New Jersey Youth Soccer crowned the first series of its National Championship Series, Presidents Cup and Challenge Cup champions for the spring season over the weekend, with finals being played on Sunday in Marlboro, N.J.
NJYS National Championship Series Champions
18U Girls: Millville Pride
18U Boys: Peninsula SC Premier Eagles
19/20U Girls: New Jersey Rush Grey
19/20U Boys: STA NL EDP
NJYS Presidents Cup Champions
18/19U Girls: Rancocas Valley SC United Premier
NJYS Challenge Cup Champions
18/19U Girls: Bordentown FC Jaguars
18/19U Boys: Watchung Hills Soccer Association Scorpions
The day was filled with many entertaining matches, and the 18U Boys Final of the National Championship Series was one game that kept spectators on the edge of their seats. After falling behind in the first half to NJ Stallions Inter USYS-NL, 1-0, the Peninsula SC Premier Eagles eventually scored a late equalizer that leveled the count at one apiece. In the final minutes of the match, Peninsula SC won a battle in the box to earn its first lead of the contest, which they were able to protect en route to a dramatic 2-1 victory. Founded in 1985, the win was the first NJYS State Cups championship in club history.
“We have eight players who have been with the team and club since U8,” said Peninsula SC Premier Eagles co-captains Brett Sieg and Marco Mastriani, who are both New Jersey ODP alumni. “When we began training this season, State Cup was our number one goal. When we went down, 1-0, we did not panic because we believed in each other. We had been in this position before and knew that if we kept grinding and playing our game, the goals would eventually come.”
Many sacrifices are given by youth soccer players and their families throughout each season, and that dedication was on full display in the championship games of the NJYS State Cups on Sunday.
“As seniors during this time, we have missed out on a lot, whether it has been school festivities or playing a full soccer season,” said Nicole Sagias of Rancocas Valley SC United Premier, which won the 18/19U NJYS Presidents Cup. “We really wanted to leave club soccer on a high note and make the most of the opportunities we were given this year.”
The NJYS State Cups provide pathways to be crowned champions of the state, region and nation. With the National Championship Series, Presidents Cup and Challenge Cup tournaments, every participating team has the ability to vie for the title of “State Champion.”
The National Championship Series is the country’s most prestigious national youth soccer tournament, providing winners from each state the opportunity to showcase their soccer skills against the best competition in the nation while emphasizing teamwork, discipline and fair play.
The Presidents Cup provides a progressive, competitive experience to teams that might not otherwise get the opportunity to participate in a series of unique experiences highlighting competition, camaraderie and community.
The Challenge Cup, previously called the Commissioners Cup, is the NJYS State Cup designed to create a challenging and enjoyable event for teams outside of the National Championship Series and Presidents Cup.