Revamped Princeton SA U-17 Girls ready for National Cup Finals
Prior to the National Cup XIV Mid-Atlantic Regional, held June 29 – July 2 in Somerset, New Jersey, Princeton Soccer Association made a decision regarding its U-17 Girls Team.
Princeton SA, a consensus top five non-ECNL team in New Jersey according to GotSoccer and Report-a-Score.com, added players from the Winslow Township Soccer Tigers, another top five team in the state. In coach John Newman’s mind, the talent level and familiarity between the teams — they frequently squared off in recent years — would make for a strong roster and give the women added preparation before playing collegiate soccer.
So far, the move has paid off. Princeton SA Premier 97/98 Orange dominated the U-17 Girls Super Group, going undefeated in four games and outscoring its opponents 15-3 en route to winning the title. The club will compete for a countrywide championship at the National Cup XIV Finals from July 17 – 20 in Westfield, Indiana.
“We’ve played four games together, [and] we’ve won all four of those games, and now we move on to hopefully win a national title,” said Newman, who also serves as the club’s Director of Coaching. “This is our first tournament together, but this will be our team going forward and our team for the future.”
Princeton SA Premier 97/98 Orange, which played a 4-3-3 throughout the competition, stymied its opponents. In the first two matches, it won, 5-1, against Black Magic and 97/98 G and immediately established itself as a tournament favorite.
The club’s third match, however, played out differently. Princeton SA Premier 97/98 Orange earned 1-0 win, but FC Philadelphia’s defensive approach forced Newman’s squad to alter its offensive mindset.
“One of the challenges was a team that we played against that liked to sit 10 players behind the ball,” Newman said. “The challenges there were being patient and being disciplined.”
A day after its one-goal victory, Princeton SA Premier 97/98 Orange met FC Philadelphia again in the championship contest. This time, Newman’s team reignited its attack and earned a 4-1 victory, securing a berth in the National XIV Finals.
“The new players and the existing players we had gelled really well together,” Newman said. “Technically, we were the better team with the ball, and we created so many chances in all the games that we played.”
While Newman highlighted defender Vashti Williams, defensive midfielder Alexandra Deriggi, midfielder Tziarra King and center forward Rebecca Frisk as standout performers during the tournament, he also attributed the success to the entire team’s play.
The girls also rebounded from last season’s disappointing result. Due to a slew of injuries, Newman less-experienced lineup failed to capture the Mid-Atlantic Region crown.
“We should have made it last year,” Newman said. “We got beat in a game we should have never got beat in, and then we never won the regional. It was high on the priority list to make sure we did win it this year.”
Princeton SA Premier 97/98 Orange will begin its quest for a title against WSC Revolution of Minnesota starting July 17. And three days later, Newman hopes his new-look squad will have meshed into a national champion.
“We are good enough to win a national final,” Newman said. “We certainly have the players, and it just depends what happens when you get out there.’