NorCal NPL Fall Showcase Preview: U16 Boys
NPL 1 EAST PREVIEW
In possibly the wildest division of any age group, eight of the 10 U16 Boys NPL 1 East enter their final weekend of play still with hopes of Champions League qualification as first-place and eighth-place are separated by just eight points. Sitting atop the table with a three-point cushion, Turlock Tornados SC NPL (16 points) seem most likely to garner one of the four CL slots, but face stiff competition over the weekend in fellow contenders Sacramento United (11 points) and San Juan Lightning SC Blue (9 points. Not only are fifth-place Sac United still in contention for the overall title, but so are second-place Diablo FC (13 points), third-place Davis Legacy Red (12 points), fourth-place Union Sacramento FC NPL (12 points) and sixth-place Placer United Gold (11 points). Almost every game this weekend is a must-watch as all 10 matches feature teams in Champions League contention, while six include two teams still in contention.
NPL 1 WEST PREVIEW
For the U16 Boys NPL 1 West division, the action this weekend kicks off with the marquee match-up between first-place CV SJ Earthquakes PDA (19 points) and Atletico Santa Rosa ASR Bay (18 points). While both sides have already clinched spots in the Champions League — the only two from the division to do so — a win Saturday morning will go a long way towards winning the league championship. Overall, five teams are in contention for the two remaining CL spots, but EC Real Salinas Galaxy (15 points) and Lamorinda SC (12 points) look to have the upper hand on everyone else.
NPL 2 EAST PREVIEW
Undefeated SF Elite Academy SF Elite come into the weekend with a clear hold on the U16 Boys NPL 2 East, needing just a draw in their Sunday match against second-place Star Academy FC I to win the league and earn the only spot in the spring’s NPL 1. Star Academy is assured of at least second place, but the third place spot — which will qualify for the NPL 2 — is very much up for grabs as three squads remain in contention for it. Third-place Mavericks Black (12 points) can clinch the spot early on Saturday with a win over fourth-place Walnut Creek Blue (9 points), but should they fall, Sunday’s match between Walnut Creek and fifth-place Heritage SC (7 points) could prove decisive.
NPL 2 WEST PREVIEW
De Anza Force I will be the team to watch over the weekend as the third-place side (13 points) takes on both first-place SACYSL California Northstars (19 points) and second-place Atlas Academy Merced (16 points). Should De Anza win both matches, they’ll have a shot at the title if other results go their way, but if they fail to do so, they could finish as low as fifth. Only last-place Almaden FC Mercury NPL (5 points) has nothing to play for as their spring status in the NPL 3 has already been confirmed.