Inaugural U9-U13 California Cup Preview
This weekend in Davis, a true State Cup champion for California will be awarded for the first time in decades as the winners and runners-up from the most recent NorCal and SOCAL State Cups will meet to decide which team is truly the best.
Overall, 40 teams from the U9-U13 age groups will take part in a round robin format in which each team will play each other once and then the top two teams from the group will face each other for the title at the Davis Legacy Soccer Complex.
This is the culmination of a process that saw nearly 6,000 teams from the entirety of the state begin play before being whittled down to the final two on each half of California.
Each day leading up to the tournament, we’ll preview a different age group of the competition, starting with the U9’s on Monday and finishing with the U13’s on Friday.
|Total Futbol Academy||San Diego Surf Academy|
Making the trek up North are champions Total Futbol Academy and runners-up San Diego Surf Academy. After cruising through the group stages, no one could stop TFA in the elimination rounds as they put 22 goals past their opponents in the knockout stages, with the fewest strikes in one game numbering five. In the final, they met San Diego Surf, who they defeated 6-1 after coming off of an 11-goal haul in the semifinals.
|CV Futbol Academy||Monterey County Soccer|
Over in the Northern part of the state it was more of the same as CV Futbol Academy scored 32 goals in group stage matches, while Monterey County Soccer got on the scoresheet 21 times, each playing just three group games. After each side blew out their opponents by more than eight goals in the quarterfinals, things started to get a bit tougher as the pair narrowly advanced to the final before CV defeated Monterey via a 4-1 scoreline.
|San Diego Surf Academy||CDA Slammers|
After both sides cruised to the group stages of the competition, both champions San Diego Surf Academy and runners-up CDA Slammers will head to Davis this weekend in search of knocking off a pair of NorCal sides to lift the first-ever California Cup. Surf started out incredibly in the knockout rounds of their own State Cup, winning 10-0 in the quarterfinals before scraping by to make the final. Meanwhile, CDA had a tough quarterfinal matchup before winning 5-0 in the semifinals to earn the right to face San Diego. The final proved to be a much more fair matchup with a solitary goal making the difference for Surf as they lifted the SOCAL State Cup.
|San Juan SC||Marin FC|
The two Southern California squads will have their work cut out for them, however, as they will face a pair of sides from two of the historically strong Northern California clubs in San Juan Soccer Club and Marin FC. Both San Juan and Marin were perfect in the State Cup group stages before things became much tighter in a U9 knockout round bracket that featured few blowouts and many close encounters. Both teams qualified for the final after refusing to allow a goal in the lead up before San Juan finally put two past Marin in the title match to lift the trophy after a 2-1 victory.
|Total Futbol Academy||Sporting California Arsenal|
Both California Cup qualifiers from the U10 Boys division couldn’t stop scoring goals once they reached the elimination stages of the SOCAL State Cup. Eventual champions Total Futbol Academy started their run with a 7-0 victory, before a 4-0 win helped them reach the semifinals where they again put seven past their opponents. Meanwhile, Sporting California Arsenal put four in the back of the net in their first two games before hitting for five in their semifinal. But that was where the goals dried up as Sporting failed to score in the final, a 2-0 loss to TFA.
|FC Bay Area Surf||Monterey County Soccer|
Coming into the NorCal State Cup finals, Monterey County Soccer simply couldn’t be stopped offensively as the Salinas club hit for five goals in the quarterifinals and four in the semifinals to qualify for the title game. Their opponents were FC Bay Area Surf, who allowed just two goals in two knockout stage games, a rarity at the U10 level. However, it was the Surf defense that prevailed in the final over the strong Monterey County attack — FC Bay Area took home the trophy with a 2-0 victory.
|Southern California Blues||CDA Slammers|
After a tight 1-0 win to open up the elimination rounds of the SOCAL State Cup, eventual champions SoCal Blues got better in each game and increased their margin of victory. First, it was a 3-1 win in the semifinals, before the final match brought a 6-1 victory over CDA Slammers, who also will be attending the California Cup this weekend.
|Modesto Ajax United||San Francisco Elite Academy|
The U10 NorCal State Cup bracket always looked like a two-horse race between Modesto Ajax United and San Francisco Elite Academy as the two sides couldn’t stop scoring goals once the knockout rounds started. While both teams also let in a few goals on the way, each hit the back of the net at least four times in all their games but one. When it came time for the final, a goalfest was expected and that’s how it turned out, with Ajax defeating San Francisco 5-3 to lift the trophy.
|FC Golden State||Total Futbol Academy|
SOCAL State Cup champions FC Golden State proved to be clinical in the attack and tight in the defense en route to the U11 title game in early March. Not only did the club score 10 goals in three knockout round games to reach the final, but they allowed just a single strike. Meanwhile, Total Futbol Academy advanced to face them on the back of three straight one-goal victories. The ensuing final proved to be one of the best games in all of the competition with Golden State edging TFA 5-3 in a back-and-forth affair.
|Sheriffs FC||Almaden FC|
Unlike most of the other younger divisions in the NorCal State Cup, the U11 boys featured tight defensive contests rather than outright goalfests once the knockout stages of the competition began. On their way to the final, Sheriffs FC scored just six goals in three games, but also only allowed just two. Meanwhile, Almaden FC scored two fewer goals, but also kept clean sheets in each of their three games. But then Sheriffs exploded for three goals in the final, taking home the title with a 3-0 victory.
|SoCal Blues||Legends FC|
En route to a SOCAL State Cup championship, the SoCal Blues had one of the best defensive records of any team in any top division of the knockout stages. The San Juan Capistrano-based club allowed just two goals from the round of 16 on, including a shutout in the final. The Blues were no strangers to hitting the back of the net themselves, too, scoring 16 goals in that same time period. Their opponents in the final, Legends FC, also feature a stout defense and allowed just a single goal going up to the final where Blues edged them via a 3-0 scoreline.
Eventual U11 State Cup champions Mustang SC started the knockout round stages of the competition with a 10-0 victory and never looked back from there. Although they never hit double digits in a single game again, they did put 11 goals past their opponents to capture the title. MVLA were the only team to score on Mustang during this whole period, a solitary strike in a 3-1 loss in a battle between two of the top Bay Area clubs.
|Legends FC||San Diego Surf|
In a division in which nearly every game was close starting in the knockout rounds, not much separated Legends FC and San Diego Surf, who will travel to Davis as SOCAL’s U12 Boys representatives this weekend. Both teams started out with close wins in the round of 16 and quarterfinals before finally finding their form in the semifinals as each posted 4-1 victories to advance to the title game. There, a back-and-forth affair saw Legends slightly edge San Diego via a 2-1 scoreline.
|Modesto Ajax United||Davis Legacy|
Representing NorCal Premier Soccer for the California Cup are State Cup runners-up Modesto Ajax United and semifinalists Davis Legacy. Due to the change in date for the competition, champions Mustang SC were unable to attend, so Davis, who they beat 3-1 in the semifinal, will take their place. Leading up to the State Cup final, Ajax looked to be unstoppable after scoring 19 goals in four knockout round games. And though they hit the back of the net twice against Mustang, they couldn’t stop the Bay Area club from scoring six times themselves. Meanwhile, Davis posted a pair of 3-0 victories before eventually falling to Mustang.
|San Diego Surf||SoCal Blues|
While the amount of goals San Diego Surf scored in each SOCAL State Cup knockout round game decreased from eight in the round of 16 to just one in the final, Surf didn’t allow a single goal down the stretch. But neither did the SoCal Blues, who weren’t quite as potent as San Diego in terms of hitting the back of the net but didn’t concede until they faced Surf, who defeated them 1-0 to claim the title.
|San Juan SC||Burlingame SC|
After San Juan Soccer Club couldn’t stop scoring goals in the first two knockout stages of the NorCal State Cup, the club just couldn’t hit the back of the net in their semifinal or final matchups. Still, San Juan also kept their opponents from scoring, sending both games to penalty shootouts that the Sacramento club ended up winning to claim the title. Though they prevailed in the final against Modesto Ajax United, a conflict kept the Central Valley club from attending and therefore Burlingame SC will take their place. Burlingame also had a strong run, making the semifinals before bowing out in a 3-1 loss to Ajax.
|Rangers FC||Slammers FC|
SOCAL’s Rangers FC were nothing if not consistent once State Cup progressed to the round of 16 – in all knockout stage games, they scored exactly two goals. Only once did Rangers not progress with a 2-1 victory, as in the semifinals, they shut out Culver City 2-0. Their opponents in the State Cup final were Slammers FC who started out the elimination rounds with an emphatic 7-0 victory before posting tight shutout wins in the quarterfinals and semifinals.
|Albion Merced SC||MVLA|
One of the most dynamic teams in the U13 NorCal State Cup, Albion SC Merced put together a solid run of games in which they couldn’t be stopped offensively on the way to lifting the trophy all the way back in February. Other than a tight 1-0 victory in the quarterfinals, Albion scored at least three goals in every game including the final, where they defeated the San Francisco Glens via a 4-2 scoreline. However, joining Albion in the California Cup will be MVLA after the Glens were unable to attend due to a scheduling conflict. MVLA faced the Glens in the semifinals, losing 2-0.
|Beach Futbol Club||Slammers FC|
It only takes one goal to win a soccer game and that’s how Beach FC went on to win the SOCAL State Cup just a couple of weeks ago. The U13 side suffocated all opponents throughout the elimination rounds of the tournament, winning all four of their games 1-0 en route to lifting the trophy. That victory came against Slammers FC, who also posted three one-goal victories on their way to the final, but their run included score lines like 3-2 and 4-3. Only Beach FC prevented the Slammers from hitting the back of the net during the competition.
|FC Sporting Sacramento||Los Gatos United|
After winning a wild quarterfinal game 4-3, FC Sporting completely clamped down defensively for the rest of the NorCal State Cup, allowing zero goals on the way to capturing the title. While they didn’t score more than two goals in any of their last three games, they didn’t need to thanks to their stingy defense. Joining Sporting in the California Cup will be Los Gatos United, who posted 4-1 victories in the round of 16 and quarterfinals, before a 2-0 win in the semifinals put them in the championship where they lost to Sporting.