US Club Soccer crowns 2022 NPL Finals champions
DENVER, Colorado – The 2022 NPL Finals concluded Monday afternoon after five days of competition at DICK’S Sporting Goods Park in Denver, Colorado. Eleven teams earned National Premier Leagues championships, joining elite company in the NPL record books.
Advancing to the NPL Finals is an accomplishment in itself, but for teams that qualify to this tournament, there’s no such thing as complacency. A total of 104 teams representing 18 NPL member leagues throughout the country were thoroughly challenged by new opponents and playing styles, the summer heat, and pressure of NPL titles.
- Tournament HQ: Watch all semifinal and championship games, and view commemorative graphics
The NPL Boys West Playoffs, held at the same location two weeks ago, proved to be valuable preparation, as all eight champions and finalists of the U-14 through U-17 age groups at the NPL Finals qualified from the NPL West Playoffs. The U-19 boys age group only played a single-stage postseason this year, and a Southeast-based team prevailed: Tennessee United SC (South Atlantic Premier League).
“For most of the teams participating in the 2022 NPL Finals, this is their World Cup. This is the most exciting event that they’ll have throughout the year, and they’ve worked hard all year long to get here,” said Leo Garcia, US Club Soccer VP of Competitions and NPL General Manager. “Getting to see other styles of play, getting to see competition that they’ve never seen… that’s really important for us to provide that platform where they advance from local competition and advance to a national stage.”
U-13 AGE GROUP
GIRLS: Las Vegas Surf SC (SOCAL Discovery NPL) 1, Chicago Rush SC (NISL NPL Division) 0
Both teams only allowed one goal apiece during their entire NPL Finals runs. Las Vegas Surf SC edged Chicago Rush SC, 1-0, with another strong defensive effort. “This is our inaugural year of the club, and to win a trophy like this is just a huge achievement for the girls and the club,” said Las Vegas Surf coach Boris Gujic.
There was no U-13 boys division at the NPL Finals. Two teams triumphed at the East and West Playoffs and are considered this year’s East and West U-13 champions, respectively: Florida Elite Soccer Academy (Florida NPL) and Strikers FC (SOCAL Discovery NPL).
U-14 AGE GROUP
GIRLS: Stanislaus United SC (NorCal NPL Division) 6, Bloomingdale FC (NISL NPL Division) 1
Stanislaus United SC’s wins throughout the NPL Finals seemed to get bigger and bigger as the tournament progressed. The NorCal NPL representative rolled through the knockout rounds and won its semifinal game, 4-0, and title match, 6-1. “This means a lot to us because we’re a small club from a small area in California, so it’s very cool to represent Northern California,” said Stanislaus United SC player Valeria Alcala.
BOYS: SoCal Elite FC (SOCAL Discovery NPL) 1, Addison United SC (NISL NPL Division) 0
These two teams had already met before in the group stage, three days prior to the championship rematch. SoCal Elite FC won that game, 3-1, and then earned another victory against the Illinois-based club for the NPL title. “Winning definitely is great – that’s a huge experience for us – but even the hardships that we faced here in the games, all that stuff really bonded us together, so that’s something we’ll cherish for a long time,” said David Oh, SoCal Elite FC executive director.
U-15 AGE GROUP
GIRLS: Aztec Soccer (New Impact Impact NPL) 3, Spartans FC (Southwest NPL) 0
The U-15 girls division was among the most competitive of the tournament with four teams winning all three group stage games. Those four advanced to the semifinals, and Aztec Soccer turned up the offensive intensity, scoring seven goals in the final two games to win the title. “Our team worked so hard this past year,” said Aztec Soccer player Molly Vana. “Now we’re here and we won the national championship, so it’s just a feeling that can’t be replaced.”
BOYS: Houstonians FC (United Soccer Clubs) 2, Utah Surf (Yellowstone Premier League) 0
Both championship participants endured a challenging road to Monday’s game. The runner-up, Utah Surf, tied two group stage games and defeated Houstonians FC, 3-2, on Friday. The Texas-based club would have its revenge in the title matchup, though. “All week we talked about history and being a part of history… Always be remembered,” said Victor Maysonet, Houstonians FC coach. “Any obstacle that comes about, they can overcome.”
U-16 AGE GROUP
GIRLS: Metasport FC (Yellowstone Premier League) 3, Minnesota Thunder Academy (Minnesota NPL) 2
Metasport FC and Minnesota Thunder Academy played twice during the NPL Finals: on the opening day and on the championship day. Both times, Metasport FC came out on top, 3-2. “We were finalists last year in another national tournament, so we’ve been looking forward to this moment for about a year,” said Metasport FC technical director Britain Thomas. “They’ve worked hard and they’ve earned it. This one feels extra sweet.”
BOYS: 1974 Newark FC (NorCal NPL Division) 3, Total Futbol Academy (SOCAL Discovery NPL) 1
The U-16 boys division was tightly contested with no teams winning all their games and every team tying at least once during group stage. The title game was a NorCal vs. SoCal matchup, which had already played out on Friday to a 2-2 tie. In the championship game, though, the NorCal team prevailed. “We weren’t even an NPL club until two years ago, and now we’re here and competing at a national level,” said Ryan Medrano, 1974 Newark FC coach. “A volunteer club and volunteer coaches have just worked hard in a community that loves their football. It’s been amazing.”
U-17 AGE GROUP
GIRLS: North FC (Great Lakes Alliance NPL Division) 1, Blue Knights SC (Yellowstone Premier League) 0
North FC and Blue Knights SC were the only teams from the 12-team bracket to win all three of its group stage games, taking 9- and 10-goal differentials, respectively, into the knockout rounds. In the semifinals, North FC defeated Spartans FC, 3-2, and Blue Knights SC beat St. Croix Academy in penalty kicks. North FC scored early in the first half of the title game and was able to hold on for the victory. “It was just about a style of play. We knew it was going to hot. We knew the altitude was going to be rough,” said Joe Jovanovski, North FC coach. “We have a lot of technical players, so we wanted to move the ball and tire other teams out. I thought as the weekend progressed and we got into the semis, we really started to open up and get better and better.”
BOYS: Wenatchee FC (Washington Premier League) 5, Steel United CA (SOCAL Discovery NPL) 1
This bracket of four from the past NPL East/West Playoffs was narrowed to both West representatives on Monday. Three days prior, Wenatchee FC had defeated Steel United CA in a group stage game, 5-3. “For the boys that have just come together and to represent the Valley and the state of Washington tremendously well… they absolutely deserve all this recognition,” said Neil Oyston, Wenatchee FC Director of Coaching.
U-19 AGE GROUP
GIRLS: Los Angeles SC (SOCAL Discovery NPL) 4, St. Louis Development Academy (Central States NPL) 2
Los Angeles SC experienced both big wins and narrow victories throughout the tournament, but the end results were all the same: wins. “I’ve been coaching for 28 years, and we have over 100 championships within the league but never a national title, so it’s big for me personally, for the girls and for the club,” said Esteban Chavez, Los Angeles SC Director of Coaching. “We’re a young club and to already have a national title, it’s great for the club.”
BOYS: Tennessee United SC (South Atlantic Premier League) 1 , Sockers FC Chicago (NISL NPL Division) 1 
The U-19 boys age group did not participate in either NPL Playoff event two weeks prior to the Finals, as the oldest age group is a single-stage postseason. So, 14 teams from coast to coast competed in Colorado for the title. Tennessee United SC and Sockers FC Chicago were the only teams to win every group stage game. Tennessee United knocked off Pateadores SC (SOCAL Discovery NPL) in the semifinals and then edged Sockers FC in the championship game. The score was 1-1 after regulation and overtime, and ultimately, Tennessee United converted six penalty kicks to Sockers FC’s five. “Adversity has been the theme of our club the whole year. We just push through everything,” said Tennessee United SC player Hayden Vonlobstein. “And for a couple boys from Tennessee to come and beat some of the best teams in the nation… no one really gave us a chance when we came here, and now look at us, we won it all, so it’s surreal.”
In total, 12 NPL member leagues were represented on the final day, and eight proved to be the local facilitators of 2022 National Premier Leagues champions: SOCAL Discovery NPL (3), NorCal NPL Division (2), Great Lakes Alliance (1), New England Impact NPL (1), South Atlantic Premier League (1), United Soccer Clubs (1), Washington Premier League (1) and Yellowstone Premier League (1).
On the opening day of the NPL Finals, US Club Soccer revealed a new look and rededication to the NPL mission. View the new logo on usclubsoccer.org/npl, which will be officially implemented in the 2022-23 season. The NPL’s vision is to serve youth soccer by forming and collaborating with leagues, adopting the Players First philosophy and supporting US Club Soccer’s mission to foster the development of clubs.