For some of the top youth soccer teams in the state, the Final Four has arrived — and will be centered in Cortland.
A hefty field of 164 soccer squads who begin registration back in January has been trimmed to 63 teams heading into this weekend’s New York West State Cup Championship Series.
There will be 42 teams from Buffalo to Rochester, Corning, Syracuse and surrounding communities participating in age brackets Under-12 to Under-19 when the State Cup play begins on Friday. An additional 21 sides are slated to get underway on Saturday in this three-day event sponsored by the Cortland Regional Sports Council in partnership with the Cortland County Youth Soccer Association.
Winners of the New York State West State Championships advance to the United States Youth Soccer Regional Championships in Barboursville, West Virginia, from June 30 to July 5. Winners at the regional level advance to the national finals to be held at Toyota Soccer Complex in Frisco,Texas, July 25-31.
“The Cup Committee and Staff have worked diligently to prepare us for this weekend,” said Hugh Goodridge, the State Cup Tournament Director. “All of our hard work comes down to this Final Four event.”
The round robin format tournament will be played on fields at the SUNY Cortland Stadium Complex and adjoining grass fields, Cortland High’s Moiseichik Stadium and Barry School fields, Tompkins Cortland Community College fields in Dryden and Homer Central’s Butts Field.
Due to construction at SUNY Cortland, this year the event will also use Bennett Fields in McGraw for a few games.
This tournament had previously been played in Rochester but was awarded to Cortland in 2008 through a competitive bidding process, and has remained to some rave reviews.
“Local hotels, restaurants and stores will reap the benefits of having this many soccer players, coaches and spectators in town for this event, “ said Cortland Regional Sports Council executive director Machell Phelps. “We’re thrilled because once again we’ve shown that Cortland can be a viable venue for sports and recreational activities. People want to be here, and of course we’re happy to have them here.”
Each summer the United States Youth Soccer Association crowns a boys and girls national champion in age divisions starting at under 14 through under 19 brackets.
The National Championship Series provides approximately 185,000 players on 10,000 teams from 55 state associations the opportunity to showcase their soccer skills against the best competition in the nation, while emphasizing teamwork, discipline and fair play.
A form of the US Youth Soccer National Championships were first held in 1935 and, after adding age groups throughout the years, reached the present format in 2001.
For additional information on the NYSWYSA State Cup Final Four Championships visit www.nyswysa.org/statecup.