Concorde Fire Elite (GA) took home their second national title at the 2014 US Youth Soccer National Championship, presented by the National Guard by defeating PDA Harkes (NJ) 1-0. By virtue of winning in the Under-19 Boys group, Concorde won the 79th James P McGuire Cup, the oldest trophy in youth sports. This marks the second national title Concorde has won after winning its first in 2011.
The two teams squared off just two days earlier on the final day of group play with the match ending with same 1-0 score. Both teams also narrowly missed out on the national finals last year by placing second in their respective groups at the 2013 US Youth Soccer Championships, but did not advance.
Fans off all ages turned out to watch the finals for the storied McGuire cup and while the match featured only one goal, there was no lack of drama.
“The difference was we scored first,” Concorde head coach, Steve Muccillo said. “Once we got that first goal we were able to batten down the hatchet and play defense.”
Khallil Stewart broke the scoreless stalemate in 57th minute by timing his run perfectly to find himself on the receiving end of an aerial through ball five yards behind any PDA defender. Stewart took a couple of touches as the PDA defenders rushed to get back, but their efforts were nulled after Stewart calmly flicked his shot past the oncoming PDA goalkeeper to give the Georgia squad a 1-0 lead. Concorde was able to hold on the 1-0 lead despite PDA’s best efforts, and secure the national title.
“We dodged some bullets at the end when they really started to bring a lot of players forward,” Muccillo said. “We were hanging on for dear life and luckily the clock ran out. I have never seen a clock run so slowly in my life.”
PDA, whose head coach John Murphy won the McGuire Cup twice as a player for the Union Lancers (NJ), in 1987 and 1988, used the duo of Alec Neumann (University of Pennsylvania) and Matthew Clausen (Haverford College) to create their most potent scoring threats towards the end of the match, but they were to no avail as Concorde recorded its first shutout of the tournament.
In the end it was Muccillo who was dunked by his players via the water cooler, and he made it clear that the history surrounding the McGuire Cup is not lost on him or his players.
“A lot of these players have been with the club for a long time,” Muccillo said. “They came together and bought into what we talked a lot about the history and being the first team from Georgia to win the McGuire Cup, and it is a big deal for all of them. What a great game.”
Finals matches in the Under14-18 boys and girls groups will take place tomorrow morning, July 27. All finals matches will be streamed and can be seen here: http://championships.usyouthsoccer.org/live.