Ten more teams qualify for NPL Champions Cup via Southern California NPL titles

Whether by impressive regular seasons, tight title race triumphs or surprising playoff runs, 10 teams have emerged as champions of the Southern California NPL.
The winners qualify for the 2013 NPL Champions Cup from July 18-22 in Aurora, Colo., where they’ll take on some of the nation’s best teams in US Club Soccer’s league-based national championship competition.


Whether by impressive regular seasons, tight title race triumphs or surprising playoff runs, 10 teams have emerged as champions of the Southern California NPL.
The winners qualify for the 2013 NPL Champions Cup from July 18-22 in Aurora, Colo., where they’ll take on some of the nation’s best teams in US Club Soccer’s league-based national championship competition.
“Obviously we’re excited to participate and be included in the NPL Champions Cup,” said Ty Leatherman, coach of the DMS11 Academy U-14 boys team. “Last year we went to the NPL Champions Cup in Chicago, and I have to say that US Club Soccer had everything organized. The fields were nice and the whole atmosphere was nice. We really enjoyed it. The competition out here in Southern California is always strong, and this gives us another opportunity to showcase our kids and compete against teams we don’t see on a regular basis.”
Top competition from the other 16 NPLs will be waiting in suburban Denver, including recently determined winners from the Oregon Premier League and Washington State Premier League. More champions will be decided this spring, and teams qualifying for the NPL Champions Cup will be updated here.
While teams like Leatherman’s will be making their return to the event, others will be out to make strong debuts.
“We are honored to have the opportunity to compete in the NPL Champions Cup and look forward to the strong competition ahead,” OC Premier Program Director Erick Hurtarte said of the club’s U-16 boys team. “While humbled by the greatness of the coming opposition, we are always hungry to measure ourselves against the best.”
That’s an important opportunity for player development, one that Fullerton Rangers U-13 boys coach Christian Rus is eager to capitalize on.
“This group has been together for four years, and it’s a good group that works hard and is committed,” Rus said. “It’s a joy working with them, and I think they’ll just keep getting better and better. This will be a good experience for them, because they’ll mature more in the game and just improve from playing the top teams from around the nation.”
This summer will bring a chance to make history too, as national champions will be crowned on the girls side for the first time. That opportunity is not lost on teams like the LA Premier FC U-15 girls, who emerged from a highly competitive age group to book a trip to Colorado.
“The NPL season proved to be an excellent platform to challenge our team’s ability, depth, and resilience,” coach Manny Martins said. “I was particularly proud of the team’s ability to adjust to the morphing game-day rosters while maintaining a rhythmic playing style and securing the top spot in Southern California. We are very excited about representing the Southern California NPL in the NPL Champions Cup, and for the opportunity to compete to be the first-ever girls champions.”
Here’s a look at the teams who won Southern California NPL titles and have qualified for the 2013 NPL Champions Cup:
Boys U-13: Fullerton Rangers (7-0-0)
The Rangers rolled to a spotless record and eight-point margin in the league table, all but putting the title away with a 2-1 win over second-place Heat FC with two games left to play. Fullerton struck a healthy balance between scoring and tight defending, leading the way in goals (25) and goals allowed (four).
Boys U-14: DMS11 Academy (6-0-1)
A 2-1 victory over LVSA Red in Week 2 proved to be the biggest result of the year for DMS11, which won the title by four points. After that loss, LVSA won out by a combined score of 19-0, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the consistency shown by DMS11, whose lone blemish came via a 2-2 draw with Celtic Harps.
Boys U-15: DMS11 Academy (5-0-1, one match to play)
DMS11’s U-15 squad gave the club its second title by gutting out close games. Four of its five wins came by one goal, including victories over second-place teams LVSA Red (1-0) and South Bay Gunners Black (4-3). That was enough to give the team a three-point margin with a game in hand, clinching the championship before a May 4 season finale.
Boys U-16: OC Premier Black (3-0-4)
Draws were frequent in the U-16 age group, and OC Premier Black was no exception. The team finished with four ties, including against top competitors LAPFC (0-0) and Fullerton Rangers (2-2), to stay at the top of the table and earn a trip to the NPL Champions Cup.
Boys U-17: Carlsbad Elite (4-0-2)
The U-17 age group came down to the final match of the season, as Carlsbad Elite and DMS11 squared off with just one point separating them in the standings. Neither found the net in a scoreless draw, which was just fine with the Carlsbad club, as it took the championship via that result and a 1-0 win over co-runner-up Las Vegas Premier earlier in the year.
Girls U-13: Albion SC (3-1-0)
The U-13 girls age group was the final one to be decided, as Albion SC and FC Golden State faced off in the championship game on April 27. Both teams reached that point after finishing second in group play and toppling the group winners in the semifinals, and Albion came out on top with a 2-0 victory -- capping a postseason in which they didn't allow a goal.
Girls U-14: Carlsbad Elite Lightning (4-1-0)
The Lightning finished tied with the South Bay Gunners atop Pool B, with their only loss coming to their co-leaders, while BYSC-Corona Blue took Pool A with a perfect record. But Carlsbad was the only team of that trio to survive the playoffs, as the other two fell via shutout losses in the quarterfinals while the Lightning rolled on with a 1-0 win, 4-3 shootout and 2-0 victory in the title game.
Girls U-15: LA Premier FC (5-0-1)
Both groups in the U-15 age group were marked by tight competition, as four teams finished within three points of each other atop Pool B, and the leaders of Pool A were separated by just one point, one goal scored and one goal allowed. LA Premier FC came out on top of that group thanks to a 1-0 win over second-place Wolfpack, whom they went on to defeat again in the championship game by a score of 3-0.
Girls U-16: Carlsbad Elite (8-0-0)
Carlsbad poured in goals in bunches, averaging five per game to top the table by six points over second-place Lazers, whom they dispatched 2-0 in the season finale. The team will bring a stingy defense to the NPL Champions Cup along with that high-powered attack, as it gave up just three goals in eight games.
Girls U-17: South Valley Klippel (2-2-1)

South Valley Klippel stumbled out of the gate, starting the year with losses of 3-1 and 4-0, then a 3-3 draw. But then the team turned it around, finishing the regular season with two wins and then taking down the age group’s top three teams during a playoff run that ended with a 2-1 win over Albion in the title game, avenging the earlier 4-0 defeat. They’ll look to keep that sizzling form rolling into the NPL Champions Cup.

A list of teams that have qualified for the NPL Champions Cup can be viewed here. Be sure to check back in with NationalPremierLeagues.com for updates throughout the spring as more leagues crown their champions.