If you haven’t been keeping up, NJTravelSoccerBlog.com will be closely following the US Club NJ Cup this Spring 2017 and this is a part of a series of articles looking into the brackets. Yes, the real brackets open up today, but our State soccer tournament can deliver just as much excitement for players, coaches, and parents (who like to live vicariously). This is an insider’s look into the 2001 U16 Boys bracket, specifically at the 1st and 2nd rounds that are due to be played by April 3rd. We will highlight great games to be played in an effort to create a buzz about the competition within the NJ Community. We hope you also have some input by using the “reply” section at the bottom of the page, comment and like us on Facebook, Twitter, and WordPress. Because as readers, you have the true inside scoop into this event!
NJ Cup – Early Analysis – U16 Boys 2001
Super Group Premier Group
WSC Elite Cosmos Delran Future
Jackson SC Bayern Ironbound Blue Cougars
Match Fit Academy Black Clifton Stallions Barcelona
Harrison SC Vipers FCUSA New Jersey Black
1st Round Matchups to Watch
- TSF Academy Blue vs. SDFC Yellow – This is a Super Group game between two private clubs looking for a chance to go up against top seeded Match Fit Academy. Both look like newer teams pieced together by the birth year mandates, so looking at GotSoccer probably doesn’t tell the whole picture, but it does hint towards a quality matchup. TSF played a strong summer schedule that saw them at least reach the semis in 4 out of 5 events. They traveled to Bethesda in November and competed in a very high level group which leads me to believe this team has high hopes. SDFC jumps out at me, because owner and operator Ashley Hammond is listed at the head coach. He typically takes on teams with desirable qualities and has the pick of the litter at Soccer Domain out of Montclair. They traveled to Manhattan a couple weeks ago for the kickoff classic and performed admirably, scoring 10 goals in 6 games. For me, that is enough to put this game on the map as one of the better contests in the first 2 rounds at U16.
- Holmdel NJX Galaxy United vs. Cedar Stars Monmouth 2001 – You have a very experienced side in Holmdel against a Cedar Stars team that is likely pieced together from different groups following the USYS changes. Both clubs breed quality teams though and for that reason this will likely be a battle of Monmouth all over again. Holmdel‘s vast experience probably gives them the edge with trips to PA Classics and Disney in December. They are making the jump from U14 to U16 though that tells me they might be on the younger side of this age group. Cedar Stars is an enigma, with 4 teams listed on GotSoccer at this age and 2 registered for this event (one from Monmouth and one from Newark), it leads me to believe they put 2 teams together to make 1. Which means there is a competitive group here and I am banking on their pedigree to produce one of the better early round games in the Super Group bracket.
- FCUSA NJ Black vs. Arsenal Maximus Gunners – The U16 bracket is hard to read because so many of these teams were formed in Fall of 2016. I am sure this was difficult for tournament directors when putting this age group bracket together. I see this as a good matchup for two reasons. FCUSA is the #17 GotSoccer ranked team, a #4 seed in the premier group and a semi-finalist in its last 4 events. Arsenal just knocked off Mercer FC PSG 6-2 in its opening NJ Cup game. FCUSA is experienced, and probably consists of players who have shared the field for some time. Arsenal is brand new (doesn’t even have a GS point), but put a beat down on the #25 ranked team in freezing temperatures. I smell upset…
Results Are In!
- STA NPL (pictured left) beat PDA Rossi 3-2 in what was probably a fantastic game to kick off the bracket.
- Arsenal Maximus Gunners triumphed 6-2 over Mercer FC PSG up in Hillsdale.
- SJEB Rush steamrolled GPS South 8-0 in the Super Group.
Bloomfield Cheetahs vs. Ironbound SC Red Elite– These two Super Group teams are separated by under 10 miles and just a 20 minute drive up Rt. 280. I love that a local club like Bloomfield can produce such a quality team (currently ranked GS #4) at the U16 age group. This team is well traveled and competes in a ton of GS recognized events including 2 already this Spring, meaning they will be ready. They also won in a top flight group at the Massapequa Tournament in December. Ironbound lists 3 teams at this age group, but this is the brave one to enter Super Group play. They will be confident heading into this match on Saturday 3/25 after heading to APC in Virginia and coming back winners last week. All in all – this is one of those games that will have a little added incentive behind it due to geography, and I hope the referees are prepared for an intense, high level soccer game.
- There are 37 teams in the Premier Group Bracket. LINK TO BRACKET
- 27 Teams are confident enough to go for the Super Group title. LINK TO BRACKET
- 3 Games are set to kickoff this weekend on 3/18 (will they get them in?) – FC Copa vs. TSF, Hillsborough vs. Maroons, and Northern Valley vs. Elite Plainfield.
- 2 Games are being played on deadline day March 20th – hopefully the tournament will extend if a field is not ready for play.
- Premier Group Final 4 Picks – Delran Future, Ironbound SC Blue Cougars, Clifton Barcelona, Arsenal Maximus Gunners
- Super Group Final 4 Picks – WSC Cosmos, SJEB Rush Academy, Washington United Elite, Bloomfield Cheetahs