Region 1 Premier League finalists. But the McGuire Cup is by far their biggest victory, in their last year as a youth team.
“We are proud to represent the Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association, Region 1 and the Massapequa Soccer Club, one of the best youth soccer clubs in the nation!” added Coach Bischof.
“The Massapequa Arsenal coaches, players and parents were terrific through the whole event and represented Massapequa, the LIJSL and Eastern New York with pride and honor. A great job done by all!” commented Eastern New York President Richard Christiano.
Back row, left to right: Coach/administrator Joe Votinelli, Brian Nichtern, Jonny Nierenberg, Nicholas Cestaro, James Macchia, Brendan Gallivan, Cory Santangelo, Coach Robert Christensen, Frank Micieli, Joseph Escamilla, James Harris, Gerard Farrell, Matthew Scorce, Coach Tobias Bischof
Front row, left to right: Kieran Hall, Nicholas Christensen, John Romano, Dan Vitiello, Justin Carfora, Chris McGrath, Michael Farese.
Camera shy: Kevin Mazol, Kevin McGrath.)