Super Y Finals start Friday in Florida
13 British Columbia-based teams are set to kick off the USL Super Y-League North American Finals in Florida this Friday.
Vancouver Whitecaps and BCSA affiliates Coastal, Mountain, and Surrey WFC are sending a combined ten teams to Florida. Five of them come from Mountain and include the U-13, U-14, U-15 and U-16 Boys, as well as the U-16 Girls. The four clubs from Coastal include the U-13, U-14, U-15 and U-16 Girls, while the lone team from Surrey WFC comes in the form of their U-14 Boys team. In addition, Abbotsford Mariners have qualified three teams of their own. They include the U-14, U-15 and U-16 Boys to bring the grand total of BC teams in Florida to 13.
The Super Y-League North American Finals, regarded as the top youth soccer event in North America, is a five-day tournament that includes over 130 of the best youth soccer teams in the United States and Canada. Teams face the best from around North America in a quest to become league champions.
This year's event will begin on Thursday, November 20, with the first day of matches being played on Friday, November 21. Championship matches are scheduled for Tuesday, November 25.
View schedules and a championship preview below.
Click here to view our Super Y-League Finals match centre.
Super Y-League North American Finals Previews
"Chicago Magic and CASL RailHawks: the only tournament with two perfect sides"
As always, the most wide-open North American Finals tournament at United Soccer Leagues SoccerFest will be the youngest. The U-13 tournament’s Group D will feature MPS Boston, Mountain WFC, Diablo FC and H.C. United. Looking at the past clubs who championed the U-13 tournament, the southeast representatives must be considered a viable championship contender.
Northwest Division qualifications: Mountain
The Washington Crossfire won the Northwest Division with a record of 9-1-4. Mountain WFC were hot on their heels throughout the season, and the Crossfire needed every point to come out on top of a difficult division. In the end, the American’s bested the Canadians by the slimmest of margins, a single point at 31 to 30. Head-to-head, the sides drew 1-1 on Saturday, May 31. In their second meeting of the season a week later, the Crossfire escaped Canada with a 1-0 victory.
Guided by Mike Greiner, the side began the season with a win and two draws before dropping their only decision of the season, a 2-1 defeat to Thompson Okanagan. Since that point, the Crossfire has not lost in their last 10 matches. They have shut out their opponents in six of those matches for a division-best goals against average of 1.4.
"Defending U-13 Champion Weston SC headlines tournament"
The U-14 Boys tournament kicks off Friday, November 21, in a pair of 9:00am matches between the defending U-13 champions, Weston SC and the New Hampshire Phantoms, as well as a second between the Northern Virginia Royals and Players Development Academy (PDA). The Cal Odyssey (10-0-0) is the only perfect side coming into the 10th annual North American Finals, but PDA (11-0-2), Black Watch SC (12-0-2) and Weston (11-0-2) are not far off their pace.
Northwest Division qualifications: Mountain, Abbotsford, Surrey
The U-14 Boys Mountain WFC team commenced play in the Pacific Northwest Division with the goal to qualify for the Finals in Florida, having missed a spot by a single point in 2007. From the outset, the players wanted to make a difference in the league and remained focused by preparing themselves daily in the weeks leading up to each game. They realized their goal and secured first place in the Pacific Northwest division with a record 14-1-1. In that period, the side scored 35 goals and allowed six against. The success of the team was a result of hard work, dedication, ambition and a positive group dynamic, which contributed to overcome difficult situations. Going to Florida, the team is excited to compete with the best North American clubs and the players are determined to make a difference to the success of the club.
Ian Knight, the head coach of Abbotsford’s U-14 Boys also served as the coach of the Chilliwack Soccer Association. He was formerly the head coach of the Youth Training System at Grimsby Town of the English Football League. He played for Sheffield Wednesday in the English First Division and played for England Under-23’s before injury curtailed his career. Knight’s experience has led this Abbotsford side to a repeat appearance in the Super Y-League North American Finals. After being bounced from the group play stage of last season’s U-13 finals, the Mariners held fast to the fact that they drew even with the 2007 U-13 North American Championship side, Weston SC, 0-0 on the first day of group play. Since returning to the Northwest, the side has improved their winning percentage from .500 in 2007 to .812 in 2008.
The third Northwest team in the U-14 Finals is Surrey WFC. This side ended the Northwest season in third place behind Mountain WFC and the Abbotsford Mariners. Should this Surrey WFC team advance to the knockout phase of the competition, they may have to face one of those two clubs again after falling to both teams during the regular season. In those four matches, Surrey was outscored 9-4, including a 2-2 draw with Abbotsford on Sunday, May 25. The team’s strength is their balance, as they were the third best offensive and defensive team in the Northwest through their first 16 matches.
Last season, the Southern California/Coast Soccer League charge into United Soccer Leagues Super Y-League North American Finals was led by Arsenal FC, who won both the U-14 and U-15 Boys titles. And with seven of their 11 matches this season completed, at least one of those sides still have a chance at becoming repeat champions.
To date – Arsenal FC’s U-15 Boys have compiled a record of 5-0-2 in the Super Y-League’s Southern California Division, which, due to the differences in birth date restrictions between the Super Y-League and the Coast Soccer League, is considered the U-16 Boys Premier Division. Should Arsenal FC remain atop the tables following their upcoming matches with Canyon (3-2-2), West Coast FC (3-1-3), Los Angeles Rampage Blue (3-4-0) and South Bay Force Blue (1-2-4), they will join these three clubs in Group D of the U-15 North American Finals.
The Northern Virginia Royals 1993-born boys, who fell one win short of winning the club’s first Super Y-League championship in last season’s U-14 Boys finale, return for this season’s U-15 Boys championship tournament after recording a regular season record of 8-2-2. As the second-seeded team out of the South Atlantic Division, the Royals return to the finals will not begin easily, as they face the number-one seed out of the Mid Atlantic region in Parsippany SC (9-4-2) on Friday, November 21.
Northwest Division qualifications: Mountain, Abbotsford
Mountain WFC U-15 Boys finished first in the Pacific Northwest Division by putting together an undefeated season with a record of 7-0-3. The side scored a total of 32 goals in 10 games, while allowing only five. The team was helped by a strong defense, but their overall success was due to a well-balanced squad. Qualification for the finals is a great achievement and the players are looking forward to meeting strong opposition.
The Abbotsford Mariners, who are coached by former Vancouver 86ers and Canadian national team assistant Alan Errington, kept pace with the prolific scoring offense of division champions Mountain WFC. The Mariners ended the season with 31 goals for, a single goal off the pace set by Mountain WFC. That goals per game average of 3.1 afforded the side a bit of leeway defensively and the side was able to outscore the upset-minded Thompson Okanagan side on two occasions with a season-opening 2-1 win and a 5-2 mid-season victory. However, the defense got stingy when it mattered most, pitching two shutouts against fourth-place Coastal WFC and refusing to soften in a 0-0 stalemate with the Washington Crossfire.
"2007 U-15 semifinalist Kalamazoo returns"
With seven of the club’s 10 Super Y-League teams heading to the postseason tournament in Tampa, the Kalamazoo Kingdom has the best chance of taking home hardware from next week’s Finals. The best team in Kalamazoo’s fleet is their U-16 Boys, who finished second in the Midwest Division behind the Fort Wayne Fever, despite losing only one match this season. In last season’s U-15 North American Finals, the same Kalamazoo side fought their way to the semifinals, where they fell 4-2 to the eventual champions in Arsenal FC.
The Mountain WFC U-16 Boys, coached by Les Krivak and Ron Mazzarolo, competed in the Pacific Northwest Division against five teams and finished in first place with a record of 7-1-2. The team scored a total of 31 goals and only allowed 11. After a successful season, the team is looking forward to a very competitive final.
Northwest Division qualifications: Mountain, Abbotsford
The Abbotsford Mariners finished second in the Northwest’s eldest division with a record of 6-2-2. Coached by Troye Flannery, Terry Klassen and Andy Phillips, the team accounted for one of the division champion’s two losses when they downed Mountain WFC 3-1 in Abbotsford. After dropping their first match of the season to Mountain on Sunday, June 8, Abbotsford won five of their last six matches and head into the North American Finals having won two in a row. Their first match of group play will be against New England Division Champion Black Watch SC.
"CASL looks to continue perfect 9-0-0 season"
Among the contenders from on the onset, the Long Island Rough Riders (11-0-2), MPS Boston (9-0-1), North Cal Lamorinda (6-0-2) and the CASL RailHawks (9-0-0) all come into the 10th annual North American Finals undefeated.
Northwest Division qualifications: Coastal
The Washington Crossfire has been a mainstay in the U-13 Girls division the past two seasons. In 2006, their 1993-born girls were bounced following group play in which they went 1-2-0. Last season, the Crossfire’s 1994-born U-13 girls went 3-0-0 during group play. After winning a 2-0 semifinal decision over the Atlanta Silverbacks, the side fell one step short of a North American final berth. To date this season, the club’s ’1995-born, U-13 Girls have a record of 12-1-0. They have scored the most goals (35) and allowed the fewest goals against (three) in the division.
Coached by Ajit Braich, Coastal WFC finished just behind the Crossfire with a regular season record of 8-3-2. Scoring 20 goals in 13 matches, Coastal possess the fourth-best offense in the ten-team division. Their defence, which allowed on average 1.23 goals per game, also ranked fourth-best in the division. Coastal’s U-13 Girls are one of four girls teams that the club have qualified for the North American Finals.
"Three undefeated sides chase a SYL Championship"
Headlined by unbeaten Quickstrike FC (12-0-2), Alliance Academy (5-0-2) and the Atlanta Silverbacks (11-0-1), the U-14 Girls finals could be an intriguing tournament in Florida.
Northwest Division qualifications: Coastal
Coastal WFC finished second in the ultra-competitive Pacific Northwest Division with a record of 9-3-2. That record was enough for 29 points on the season, one point behind the Washington Crossfire and one point ahead of third-place Mountain WFC, who finished the season with 28 points. Head-to-head with the division leaders, Coastal WFC went 1-3-0, losing twice by a 1-0 score to the Crossfire. They split their season series with Mountain, but fared slightly better than their counterparts against the remainder of the division to claim the second Northwest seed to the Super Y-League Finals.
Washington Crossfire return to the Finals after suffering a penalty-kick decision loss in the finals of last season’s U-13 Girls tournament. Just a few kicks short of the ultimate prize, the Crossfire, led by head coach Patrick Williams, have fought their way back to the Super Y-League post-season by winning the Pacific Northwest Division with a record of 9-2-3. Defense was the force behind this team’s success last season. They allowed just one goal in five matches in the 2007 Finals. The team put up impressive numbers again this season, allowing just 0.285 goals-per-game.
"Coastal, Sunrise and Arsenal: Unbeaten"
Arsenal SC advanced to the Finals with a unblemished regular season record of 11-0-0. As a club, Arsenal has won three Super Y-League titles in two seasons. One of the three, a U-13 Girls championship in 2006, belongs to the current U-15 Girls team.
Northwest Division qualifications: Coastal
Coached by Colin Elmes and Brendan Quarry, Coastal WFC finished 6-0-2 in the Super Y-League’s Northwest Division, topping fellow Whitecaps affiliate Mountain WFC by seven points. The team was a defence-first unit all season, allowing an average of 0.50 goals per match. Their offense ranked third in the division, netting 12 goals in eight matches. The team began the season by winning their first four games, including a vital 2-1 win over Mountain WFC - a scoreline they replicated on Mountain WFC’s turf later in the season.
Northwest Division qualifications: Mountain, Coastal
Two subsidiaries of the Vancouver Whitecaps development system, Mountain and Coastal WFC have qualified out of the Northwest. Head-to-head, the teams split their season series. Coastal took the first match of their season 1-0 over Mountain at home, while Mountain got revenge towards the middle of the season by way of a 2-1 win on their pitch. Mountain prevailed against the remainder of the division to claim the Northwest title after Coastal suffered a 0-0 draw to Thompson Okanagan. As a result of Mountain’s two 3-0 wins over Thompson Okanagan, the highlanders took the division by a two-point margin. Coastal will begin their trek towards a North American semifinals berth against MPS Boston. Mountain faces the Chicago Magic in their first match of group play.