(9 Aug) - There are a few mottos used in Region I. One of our favorites is First in your Hearts, First on the Pitch! Lately we have used We Play Soccer! Maybe the new one should be We Love Cups!
The cup season ended on a very positive note for our Region with our teams winning all three national titles. Phoenix Sports Club of Eastern Pennsylvania hosted the Gerhard Mengel Cup and won the national Over-30 championship. Christos FC of Maryland lifted the Werner Fricker Cup, the national amateur open championship, at home and travelled to Milwaukee victorious in the US Amateur Cup, earning the national cup double. Congratulations to both on their success as national champions.
Teams competed through state and regional qualifiers throughout the country to reach the cup finals and represent the best among amateur soccer.
First German Sports Club Phoenix hosted the cup finals on their grounds in Feasterville, Pennsylvania, the weekend of 30 & 31 July. Despite pouring rain and semifinal matches put on hold due to flight delays, the atmosphere was festive with hundreds among the Eastern Penn soccer community in attendance. The first semifinal featured the host Phoenix SC against Carpathia Kickers (Region II). Phoenix finished on top of a 6-goal thriller defeating the Michigan club 4:2. The second semifinal saw CD Motagua of Louisiana (Region III) shutout Region I finalist Safira Soccer of Massachusetts 2:0.
In the final, Phoenix again put away four goals again, this time in a 4:1 victory over CD Motagua for the title. Safira Soccer won the third place match 5:2 against the Kickers.
The Gerhard Mengel Cup is named after the former player and coach of the Carpathia Kickers. Gehard started with the club in 1958 and lead them to the 1962 US Amateur Cup title. He has served the game not only in his beloved Michigan including past President of the Michigan Soccer Association but for many years as the National Cup Commissioner for US Adult Soccer. Gerhard is a member of the USASA Hall of Fame and was awarded the Werner Fricker Builder Award by US Soccer. The Gerhard Mengel Cup recognizes the top Over-30 team in the country.
Christos FC of Maryland won the Region Cup double and were aiming to become the fifth club to achieve the national double. The Werner Fricker Cup was set for Saturday, 30 July at Troy Park in Elkridge, Maryland but was called off due to a torrential rainstorm. Fortunately, the teams were able to play the next morning with Obilic Legends of Illinois (Region II) giving Christos a competitive first half that ended 2:1 in the host's favor. The second half got off to a quick bang with Christos scoring 5 goals in 15 minutes to ride to an 8:1 victory. Among 170 in attendance applauded Christos as they were presented the Werner Fricker Cup as the national champion in the amateur open division.
Werner Fricker Cup Recap
The following weekend (5 & 6 August), Christos travelled to Milwaukee to play at the Bavarian Soccer Complex for the US Amateur Cup. Their semifinal opponent was Moreno Valley FC of California South (Region IV). It was a scoreless affair for 80 minutes but two late goals sent Christos into the final. The other semifinal had host Bavarian SC (Region II) make an incredible comeback against Legends SC of North Texas (Region III). The Dallas side scored twice in the first half and appeared to have an appointment with Christos for the final. The Bavarians though had other thoughts and drew it even in the final three minutes. Neither scored in extra time and the Wisconsin club advanced to the title match on penalties.
The final was an attacking affair between the two as both looked to strike first. The Bavarians went a man up in the 26th minute on a poor tackle from a Christos player. Both had their periods of momentum getting close but not able to score. At the end of 90, the game went into extra time after a nil-nil finish. Christos finally penetrated the net 7 minutes in the first extra period on a goal from Karou Forbess. Chris Panian sealed it on a counter a minute later and the Baltimore side held on for a 2:0 triumph. Christos was presented the Amateur Cup and made history winning the national cup double.
The Bavarian SC were great hosts of this final four championship with hundreds of their supporters attending both nights to see a fantastic display of top amateur soccer.
The Werner Fricker Cup is named after the past President of US Soccer and is an extension of the National Challenge Cup that was first played in 1913. The winners were awarded the Dewar Cup and for most of its history, those who lifted the Open Cup were amateur and semi-amateur clubs. With the participation of professional sides, US Soccer renamed the competition the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup. In 1999, US Adult Soccer established the Werner Fricker Cup to recognize the champion among its own participants in tradition of the past winners who kept the competition played throughout the century.
The US Amateur Cup was established in 1923 as the National Amateur Challenge Cup in response to the overwhelming number of teams playing in the National Challenge Cup (US Open Cup). Originally a competition held by USSF, it is now managed by USASA. Teams entered in the US Amateur Cup may not use players registered as professionals in the competition.
Christos FC is the fifth club to win both the open and amateur titles. The last to achieve that double was the Bavarian SC in 2003. It is a distinct recognition that is shared also by Ponta Delgada SC of Massachusetts (1947), German Hungarians SC of New York (1951) and Kutis SC of Missouri (1957).
Along with winning the Werner Fricker and US Amateur Cups, Christos lifted the Gerhard Mengel Over-30 Cup for three successive years: 2012, 2013 & 2014. They became the second club to win all three national championships, a feat accomplished previously by the St. Petersburg Kickers of Florida.