The US Club NJ Cup is youth soccer’s version of March Madness with the bracket style competition heating up in cold temperatures, this is our look into the U15 Boys groups. There are a handful of games set to kick off this weekend (3/11 and 3/12), but those could be halted by our usual March snow. The deadline is March 20th for the Premier Group though, so teams will be scrambling to agree on a date with just over a week to get the game in. This article is designed to create a buzz around the tournament and get the NJ soccer community talking about the event. We want you to comment on great games, players, teams, and coaches using the reply section at the bottom of the page. NJTravelSoccerBlog.com is looking to create a positive soccer environment and we hope you like and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and WordPress.
NJ Cup – Early Analysis – U15 Boys 2002
*This is a look at the first round games of the Super and Premier brackets. The deadline for the groups are April 3rd and March 20th respectively, and this is what we consider the “first round” of games. This is a win and move on tournament and the goal is to get to Finals weekend May 6th and 7th in North Brunswick.
Super Group Premier Group
Jackson Red Bulls Stafford Gunners
Princeton SA NPL Manalapan Nitro
NJ Stallions Academy Juve Match Fit Academy White
STA MUSC NPL STA MUSC EDP
First Round Matchups To Watch
- Den of Lions Inter vs. FC Gottschee Bayern – This is a great Super Group game with two teams in quality early season form having competed in the Manhattan SC Classic. Den of Lions won their group on March 3rd weekend and Gottschee just missed out on the finals by a narrow margin against the eventual champion. Impressively, this DOL team has been to the finals of its last 4 tournaments dating back to May 2016 and has brought home the Champions medals in the last 3. They are quickly rising up the GotSoccer charts and STA should consider them a threat if they get into Round 2. This Gottschee group scores about 2.5 goals a game though and will not be a push over in what I can see as a game going the distance with a late winner potentially being the difference.
- TSF Academy 02 Blue vs. SDFC 02 Yellow – Following suit from the first game, here are 2 more Super Group teams that are coming off a positive trip to the Manhattan Classic. TSF was just nudged out in the finals (by previously mentioned DOL), but had a nice win against Cedar Stars from Orange (they are everywhere these days) and did not lose until the finals. SDFC had a clean record with 3 wins and a draw on route to the Champions medals in their flight, meaning both will be well prepped and in form for this early round game. TSF is well traveled having attended the Dallas Cup and Bethesda in the last Calendar year, and are probably slightly favored because of it. However, SDFC by their scoring totals, look like a composed and organized team, which could West Brom you out of the tournament with a 1-0 result if you get flustered. The winner gets a date with #3 seed NJ Stallions (pic below) and that alone is enough to leave it all on the field in Round 1.
- FC Sportika vs. FC Copa Academy Black South – This game is intriguing because both teams took different approaches with the USYS birth year mandates, and it will be interesting to see which plan worked out. The 2002 birth year was the most affected (8th graders and Frosh) so some teams chose to play a shortened Fall season and some didn’t. Sportika played throughout the Summer and a short EDP season in the Fall, where as startup Copa South played just 2 tournaments after High School seasons finished. Which do you think is the better avenue? The Sportika group knows how to win, but is stepping up a level in this competition and Copa, although newly formed, showed they can play with a win against #26 SJEB Rush. For these reasons and more it puts the game on the map. Sportika conceded home field advantage to play on the turf at Rowan U, but who knows if the weather will allow this game to kick off Sunday 3/12.
Jersey Crew Vipers vs. Mt. Olive Premier Red – I like to highlight games that are geographically close or far apart, and this one is under a 30 minute drive on a good day on Rt. 80. Not sure what a good day on Rt. 80 looks like, but these two clubs should be familiar with one another because of their locations. Mt. Olive will be making the trip East to Montville and the winner gets a shot at the #2 Seed Manalpan Nitro. The Vipers have the edge here as Mt. Olive looks to have just put this team together this season and Jersey Crew are coming off a solid Fall in EDP and winning their tournament in Parsippany. The game will kick off Monday 3/14 under the lights on turf, so it will at least be an exciting setting for an early season game.
- There are 20 excellent teams competing for the Super Group title
- 39 teams have entered the Premier Group with a hope of finals weekend
- Know your NJ Cup Rules! Unfortunately Jersey United 02 White was forced to forfeit due to a lack of player passes. This is a US Club event guys,
no NJYS passes.
- Final 4 Super Group Predictions – Jackson Red Bulls vs. NJ Stallions Juve and Match Fit Academy Black vs. Princeton SA NPL
- Final 4 Premier Group Predictions – SJA Impact vs. Mt. Olive Premier Surge and Manalapan Nitro vs. PDA Shore Suarez
- 5 Games are set to kick off this weekend 3/11 and 3/12, but I am sure the majority of them will need to be moved to next week(end).
- A link to the NJ Cup Super Group Bracket
- A link to the NJ Cup Premier Group Bracket