Tottenham U18s win IMG Cup Boys Invitational SuperGroup
(Via IMG Academy) – The fifth-annual IMG Cup Boys Invitational attracted more than 70 elite clubs from 10 states and five countries, and on Monday, the event drew to a close with champions crowned in 10 divisions.
The SuperGroup division headlined the event, with Barclays U18 Premier League side Tottenham Hotspurs U18 upending the Black Rock FC of Massachusetts, 1-0, with an extra time goal from Shayon Harrison. For Tottenham, it was a chance at redemption after coming up just shy of hoisting the cup a year ago when they lost the title to Brazil’s Cruzeiro Esporte Clube on point differential following a 1-1 draw.
“I believe we were worthy winners in the end,” said Tottenham coach Kieran McKenna following the match. “In the first half we adapted well to really tough conditions in terms of playing less than 24 hours after our last game, against the wind and against a quick side. We had the better of the play, had them pinned in, had a couple of good chances and also defended our penalty box well.”
He added,”It’s been a really good experience for the players… We’ve played against top sides from Mexico and America, some very talented teams, so it’s been excellent.”
To reach the final, Tottenham had to bounce back after a 0-1 loss to the U.S. Soccer U17 Men’s National Team the day prior. Prior to the one loss in pool play, the Spurs had defeated Mexico’s Toluca and Baltimore Celtic. Black Rock, meanwhile, entered the final atop their pool with victories over Brentford FC, Stevenage and IMG Academy U18.
The most dramatic final finish occurred in the U18/19 Blue division, when IMG Academy U19s fought through adversity for their second consecutive IMG Cup U18/19s title after taking down the Derby City Rovers of Louisville, Ky. on penalty kicks. After finishing extra time at 1-1, Derby City missed their first PK attempt of the period, but IMG Academy would not miss an attempt. Panama’s Juan David Tejada found the back of the net on the clinching kick for the 2-1 (PKs) final.
“It was a great game, and the team adapted brilliantly after letting one goal slip, but getting five penalties out of five after a game like that is all you can ask for,” said IMG Academy U19 co-team captain Callum Horn from Portsmouth, England, a first-year student-athlete at IMG Academy. “The culture here, the people and all the hard work this year paid off in us hoisting IMG Cup.”
Virginia Legacy teams enjoyed a good showing at the event, with the Legacy Wizards capturing the U-17 Blue title on a 1-0 win over Derby City Rovers from Louisville, Kentucky. The Legacy U-16s were finalists in the U16 White Division, falling 2-0 to Mississauga Falcons Blue (Canada) in the championship.
On Thursday, Baltimore Celtic forward Keegan Kelly faced his own club as a member of the U-17 U.S. Men’s National Team. Kelly recorded a brace against his Celtic teammates for the U.S. in an exciting match that ended in a 3-3 draw. Serigne Gueye, Riley Collins and Connor Smith found the net for Celtic.
The IMG Academy U19s entered the event after a perfect showing at the recent Capital Area Soccer League (CASL) event in North Carolina, where they went 3-0. The team will look to capitalize on their momentum looking ahead to State Cup later in the spring. IMG Academy secured its second championship of the weekend in the U16 Blue division when the IMG Academy U16s closed out a 4-0 weekend against in-state Davie United, 1-0.
Notably, the U17 White division was the only division determined by a round robin, with the Lobos Rush Premier 98 of Collierville, Tenn. finishing with a perfect 4-0 record through the event. The Lobos defeated Chivas Futbol Academy in their last match, winning the overall title with 12 points and a +11 scoring differential. Runner-up in the division was IMG Academy U17, who went 3-0-1 through the event, recording 10 points on a +5 scoring differential.
Full results from final matches:
SuperGroup: Tottenham Hotspurs U18 (Tottenham, London, England) def. Black Rock FC (Massachusetts), 1-0
U18/19 Blue: IMG Academy U19 (Bradenton, Fla.) def. Derby City Rovers (Louisville, Ky.), 2-1 (PKs)
U18/19 White: Plantation FC Premier (Plantation, Fla.) def. Space Coast United (Melbourne, Fla.), 1-0 (PKs)
U18/19 Gold: Houston Dynamo Tampa (Tampa, Fla.) def. FC Plant City (Plant City, Fla.), 1-0
U17 Blue: Virginia Legacy Wizards (Virginia) def. Derby City Rovers (Louisville, Ky.), 1-0
U17 White: Lobos Rush Premier (Collierville, Tenn.) def. Chivas FL Futbol Academy (Florida), 6-2
U16 Blue: IMG Academy U16 (Bradenton, Fla) def. Davie United (Davie, Fla.),
U16 White: Mississauga Falcons Blue (Mississaugua, Canada) def. Virginia Legacy CCL Elite (Virginia), 2-0
U15: Strictly Soccer (St. Petersburg, Fla.) def. Botafogo (Rio de Janeiro), 1-0
U14: Pinecrest Premier (Miami, Fla.) def. Legacy AZ (Gainesville, Fla.), 1-0