As part of USYS National League Conferences, teams in Premier I Divisions have multiple pathways to reach the USYS Regional Championships. Teams can qualify through winning their respective conference, and also winning the NCS State Cup. In the East Region, National League Conference teams are finding tremendous success as each state's Cup Competition nears their conclusion.
In New Jersey, the 18U and 19U champions were crowned last weekend, with teams from the Mid Atlantic Conference representing all eight of the finalists. Peninsula SC, Millville SA, STA, and NJ Rush all came away with the championships. The 13U-17U finals take place this weekend, with all teams coming from the Mid Atlantic Conference, with NJ Premier FC, Torpedoes SC, FC Copa, Real Jersey FC, Ironbound SC, PDA Shore, PDA Hibernian, NLSA, Dynamite Academy, NJ Blaze, Vistula Garfield and STA all with teams competing.
Peninsula SC Premier Eagles head coach Dan Cummings said that winning the USYS State Cup was one of the main goals for his team coming out of the layoff due to Covid-19.
“To see all the focus and hard work pay off for these boys on Sunday was unreal. We have come a long way to get to this point, and these kids have such an incredible chemistry and bond,” Cummings said. “It was extremely satisfying to have them win the game in the dying seconds of the game and watch them celebrate the way they did, their smiles clearly showing how badly they wanted this and what it meant to them.
“The character they showed to come back from a goal down, as well, and to never lose confidence in coming back, says a lot about this group. The boys were very lucky to have Monmouth University coach Rob McCourt coaching them over the past year, as well, and I am so grateful for everything he has done helping get the boys to this point. Having such highly competitive games in the National League Mid Atlantic Conference has been massive for the boys' development and consistently given them new obstacles to overcome.”
In Eastern Pennsylvania, the 13U-17U finals take place this weekend, with 19 of the remaining teams being Mid Atlantic Conference participants. Philadelphia Ukrainian Nationals leads the way on the boys side with three teams in the final and will be facing off against Lehigh Valley United at both 13U and 16U. In one of the state’s deepest age groups, the 17U Boys will see Penn Alliance Select face off with Lower Merion SC Invictus, with PA Dominion FC Rangers already with a spot at Nationals after winning their group at the National League Playoffs. On the girls side, nine different Mid Atlantic Conference clubs are represented including Lehigh Valley United, Penn FC, FC Europa, PSC Coppa, Northeast United, Lower Merion SC, Keystone Athletic, YMS and North Union United.
“Our boys have managed to improve exponentially year after year,” Penn Alliance Select Director of Coaching Chris Williams said. “The team is excited and more than ready to compete for the Eastern PA State Cup title this Saturday.”
In Maryland, several of the 13U-19U brackets have their finals set and will take place after Memorial Day Weekend. Currently, 17 of the finalists are from the South Atlantic Conference, with 16 more in contention in the 17U Boys, 18U Boys, 19U Boys, 18U Girls and 19U Girls age groups. Coppermine currently leads the girls side with three teams in the final, and Potomac leads the way on the boys side with two teams in the final and the 04 Boys with a semifinal game upcoming. Brausa is also aiming to have several teams reach the final, as the 05’s are already in, while the 04’s and 02’s are in the semifinals. Liverpool FCISA, SAC, NLS, Washington Capital, Maryland Rush SOMD, Maryland Rush Montgomery, OPSA, Ellicott City SC, MSI and Old Line FC also have teams representing the South Atlantic Conference in the finals.
In Eastern New York, the 13U-18U Boys and 13U-19U Girls semifinals are all set for this weekend, with the finals taking place after Memorial Day Weekend. Across the semifinals, 47 of the teams are from the North Atlantic Conference. Barca Academy PRO NY is in the boys semifinals at 14U, 15U and 16U. Alleycats SC is in the girls final at 14U,16U and 17U. Other North Atlantic clubs in the semifinals include Brentwood SC, Lake Grove-Newfield SC, Foundation SC, BW Gottschee, SUSA FC, Valencia CF Academy NY, Massapequa SC, Dix Hills SC, Nirvana 360, Amityville SC, FC Somers, South Shore FC, FC Sesa, Long Island Slammers, Long Island SC, Quickstrike FC, and Southampton FC on the boys side. On the girls side, the clubs include Auburndale SC, Real Ole, Long Island Slammers, Stony Brook Atletico, Lake Grove-Newfield, Force FC, Long Island SC, NY Surf, Commack, Patriots FC, Coliseum SC, Long Island Slammers, Brooklyn City FC, Massapequa SC, Nirvana 360, Asphalt Green, Brentwood SC and Manhattan SC.
In Connecticut and Massachusetts, New England Conference teams will look to play their way into the semifinals and finals, both taking place after Memorial Day Weekend.
In addition to the pathways to the 2021 USYS Eastern Regional Championships, teams are also looking to clinch their spot in the 2021-22 season of National League P.R.O. through conference play. Qualified teams can be found at https://www.usyouthsoccer.org/national-league-pro-2021-22-qualifiers/.