Eleven local teams in Super-Y Finals this weekend
The 2012 Super Y League Finals that kick off Friday morning will have a distinctly local flavor, as 11 teams representing four area clubs will compete for championships at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla.
The Northern Virginia Football Club contingent will feature five teams in Florida. Two Majestics’ girls teams will compete in the U-12 Girls and U-17 Girls categories, while the Royals will vie for a championship in the U-15 Boys bracket. Virginia Alliance, another club affiliate, placed teams in the U-14 Boys and U-13 Girls brackets.
The boys U-14 Alliance qualified by virtue of its second place finish in the South Atlantic Division, finishing 7-2-1 over the regular season, scoring 29 goals while giving up just 13 during the regular season.
The girls U-13 Alliance, led by coach Todd Hamlin took the South Atlantic Division title with a 9-0-1 record, the only tie a 3-3 result with second place Atlanta Fire United, outscoring opponents 28-7.
The U-12 Majestics, led by coach Jimmy Toms, went undefeated during the first half of the season and lost just once over the summer, 2-0 to division runner-up Alpharetta Ambush. But they came back from that lone loss, winning their final four games to with the South Atlantic Division, finishing 8-1-1 while scoring 24 goals and giving up just nine.
The boys U-15 Royals perhaps had the longest odds of the local teams to qualify and needed a 4-0 win over FASA to clinch a spot in the finals, putting them in second place in the division after starting out the season with three straight defeats. However, they went undefeated in their final seven matches, winning five and tying two, outscoring opponents 16-6 during that span.
The U-17 Majestics had their own challenge in qualifying for the finals. After starting out with four straight wins to start the season, they were in danger of missing the finals by losing four straight games in just 30 hours. However, needing just a single point to qualify for Florida, they picked up three points instead, defeating the Keystone Athletic Grifos 2-0 after a scoreless first half.
The U-17 Majestics spent the 2012 season playing in the Mid Atlantic Division, with the South Atlantic not fielding a division in that age group. With three allocations assigned to the Mid Atlantic, the other spots went to TSF Academy (New Jersey) and the Long Island Rough Riders (New York).
Northern Virginia FC set its record for teams sent to the finals in 2009, when it sent nine teams to the finals that year.
Real Maryland FC will have three boys teams playing for championships in the Under-12, U-13 and U-15 age groups. The club has qualified teams for the Super Y Finals in each of its first five seasons. The U-12s are coached by Luis Calderon, the U-13s by Julio Arjona and the U-15s by Tim Francis.
“The coaches continue to set the bar year after year,” said club general manager David Noyes on its website. “We have some strong leaders heading down to Florida in December.”
The Monarchs will be looking to bring home its first national title.
“The regular season in Super Y League play can be grueling with the competition, travel and weather so we are very proud of our players, parents and staff for embracing the challenge,” Noyes said.
It is a bittersweet moment for the club, as it is suspending operations for the 2013 season.
Real Maryland FC was founded in 2007. The Club has seen the teams compete in the Super Y League, the Super 20 League, the Premier Development League and the USL Pro League.
The Monarchs senior team qualified for the Playoffs in 2009 and 2012 while the youth teams have qualified for the playoffs every year since 2008.
The Fredericksburg Area Soccer Association, or FASA, will have two teams playing in the U-13 Boys and U-15 Girls brackets, vying for a championship.
Maryland Rush’s U-15 boys will be the other area team heading south for the Super Y League Finals. Rush dominated the division, going 9-1-0 while outscoring opponents 48-5 over the 10 games. Rush lost just once, a 1-0 decision in its second-to-last regular season game against the Northern Virginia Royals.
The 130 teams that will be competing for the 12 championships spent a summer of regional qualification, with the top teams qualifying for Florida.
The Super Y League is in its 14th season and has featured a number of prominent players that have competed at Super Y Finals and have been selected for the league’s Olympic Development Program training camps, including Jozy Altidore, Juan Agudelo and Eric Lichaj, with a number of current MLS players having also come through the league’s member clubs.
“We have held the Super Y-League ODP Camps at IMG for the past two years, in addition to the USL PRO Combine and Super-20 League Finals this year, and have been remarkably impressed with the quality of the facilities on offer to both players and coaches,” USL National Technical Director and former U.S. Soccer Staff Coach Peter Mellor said in a statement about playing at IMG Academy. “We are delighted to be able to reward all of the teams that have qualified for the Super Y-League North American Finals with the chance to play to the best of their abilities at an absolutely exceptional facility.”
Group play begins on Friday morning at 8 a.m. ET, with the tournament’s championship games being held on Tuesday morning.
Among the teams returning to defend their titles are the TSF Academy U17 Boys team, who open the tournament against regional rival Ironbound SC. The Atlanta Fire’s U14 Girls will also try for back-to-back titles, with their defense beginning against Force Football Club.
Live updates from featured matches at the Super Y-League North American Finals, presented by Umbro, can be accessed on Twitter (twitter.com/@SuperYLeague) and through the Super Y-League website (www.supery.uslsoccer.com), which for the first time will have live scoring updates available during contests and match reports after each day of competition.