Five Clubs Represent NorCal at the ENPL and NPL National Finals
Three boys sides and two girls sides represented NorCal at National Championship competitions this past week in Denver, CO. Participating boys teams included U16B Napa Soccer Academy, U14B CenCal Cosmos, and U14B MVLA Blue who advanced to compete in the Championship Round of the ENPL. For the girls, NorCal was represented by Clovis Crossfire U15G and California Odyssey U14G at the NPL Finals. All NorCal representatives competed well with three teams making the National Final with the other two finishing third.
ENPL National Finals
NorCal was one of only three leagues to have three or more teams qualify for the ENPL Nationals Finals and the teams didn’t disappoint.
In the U16B age group, Napa Soccer Academy battled through a close group. In Game 1, Napa drew level late with Slammers FC to lock in a 1-1 draw. Napa’s second match was likely the match of the event. Napa controlled the first half to take a 2-1 lead, however, the altitude seemed to hit late in the match as RSL AZ took a 3-2 lead with less than ten minutes to play. Looking beat, somehow, Napa got back into the game scoring the equalizer with a minute to play. Moments later, off a corner kick, Napa scored the winner with no time remaining on a nice finish at the back post which led to a mass celebration. In the final group match on Sunday, Napa once again pulled out a late equalizer to draw with GPS MA. Since Slammers also drew, Napa advanced to the National Final on Goals Scored. PDA, who dominated most opponents in the event, proved to be too much as they beat Napa, 4-0, in the Final.
Amazingly, in the U14B age group, two of the four semifinalists came from the NorCal NPL. On Friday, CenCal Cosmos beat RSL AZ, 2-1, while MVLA dropped a 1-0 result to a very strong Eclipse Select side. This led to the final day of the event on Saturday, where Eclipse upended CenCal Cosmos, 5-0, to take the title. In the third-place match, MVLA responded well with a 3-0 win over RSL AZ to finish third. NorCal NPL U14B finished with two of the top three finishers in the Nation.
Overall, NorCal teams participating represented the league very well as we finished with two ENPL Finalists (U14 CenCal and U16 Napa SA) and two others that finished as ENPL Semifinalists (MVLA U14 and SC Sporting (U19).
NorCal had two teams in attendance at the NPL Finals and both teams competed well advancing out of their groups, albeit in very different ways.
Clovis Crossfire u15G dominated their group on the first three days as they rattled off wins over Challenge Cypress (5-0), Richmond Strikers Elite (5-1), and Lou Fusz (8-0). In Sunday’s semifinals, Clovis ran into a much tougher opponent but held off North Central United Elite 2-1. In the Final, Crossfire held a lead but could not hang on and eventually were beaten by South Shore Select in penalties 5-4.
The California Odyssey U14G also advanced out of their group, however, they did so the hard way. After picking up a 4-1 win over Roadrunners SC Premier on Thursday, Odyssey dropped a 2-1 decision in a game they had plenty of chances to win to Florida Elite Academy. On Saturday, Cal Odyssey got a lifeline with Roadrunners beating Florida Elite. Odyssey took advantage of the help and won, 4-1, over Sporting STL Academy to win the group and advance to the semifinals. Odyssey was beaten, 1-0, on a late goal in a very even game by eventual Champion LA Fire Red.