U14-U19 #NorCalStateCup Quarterfinals Preview
Action in the U14-U19 NorCal Premier Soccer State Cup is heating up as teams from all across the state will compete for one of the most coveted titles in all of youth soccer over the next three weekends, starting with the quarterfinals round this weekend in Davis and Lathrop.
While some teams will earn the right to play in the single-elimination competition for at least one more week, for some this will be the end of a hard-fought cup run.
The winners from this weekend will take part in the semifinals May 7 in Lathrop and Turlock, while the finals will take place at Cosumnes River College in Sacramento on May 14 and 15.
Schedules and results can be found here.
Ahead of all of the exciting action, we’ve previewed each State division:
First place U14 Boys Champions League side FC Sporting Sacramento headline the final eight squads left in the U14 Boys State Cup. They are joined in the competition by fellow Champions League sides Association Football Club, Los Gatos United, and Placer United. AFC have been one of the most impressive sides so far in the knockout round, having scored a combined 11 goals in their first two elimination games. However, the U14 Boys age group has still seen a plethora of upsets thus far, with State Premier Championship side IR Academy making it to the last eight after two shutout wins. The division is rounded out by MVLA, San Juan, and SF United.
Four of the eight remaining teams in the U14 Girls State Cup come from the Girls ECNL Regional League – NorCal’s top level of league competition. Currently, Stanislaus United have a stranglehold on that division, leading the table by six points with just two games left to play. A league and cup double could be in play for Stanislaus, but anything can happen in cup soccer and ECNL Regional League sides De Anza Force, Blues FC, and Placer United will all look to upset the Central Valley side that won their first knockout round game 8-0. The remaining squads in the division are rounded out by the first place team in the NPL 1 (North Coast Futbol Club), two other NPL 1 squads (MVLA and Modesto Ajax United) and non-NPL side Clovis Crossfire.
In a division in which just three NPL Champions League squads are still alive, a maximum of two can possibly advance to the semifinals with the matchup of the weekend appearing to be between top league sides 1974 Newark FC and Clovis Crossfire. While the two haven’t met in league play yet, both fell in one goal losses to the other Champions League side in this bracket: current league leaders Monterey County Soccer. Meanwhile, NPL 1 squad Sunnyvale Alliance has been one of the strongest Cup teams so far, scoring nine goals in just two knockout round matches. They’ll meet fellow NPL 1 side Woodside Soccer Club this weekend. The bracket is rounded out by non-NPL teams Napa United, Soccer For Kids, and TSP FC.
Despite the U15 Girls State Division featuring a top-heavy list of teams that mostly are at or near the top of their respective NPL divisions, there have been surprisingly few blowouts so far in the knockout stages of the competition. Other than a 12-1 win for Champions League side FC Bay Area Surf, most of the games have been tight. Though Champions League sides Surf, Placer United, and IR Academy would traditionally be the favorites, don’t count out NPL 1 squads PSV Union, MVLA, and North Coast Futbol Club, or ECNL team Marin FC and non-NPL side SF Aftershocks, each of whom posted impressive wins in the round of 16.
Out of any of the matchups in any division this weekend, perhaps the most spicy contest comes in the U16 Boys State Cup where 1974 Newark FC face off against FC Sporting Sacramento. Given that the former are in first place in the Champions League and the latter are in third, one could have easily expected this to be a matchup set for the final. Instead the pair, who haven’t yet played in league this season, will meet to decide who has a chance to make it to the final. Also representing the Champions League in this division are current second-place holders Association Football Club, who will take on non-NPL side Stanislaus United. The division is rounded out by the NPL 1’s Union Sacramento and non-NPL teams San Juan and Santa Clara Sporting.
Thus far in the U16 Girls State Division, the vast majority of the games have gone chalk, with an astounding four Champions League teams still alive including three of the top four currently in the standings. Yet, the vast majority of games in this age group have been decided by just a goal, showing that while Champions League sides Palo Alto SC, Placer United, San Juan Soccer Club, and West Coast Soccer might each be favored to lift the overall trophy ahead of the other teams, no one can be counted out. PSV Union enter the weekend undefeated and in first place in in the NPL 1, while Central California Soccer Alliance are just two places behind them in that division. The final two squads are NPL 3 team Blues FC and ECNL squad Marin FC.
In an absolutely stacked division full of top teams around the state, two of this weekend’s U17 Boys State Cup games will actually be rematches. Current second-place side California Odyssey played sixth-place Union Sacramento back in November with a 5-1 decision going to the Fresno-based side. Meanwhile, Walnut Creek Surf and Atletico Santa Rosa met earlier this spring in a thrilling 3-3 NPL 2 contest. Napa United and IR Academy round out the Champions League sides in this division, while Davis Legacy currently compete in the ECNL and Sacramento United share a league with Walnut Creek and Santa Rosa.
A Central Valley derby, a Bay Area derby, and two rematches of league contests – the U17 Girls State Division has everything. Current second-place ECNL Regional League squad Clovis Crossfire face off against non-NPL side Ceres Earthquake in the first derby, while sixth-place ECNL Regional League side FC Bay Area Surf will take on the ECNL’s Marin FC in the second derby. Meanwhile, Placer United knocked off De Anza Force in the ECNL Regional League nearly two months ago via a 4-1 scoreline and West Coast Soccer and the Diablo Valley Wolves get a rematch of a 1-1 draw from earlier this month.
The U19 Boys division is perennially notoriously hard to predict given the wide variety of results that occur, leading to some of the most exciting games. However, each team still alive has produced some of the best quality play in any division in NorCal’s State Cup. Placer United are coming off of a big 3-0 win and will face NPL Champions League side Monterey County Soccer Club. Meanwhile, Davis Legacy ply their trade in the ECNL and will take on non-NPL team Woodland Soccer Club, who defeated the Diablo Valley Wolves 2-0 in the round of 16. De Anza Force are still waiting to see who their opponent will be as San Juan Soccer Club and Manteca Area Soccer don’t play until Friday night, while Central Valley Premier drew the tough task of playing against first-place Champions League side California Odyssey, but Central Valley come into the quarterfinals with a 7-1 victory under their belts in the prior round.
The vast majority of the U19 Girls State Division is heading into the quarterfinals after securing blowout wins in the round of 16 of the competition. Perhaps none was as impressive as California Magic’s 10-1 throttling, though. Their opponents in ECNL side Marin FC made it to this round thanks to a 1-0 victory. Meanwhile, Blues FC posted a 3-0 win in the round of 16, which opponents Placer United bettered by one goal in a 4-0 victory. Folsom Lake Surf scored the second-most goals of any team in the round of 16 with seven and will face a San Juan South team that shut out Albion SC Merced 1-0. Blues FC and Santa Cruz County Breakers round out the teams, each making it this far thanks to hitting the back of the net three times in the last round.