City youth soccer teams faced off in Brooklyn for Mayor’s Cup
Who is the “Best in the City?” That is the question that the second annual NYC Mayor’s Cup for boys and girls high school soccer answered on November 17 at Poly Prep Country Day School, where the top all-stars from the Public Schools Athletic League (PSAL), the Catholic High School Athletic Association (CHSAA) and independent schools competed for top honors during the weekend-long tournament.
“It’s a great opportunity for the players from all three leagues to be able to play in front of a big crowd and have the media come and get the exposure to prove they are the best in the city,” said Jeffrey Mohl, vice president, sports marketing, of NYCgo. “As the tournament grows, the want to be a part of this actually means something and every year, it gets a little bigger.”
On hand were New York Red Bulls players, winger Lloyd Sam and midfielder Michael Bustamante of Major League Soccer, as well as Red Bull Street teammates Victor Miranda and David Pulecio who provided some halftime festivities.
Last year’s event was cancelled in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy. On the field this year, the PSAL continued its dominance in the Mayor’s Cup, with the Catholic school teams eliminated on Saturday. On the girls’ side, on Sunday, the PSAL won a tight match against the independent schools, 2-1.
The game was scoreless for the majority of the first half. At the 31st minute, midfielder Alison Dowdle from L.I.C. scored the first goal, giving PSAL a 1-0 lead going into halftime. Hanna Kaeser, a forward from Fieldston, tied the match for the independent school girls in the second half. The match remained tied until the 73-minute mark when forward Kelly Bouzi from Cardozo scored the game-winning goal. Bouzi was named MVP.
Head coach of the PSAL Girls, Annie Eckstein, Bronx Science head coach, was pleased with the team gelling in such a short amount of time. “Everyone went 100 percent. They played for each other. I think for a team where the girls don’t know each other and coming together as a team is difficult. I think they did a fantastic job,” she said.
On the boys’ end, it was the PSAL besting the independent boys, also to a score of 2-1. The match was heavily defensive-oriented. With 25 minutes remaining in the second half, Justin Elnahrawy, midfielder/forward from Susan Wagner, broke the scoreless tie.
But, the lead was short-lived as Ange Beremwoudougou of United Nations International School tied it at 1. With just three minutes remaining until possible sudden death overtime, Amara Sesay of Martin Luther kicked the game-winning shot and was named MVP. “It means a lot. I’m happy for (the award),” said Sesay.
All the teams that participated Sunday were awarded medals by the Red Bulls players. And the PSAL teams were awarded with the championship trophies. In the two years, the PSAL soccer teams (both boys and girls) are undefeated.
The NYC Mayor’s Cup hosts 11 different sports. It also allows college coaches to search for prospective players. “Kids that don’t have an opportunity to play in front of these coaches now do. We’ve had a fair amount of kids get college scholarships by our events,” added Mohl.
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