Preseason Tournaments kickoff this weekend (March 5th and 6th) and the MSSL/MAPS/EDP tournament season, which may be the best NJ has to offer, is starting its run of tournaments with the MAPS Spring Challenge. Only the girls play this weekend as the boys compete on the 12th and 13th in a dual weekend event set in Pittsgrove, NJ. New Jersey teams will be looking for an early season tune up and to stretch the players legs after 3 months indoors. Early Spring soccer is never the prettiest, but teams that trained and competed consistently during the winter usually display the skill and ball movement to succeed outdoors. Fitness levels will be key for the teams in action, but I am sure coaches will just be happy to get 180 minutes of game time to prepare for the busy season ahead.
65 New Jersey Girls teams in total from U10-U18 will compete against another 37 teams from Region 1 and beyond. I personally love that MSSL can host tournaments in NJ that attract so many quality teams from out of state. Each tournament I have entered the Directors have done a good job of mixing up the competition so that you are against teams you don’t normally see in league play. This weekend’s event is no exception and is host to many class out of state teams such as:
- U11G: ISA Revolution 04 NYE (GotSoccer Rank 4), SA Premier Blue 04 MD (GS 2), Pipeline SC Black MD (GS 4), Hamden Soccer Ginga FC CE (GS 1)
- U12G: Bethesda SC Academy Blue MD (GS 12)
- U13G: YMS Heat PAE (GS 14), Hamden Soccer Ginga FC CE (GS 3)
- U14G: Maryland United FC MD (GS 14)
- U15G: Buckingham United Banshees PAE (GS 17)
- U16G: Lagrange Chargers NYE (GS 8)
Top NJ Teams Competing
- U11G: Lumberton SC Dynamite Black (GS 11)
- U12G: PDA Barcelona (GS 7), Vorhees Extreme (GS 3), Harrison SC Dynamite (GS 13)
- U13G: Delran FC Union (GS 13)
- U14G: NJ Rush 01 Blue (GS 4), Real NJSC Sounders (GS 6)
- U15G: Medford Strikers Heart (GS 26)
- U16G: SJEB 99 (GS 4), GPS NJ Central Blue (GS 18), Toms River FC Everton (GS 6)
- U18G: Next Level 97/98 Sparx (GS 3), Cherry Hill FC Phantoms (GS 17), Jersey Knights Daggers (GS 15), Berlin SC Angels (GS 25)
Sat 8:25AM Field 15 – U12G 11v11 PDA Barcelona vs. Vorhees Extreme
A very early season matchup of two of NJ’s best U12 groups. These two met in their EDP season last Fall and Vorhees came out on top with a 1-0 victory. It’s tough getting such a high profile game the first game out in near freezing temperatures. Good trainers who can keep their teams motivated and rising to the occasion will win out here.
Sat 12PM Field 21 – U11G 9v9 Lumberton SC Black (NJ) vs. Hamden SC Ginga FC (CE)
A quality NJ team is tested against Connecticut’s finest and GotSoccer #1 in this clash.
Sat 4:50PM Field 6- U16G SJEB 99 vs. GPS NJ Central Blue
Two highly ranked NJ teams battle it out in what certainly will be a critical 2nd game for both teams that will ultimately decide who secures a 4th game on Sunday. Definitely Championship implications.
Sunday 12PM Field 12 – U18G Next Level 97/98 Sparx vs. Cherry Hill Phantoms FC
This is essentially a Semi-Final game if things shake out the way they should. This is also a rematch of almost exactly a year ago when in an early season EDP game pitted the two teams in a narrow 2-1 victory. Next Level is also an up and coming team that amassed 10,000 GotSoccer points in all competitions last season, so should be exciting to watch. Two of Next Level’s players recently signed their letters of intent which can be seen by the link here.
Group to Watch:
The U11G MAPS group might be the most talented, but is filled primarily with out-of-state teams (Let’s Represent Lumberton, NJ!). The U12 Group is one to keep an eye on, but I would head to the U18 MAPS group for the best competition of NJ teams with Collegiate Level talent. Again, it is going to be very interesting to see how teams come out in the cold weather expected for Saturday and that means any team can truly come out on top.