Two NorCal Sides Capture NPL National Titles
After a series of quick turnarounds and tough opponents at US Club Soccer’s NPL National Finals in Indiana, two NorCal Premier Soccer Clubs have been crowned champions of the country: U-15 girls FC Elk Grove and U-16 San Jose Earthquakes.
The championship was FC Elk Grove’s third major title of the calendar year with the side having picked up NPL Champions League and State Cup honors as well, while the Earthquakes come home with the national title as well as a Champions League victory.
Thanks to a strong defense that only allowed one goal throughout five games, Elk Grove captured the title early Monday with a 1-0 overtime victory over FC Stars West, a top side from Massachusetts.
“A lot of it was defensive just because the teams we played were very direct, there wasn’t a lot of build up play from our opposition, they weren’t really trying to play the ball on the floor,” said head coach Ben Ormsby. “We had to be tight in our lines and organized.”
For Ormsby and FC Elk Grove, the title will go down in the annals of the club’s history as a high point.
“We’ve had really good girls teams in the past,” Ormsby said. “Some of the older staff members, board members, were telling me that when we had Megan Rapinoe in the club, we took them to a national title and got second.
“For the club [this title is] one of those beacons,” he added. “The club’s been around for a long time…for us it’s now just trying to get players to understand that we’re trying to develop good soccer players.”
Meanwhile the Earthquakes, who also won the NPL Champions League, defeated Metropolitan Oval of New York 3-0 in their final, capping a five game stretch where the side struck an impressive 19 times en route to the title.
“In four of the five games we scored in the first five to ten minutes,” said head coach Jeff Jenkins. “That really changed the opponents’ mindsets. They had to adjust quickly because it wasn’t one of these tournaments where a loss would help you go through.”
“The event was top-notch,” he added. “It was run great. The facilities were awesome. The referees were great. Up to this point, we haven’t been disappointed with anything NorCal or US Club Soccer has done for us. We hope to have more teams participate in these events.
“NorCal league really prepared us for this,” Jenkins concluded. “The NorCal league is so competitive.”
Also participating in the competition were the U-14 De Anza Force, the U-15 Lamorinda United, and U-17 Santa Clara Sporting sides, each of whom exited the competition at the group stage.