2002 Boys National Championships Recap

East Coast Soccer League Champions

The Delaware Football Club 2002 Boys embarked on a remarkable journey through winning US Club Soccer’s East Coast Soccer League this Spring going 5W-1L in the league and clinching qualifications to ENPL Playoffs.

ENPL Playoffs

The Delaware FC 2002 Boys rallied to 4-0-0 in the ENPL Playoffs in Rockford, Illinois. The Delaware FC 2002 Boys had a great run of form and some excellent results beating the Dallas Texans (2-0), OC Surf (2-1), Discoveries SC (2-1) and PDA (2-1) locking in the Delaware FC boys qualification for the ENPL National Finals!

ENPL National Finals

The ENPL National Finals is where the National Champion is crowned, at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Denver, Colorado. The round robin setup saw 8 teams from across the country set up in a round robin format to crown the eventual National Champion of the U17 Bracket.

Game 1: Delaware FC vs Eclipse SC (2-4 Loss)

Delaware FC had a tough battle in their first game of group play against a tough team from Illinois. Delaware FC jumped to a 1-0 lead early in the first half on a goal by Patrick Short. In a back and forth game that saw both teams creating opportunities, the game headed into half time 1-0 in favor of Delaware FC. 

Following the halftime period Eclipse scored two goals in under 5 minutes to take a 2-1 lead in the match. Following the second goal, Delaware FC put together a few quality scoring opportunities and Patrick Short scored once again to equalize the game with just over 25 minutes remaining in the match. Unfortunately, Eclipse was able to sneak a third goal out of the ‘mandatory hydration’ break to take a 3-2 lead in the game. After a near set piece equalizer and pushing numbers forward, Eclipse scored a final goal in stoppage time to finish the match.

Game 2: Delaware FC vs CSAIU NPL (2-1 Win)

Delaware FC looked to bounce back after a tough defeat just 24 hours prior to Eclipse SC. Knowing they would need a win to stay alive in the round robin bracket, Delaware FC pushed the tempo early in the match. Patrick Short once again started the scoring early in the first half for Delaware FC. In a game that saw both teams comfortable in possession and few quality scoring opportunities, the game entered half time with Delaware FC once again leading 1-0. 

CSAIU opened the scoring in the second half to tie the match 1-1. Following another mandatory hydration break, Delaware FC scored moments after the stoppage on a beautiful pass from Oryem Kilama to Patrick Short for his second of the match. Delaware FC would then be forced to be play down a man on a double yellow that was given with 20 minutes remaining in the second half. Delaware FC’s back line and goalkeeper Alex Dolce were able to thwart away a few dangerous chances to secure the 2-1 victory for Delaware FC.

Game 4: Delaware FC vs GSA ECNL (1-1 Tie)

Delaware FC entered the final match knowing they needed to win and get some help to advance to the ENPL National Final. GSA put together a tough performance knowing they only needed a tie to advance to the National Final the following day. Both teams early in the match had opportunities to capitalize and seize control of the game. Neither team was able to capitalize on their opportunities and the game headed into half time 0-0. 

Knowing the current result of the Eclipse/CSAIU match at halftime of the third match, Delaware FC had to push numbers forward in attempt to beat GSA by multiple goals. Delaware FC conceded and found themselves trailing 1-0 with 30 minutes remaining in the match. In typical fashion the team showed their heart and fought back to tie the match 1-1 on a goal scored by Cody Niggebrugge. Delaware FC had another 2-3 good quality opportunities to take the lead in the match but was unable to find the back of the net. The match ended in a 1-1 draw, which allowed GSA to advance to the National Final vs Beach FC. 

Nationals & U 17 Event Performance

The Delaware FC 2002 Boys finished the ENPL Nationals with a record of 5-1-1.

The 2002 Boys had an excellent U17 Season as they placed at the Disney Showcase, PDT (Finalists), Annandale Premier Cup (Champions), Jefferson Cup (Champions) and East Coast Soccer League (Champions).

Thoughts from Coach Erik Temple

“This has been a special group all season long. They have competed at the highest level of every event in the country and proven they are one of the premier teams. We were able to accomplish these successes by sticking together and fighting for a common goal to win a National Championship.

I am so proud of the effort and dedication that these boys put into the season. It’s hard to win a National Championship at this level. You usually need a bit of skill, some luck and good health to win a National Championship. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to bring back a National Championship to Delaware, but the kids played their hearts out and fought to be amongst the elite. Walking away from a national event going 5-1-1 with an opportunity to win a National Championship is all you can ask for as a coach.” – Erik Temple, Delaware FC 2002 Boys Head Coach

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