Over the weeks leading up to the 2013 NPL Champions Cup, we will be taking a look at all aspects of the tournament through a multi-part Web series each Thursday.
To keep up with the series and other NPL news:
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From July 18-22, champions of each of the 17 National Premier Leagues will gather at Aurora Sports Park in suburban Denver for the 2013 NPL Champions Cup, US Club Soccer’s league-based national championship competition.
There, boys and girls teams in the U-13 through U-18 age groups will face off for national titles in a true "champions league" style competition, looking to build on the success of the inaugural event last summer, which featured U-13 through U-17/18 boys teams.
The 2012 NPL Champions Cup was held alongside the National Cup XI Finals from July 27-31 at Waukegan Sports Park outside Chicago, including 168 of the top teams from across the United States.
In the end, five teams from three different leagues were crowned national champions, highlighted by a pair of winners from both the Texas Pre-Academy League and the Midwest Developmental League.
Dallas Texans (U-13) and FC Dallas (U-14) each claimed titles for the Texas Pre-Academy League while Sockers FC (U-15) and St. Louis Scott Gallagher (U-16) represented the Midwest Developmental League on the podium. Chicago Fire Academy rounded out the winner’s list by taking the U-17/18 title for the Northern Illinois Soccer League (NISL).
“Stepping on the pitch was nerve-racking since it’s a national tournament,” said Anthony Cetera, who scored the championship-winning goal for Chicago Fire Academy. “It’s every kid’s dream to score a goal in a national championship final and especially if it’s a game-winner. I’m never going to forget about this.”
The Northeast Pre-Academy League led the way with three finalists, with all three of the league’s entrants playing on the final day of the event. The New York Club Soccer League and New England Premier League each recorded one finalist, with Massapequa SC reaching the U-16 championship match and MPS Bulldogs playing in the U-17/18 final, respectively.
Championship game results from the 2012 NPL Champions Cup are below:
U-13: Dallas Texans (Texas)
Dallas Texans (Texas) 1, PDA (N.J.) 1 [Texans won on penalties]
U-14: FC Dallas (Texas)
FC Dallas (Texas) 1, New York Red Bulls (N.Y.) 0 [Extra time]
U-15: Sockers FC (Ill.)
Sockers FC (Ill.) 1, New York Cosmos (N.Y.) 0
U-16: St. Louis Scott Gallagher (Mo.)
St. Louis Scott Gallagher (Mo.) 1, Massapequa SC (N.Y.) 0
U-17/18: Chicago Fire Academy (Ill.)
Chicago Fire Academy (Ill.) 3, MPS Bulldogs (Mass.) 0
Stay tuned for next week’s entry in the series, which will focus on the venue for the 2013 NPL Champions Cup: Aurora Sports Park.