Every December, Georgia’s Norcross Soccer Academy hosts hundreds of high level teams in their much revered Nike Cup. The tournament, characterized by frost on the ground and thick jackets on the sidelines, attracts teams from across the United States. Playing in the U16 silver division, the FC Alliance 95 Boys Red claimed the title by winning three consecutive games against extremely tough opponents.
The win was sweet redemption for the talented team coached by Steven Townley. Coming into the tournament, they had lost five of their last seven games. However, sprinkle in some cold air and a lot of heart, and the boys found new life. The result was an amazing run which culminated in a 2-0 championship triumph over Atlanta powerhouse NASA Premier.
"What an awesome weekend we all had," Coach Townley said. "I was so proud of every single one of these young men and how they came together to win this tournament."
The tournament began with nondescript 1-1 tie against CSO from Florida. From there, the 95 Red reeled off three impressive wins, all by 2-0 scores. The first came just three hours after their first game, as the boys knocked off a local Alianza team. Next came CFC Red Star Premier, which was the last obstacle before the final.
Red Star Premier, a team who had defeated one of their club’s own U19 teams just two weeks earlier, proved a formidable opponent. However, Townley’s group showed enough grit and determination to advance.
The championship game was the icing on the cake. The 95 Red took the title, leaving their coach thoroughly impressed.
"We have had such a difficult season with so many challenges," Townley stated, "but my boys kept on trying and with such persistence and with such faith in each other, they came out this weekend and played their hearts out."