After the little black pellets settled Sunday night at Keva Sports Center in Middleton and BreakAway Sports Center in Madison, the President's Cup had crowned three first-time champions and seen one long-time participant add a new title to their collection.
Paradigm (Men's Open), CRUSA (Women's Open) and VSLT (Men's Over-30) each received the customary t-shirts as tournament champions for the first time, while the Forest City Kickers celebrated their eighth title at the event but first in the Men's Over-38 competition.
Madison's United's 22nd annual tournament featured 84 teams, 163 games and 882 goals – an average of 5.4 per game. It was the third consecutive year that there no repeat champions.
"It's a great tournament," Forest City Kickers goalkeeper Joe Hamblock said after his 21st consecutive President's Cup appearance. "It's physical, but it's fair. It's great competition and it's a great weekend."
Pool scoring format: Win – 6 points. Tie – 3 points. Goals – 1 point, maximum of 3 per game.
Sabastian Xiong (Monona Grove/UW-Green Bay) picked the perfect time to score his only goal of the weekend.
Xiong's left-footed strike with 3 minutes, 8 seconds left snapped a tie and Greg Dezell (Oconomowoc/Edgewood College) added a goal just before the final horn as Madison's Paradigm got past Touch Play Move 3-1.
"This is our same core group of guys, the same guys we have every year," said Paradigm manager Ross Fedenia (Middleton), whose team is a perennial contender outdoors in the Madison Soccer Association. "We've never made it past the semifinals – we've kind of been plagued by that. We've been there four times.
"This year just kind of felt special. We were playing well, we were scoring goals and we knew if we got to the finals we wouldn't let it slip past, because we know how hard it is to get there."
Goalkeeper Kyle Dillman (Madison La Follette) earned MVP honors for Paradigm, making several big saves in the final after suffering a cut to his face that led to a lengthy delay.
"I didn't know if he got a concussion," Fedenia said of Dillman. "We didn't know if he'd able to play or not, and he got up and played as good as he ever did – the whole tournament, throughout the playoffs, he played amazing for us.
Coincidentally, Fedenia thought that the delay caused by Dillman's injury ended up being beneficial to Paradigm.
"The intensity was really high. ... I was just hoping the guys would just stay focused," Fedenia said. "When Dillman got injured, there was a little bit of a break and I think that maybe allowed us to concentrate and focus a little bit more and come out and finish the game."
Devin Maier (Middleton) gave Paradigm the lead 1:15 before halftime, finishing off the rebound of a shot by Bryan Minogue, but Touch Play Move answered just 40 seconds later. Kyle McCrudden, one of many former UW players on Touch Play Move, fired in a free kick from the right side that deflected off a Paradigm defender and past Dillman.
The score remained the same until Xiong got the ball in the box, worked it on to his left foot, then ripped a shot that beat Max Jentsch (Hartland Arrowhead/UW) to the right post.
"He gave me enough space and I was like, 'I have to beat him,' and I just took a hit," said Xiong, one of the few players added to the Paradigm roster for the tournament. "I've been waiting all weekend for that goal."
It was the second meeting of the weekend between the teams – Paradigm won 7-2 in a pool opener Saturday morning. Touch Play Move rallied to eliminate defending champion Croatian Eagles 3-1 in the semifinals, getting goals from Ryan Buda (Stevens Point/UW), Chris Prince (UW) and Josh Thiermann (Stoughton/UW).
Sunday's playoff results
Final group standings
2015 President's Cup Men's Open champions: Paradigm
|8:30 a.m.||BreakAway 2||Galloping Ghosts||4||Rangers||3|
|9 a.m.||BreakAway 1||Fox in the Box||3||Madison United Lions||0|
|9 a.m.||BreakAway 2||Touch Play Move||2||Paradigm||7|
|9:30 a.m.||BreakAway 1||Madison United Tigers||2||Team Northwoods||3|
|9:30 a.m.||BreakAway 2||Kuykenstrong Dinos||6||Club Soccer UW||0|
|10 a.m.||BreakAway 1||Oshkosh Gold||4||Team Miller||0|
|10:30 a.m.||BreakAway 1||UW-Oshkosh Alumni||1||Madison United Blues||1|
|10:30 a.m.||BreakAway 2||Madison Fire||3||Girthworms||2|
|11 a.m.||BreakAway 1||KFBR 392||2||Madison Fire II||1|
|11 a.m.||BreakAway 2||QC Iowa||3||Hamm's Special Light||2|
|11:30 a.m.||BreakAway 1||Croatian Eagles||5||Oshkosh Black||2|
|11:30 a.m.||BreakAway 2||Red Dogs||10||Austin Galaxy FC||1|
|Noon||BreakAway 1||Hrvatski Orlovi||4||Wings SC||2|
|Noon||BreakAway 2||FC Magic||2||Polonia SC||6|
|12:30 p.m.||BreakAway 1||Cosmos FC||1||Fire SC||2|
|12:30 p.m.||BreakAway 2||Milwaukee Bavarians||3||Racine||0|
|1 p.m.||Keva 1||Fox in the Box||3||Oshkosh Gold||2|
|1 p.m.||Keva 2||Madison United Lions||3||Team Miller||2|
|1:30 p.m.||Keva 1||UW-Oshkosh Alumni||4||QC Iowa||4|
|1:30 p.m.||Keva 2||Madison United Blues||4||Hamm's Special Light||5|
|2 p.m.||Keva 1||Oshkosh Black||1||Galloping Ghosts||3|
|2 p.m.||Keva 2||Madison United Tigers||1||Red Dogs||7|
|2:30 p.m.||Keva 1||Croatian Eagles||2||Rangers||1|
|2:30 p.m.||Keva 2||Team Northwoods||2||Austin Galaxy FC||1|
|3 p.m.||Keva 1||FC Magic||1||Paradigm||3|
|3 p.m.||Keva 2||Girthworms||6||Wings SC||1|
|3:30 p.m.||Keva 1||Hrvatski Orlovi||1||Madison Fire||6|
|3:30 p.m.||Keva 2||Polonia SC||4||Touch Play Move||5|
|4 p.m.||Keva 1||Kuykenstrong Dinos||3||Milwaukee Bavarians||2|
|4 p.m.||Keva 2||Racine||2||Club Soccer UW||1|
|4:30 p.m.||Keva 1||Cosmos FC||1||KFBR 392||2|
|4:30 p.m.||Keva 2||Fire SC||3||Madison Fire II||1|
|8 a.m.||BreakAway 1||UW-Oshkosh Alumni||1||Hamm's Special Light||1|
|8 a.m.||BreakAway 2||Madison United Blues||2||QC Iowa||5|
|8:30 a.m.||BreakAway 1||Cosmos FC||3||Madison Fire II||0|
|8:30 a.m.||BreakAway 2||Fire SC||5||KFBR 392||1|
|9 a.m.||BreakAway 1||Hrvatski Orlovi||2||Girthworms||4|
|9 a.m.||BreakAway 2||Madison Fire||5||Wings SC||0|
|9:30 a.m.||BreakAway 1||Kuykenstrong Dinos||4||Racine||1|
|9:30 a.m.||BreakAway 2||Milwaukee Bavarians||6||Club Soccer UW||0|
|10 a.m.||BreakAway 1||Red Dogs||1||Team Northwoods||4|
|10 a.m.||BreakAway 2||Madison United Tigers||5||Austin Galaxy FC||1|
|10:30 a.m.||BreakAway 1||FC Magic||3||Touch Play Move||8|
|10:30 a.m.||BreakAway 2||Polonia SC||0||Paradigm||4|
|11 a.m.||BreakAway 1||Fox in the Box||1||Team Miller||0|
|11 a.m.||BreakAway 2||Madison United Lions||3||Oshkosh Gold||4|
|11:30 a.m.||Keva 1||Galloping Ghosts||1||Croatian Eagles||5|
|11:30 a.m.||Keva 2||Oshkosh Black||7||Rangers||2|
Nicole Sperl (Wauwatosa West) scored the equalizer before halftime, Keara Thompson provided the go-ahead goal early in the second half and Sarah Hagen (Appleton North) finished things off in the final minute as CRUSA came back to beat FC Barrington 3-1 in the final.
Eleven former UW-Milwaukee players – highlighted by Hagen, who plays for FC Kansas City in the National Women's Soccer League and earned two caps with the U.S. women's national team last year – and one Marquette alum made up the roster for CRUSA.
"We never get a chance to play together except for things like this, so we decided to put the team together," said manager Heather Roadhouse, who had played in the tournament previously with other former UWM teammates on the Megna Financial team.
"Some of the girls we didn't even play with. We recruited some good players," she said, turning her head to the left toward Hagen. Goalkeeper Natalie Fettinger was voted the team's MVP after posting two clean sheets on the weekend.
The team was sponsored by the Coulee Region United Soccer Association; former Panthers player Nicole Hirsch (Brookfield Central) is the coaching director for the La Crosse-area club, in addition to her role as an assistant for the UW-La Crosse women's team.
"They were totally on board and wanted to sponsor us," Hirsch said of the club. "Hopefully, I can get some of these girls up there to do some camps." Roadhouse added: "I think we did them proud."
FC Barrington needed to win its pool finale Sunday morning to qualify for the playoffs and was seeded 11th out of the 12 teams in the knockout round, but gave up just two goals in three wins en route to advancing to the final. The Illinois side went ahead through Shannon Walter's long-range goal in the opening 2 minutes.
"That team we lost to is good. I think we did well," FC Barrington manager Laura Markus said. "But we couldn't finish, made a few mistakes. They're a good team"
Sunday's playoff results
Final group standings
2015 President's Cup Women's Open champions: CRUSA
|9 a.m.||Keva 2||Antique Tap||1||Merilappi United||2|
|9:30 a.m.||Keva 2||The Lost City||1||UWW Alumni||5|
|10 a.m.||Keva 2||Badgerland Supply||9||OGT Strikers||0|
|10:30 a.m.||Keva 2||WSC Majors||0||Valley Magic||8|
|11 a.m.||Keva 1||Ten||7||UWO Alumni||2|
|11 a.m.||Keva 2||WSC MKE Wave||7||UWL||0|
|11:30 a.m.||Keva 1||99 Problems||2||FUKO||3|
|11:30 a.m.||Keva 2||WSC MKE United||0||FC Barrington||2|
|Noon||Keva 1||Madison United||6||Knights||0|
|Noon||Keva 2||Women's Soccer Chicago||2||Hasbeens||3|
|12:30 p.m.||Keva 1||Madison 56ers MPG||8||UW-Oshkosh||1|
|12:30 p.m.||Keva 2||Duhawks Alumni||0||CRUSA||5|
|3 p.m.||BreakAway 1||UWL||0||Antique Tap||6|
|3 p.m.||BreakAway 2||Merilappi United||2||WSC MKE Wave||1|
|3:30 p.m.||BreakAway 1||UWW Alumni||3||Ten||1|
|3:30 p.m.||BreakAway 2||UWO Alumni||4||The Lost City||0|
|4 p.m.||BreakAway 1||FC Barrington||0||Badgerland Supply||3|
|4 p.m.||BreakAway 2||OGT Strikers||1||WSC MKE United||5|
|4:30 p.m.||BreakAway 1||Valley Magic||0||99 Problems||0|
|4:30 p.m.||BreakAway 2||WSC Majors||0||FUKO||6|
|5 p.m.||BreakAway 1||Madison United||2||Women's Soccer Chicago||2|
|5 p.m.||BreakAway 2||Hasbeens||1||Knights||0|
|5:30 p.m.||BreakAway 1||CRUSA||3||Madison 56ers MPG||3|
|5:30 p.m.||BreakAway 2||UW-Oshkosh||0||Duhawks Alumni||4|
|8 a.m.||Keva 1||Duhawks Alumni||4||Madison 56ers MPG||8|
|8 a.m.||Keva 2||CRUSA||9||UW-Oshkosh||2|
|8:30 a.m.||Keva 1||Hasbeens||3||Madison United||7|
|8:30 a.m.||Keva 2||Knights||3||Women's Soccer Chicago||0|
|9 a.m.||Keva 1||FUKO||6||Valley Magic||2|
|9 a.m.||Keva 2||99 Problems||11||WSC Majors||0|
|9:30 a.m.||Keva 1||FC Barrington||10||OGT Strikers||0|
|9:30 a.m.||Keva 2||Badgerland Supply||4||WSC MKE United||0|
|10 a.m.||Keva 1||The Lost City||0||Ten||8|
|10 a.m.||Keva 2||UWW Alumni||2||UWO Alumni||1|
|10:30 a.m.||Keva 1||Merilappi United||3||UWL||1|
|10:30 a.m.||Keva 2||WSC MKE Wave||4||Antique Tap||1|
Jose Vasquez and Fernando Herrera scored and Alejandro Herrera posted the clean sheet as Twin Cities team VSLT FC blanked the Madison Fire 3-0 to claim the title in their President's Cup debut.
VSLT beat the Fire 4-3 on a last-minute goal in the teams' pool opener Saturday morning, then allowed just two goals in its final five matches with three shutouts.
"We expected them to play a little bit different than the way they did, but we just concentrated on our game, that was the goal for us," co-manager Alejandro Arresse said of the rematch against the Fire, who ousted defending champion Keeper Goals 2-0 in the semifinals. "We know what we're doing, and we wanted to keep doing it the same way."
VSLT stands for the Spanish phrase Viejos Son Los Trapos, which roughly translates to "the only thing that gets old is rags, not me." The club's crest includes the national flags of Argentina, El Salvador, Mexico, Peru and Uruguay, and the team plays outdoors in the Minnesota Amateur Soccer League.
"This team started last year. People say we are starting to get old," said co-manager Juan Fiz, an Argentine like Arresse who has played in the President's Cup with CKI Fire and also played in Madison in the National Premier Soccer League with the Minnesota Twin Stars and Minnesota Kings FC. "Our idea is to start to bring kids through, we know we're getting older."
Sunday's playoff results
Final group standings
2015 President's Cup Men's Over-30 champions: VSLT FC
|8 a.m.||BreakAway 1||The Odd One Out||4||Vilas Rangers FC Vipers||0|
|8 a.m.||BreakAway 2||Smoky's Red Rockets||3*||Chivas||0|
|8:30 a.m.||BreakAway 1||Vilas Rangers FC||0||Smoky's United||1|
|10 a.m.||BreakAway 2||Madison Fire||3||VSLT FC||4|
|1 p.m.||BreakAway 1||GOL FC||4||Beer FC||2|
|1 p.m.||BreakAway 2||Keeper Goals||2||Bottoms Academy||1|
|1:30 p.m.||BreakAway 1||Milwaukee Kickers SC||7||DC Menace||0|
|1:30 p.m.||BreakAway 2||Rock Vegas||3||Luigi's Pizza Menasha||0|
|5 p.m.||Keva 1||The Odd One Out||2||GOL FC||7|
|5 p.m.||Keva 2||Beer FC||4||Vilas Rangers FC Vipers||2|
|5:30 p.m.||Keva 1||Keeper Goals||3||Vilas Rangers FC||0|
|5:30 p.m.||Keva 2||Bottoms Academy||4||Smoky's United||1|
|6 p.m.||Keva 1||Smoky's Red Rockets||2||Milwaukee Kickers SC||4|
|6 p.m.||Keva 2||Chivas||0||DC Menace||3*|
|6:30 p.m.||Keva 1||Madison Fire||3||Rock Vegas||2|
|6:30 p.m.||Keva 2||Luigi's Pizza Menasha||1||VSLT FC||7|
|11:30 a.m.||BreakAway 1||GOL FC||9||Vilas Rangers FC Vipers||1|
|11:30 a.m.||BreakAway 2||Beer FC||2||The Odd One Out||5|
|Noon||BreakAway 1||Keeper Goals||6||Smoky's United||0|
|Noon||BreakAway 2||Bottoms Academy||2||Vilas Rangers||2|
|1:30 p.m.||BreakAway 1||Smoky's Red Rockets||4||DC Menace||0|
|1:30 p.m.||BreakAway 2||Milwaukee Kickers SC||3*||Chivas||0|
|2 p.m.||BreakAway 1||Madison Fire||5||Luigi's Pizza Menasha||0|
|2 p.m.||BreakAway 2||Rock Vegas||0||VSLT FC||3|
* Chivas disqualified from tournament for using an ineligible player. Matches ruled 3-0 forfeit losses.
Goals by Jim Ehrlich, Ryan Moore and Rillo Oliveira were just enough for the Forest City Kickers to hold off Hooligans 3-2 for their first Over-38 title.
Forest City, from Rockford, Ill., is one of three clubs to field teams in all 22 President's Cups and previously won the Men's Open in 1995 and '96 and Over-30 titles in 1998, 2004, '06, '09 and '10. Ehrlich, the team's manager, has played in every tournament, while Hamblock – named the team's MVP – missed only the first one.
"It's a whole team effort, obviously, but it is pretty exciting," said Hamblock, who's been in goal for every minute of every Forest City game at the event since 1995. "I don't think I've ever been the MVP of anything before. I had to wait until I was 53 to be the MVP of something.
"We'd never won Over-38, for whatever reason, and I was beginning to wonder if we ever would. I don't know how much more I've got in me. I just really wanted to win it before I retired."
Henry Aiyenero and Greg Boltz scored for the Hooligans, who ousted the defending champion Milwaukee Bavarians in the semifinals and were inches away from forcing overtime in the final. Drew Watson's blast from the left side clipped the underside of the goal and bounced out as the final horn sounded.
"That's the way the game is," said Hooligans manager Joel Adams, whose team has won six President's Cup titles – 1996, '99 and 2001 in Over-30, 2003 and '04 in what was then the Over-35 competition and in 2012 in Over-38.
"I felt like as the game went on, we got into our game and started to dominate. But sometimes the bounces don't go your way. It was a tough game, a good, hard game."
Sunday's playoff results
Final group standings
2015 President's Cup Men's Over-38 champions: Forest City Kickers
|9 a.m.||Keva 1||Madison United||2||Hooligans||8|
|9:30 a.m.||Keva 1||Forest City Kickers||5||Inter Madison||3|
|10 a.m.||Keva 1||Bares United||6||St. Charles Celtics||3|
|10:30 a.m.||Keva 1||Keeper Goals||7||OFL Chicago||2|
|2 p.m.||BreakAway 1||LG Celtics||3||Juventus||4|
|2 p.m.||BreakAway 2||FC Gherkin||1||Milwaukee Bavarians||5|
|2:30 p.m.||BreakAway 1||Keeper Goals||4||Inter Madison||3|
|2:30 p.m.||BreakAway 2||Forest City Kickers||5||OFL Chicago||0|
|6 p.m.||BreakAway 1||Milwaukee Bavarians||5||LG Celtics||1|
|6 p.m.||BreakAway 2||Madison United||0||Bares United||1|
|6:30 p.m.||BreakAway 1||FC Gherkin||5||Juventus||0|
|6:30 p.m.||BreakAway 2||Hooligans||2||St. Charles Celtics||1|
|11 a.m.||Keva 1||FC Gherkin||2||LG Celtics||1|
|11 a.m.||Keva 2||Milwaukee Bavarians||4||Juventus||1|
|12:30 p.m.||BreakAway 1||Madison United||3||St. Charles Celtics||4|
|12:30 p.m.||BreakAway 2||Bares United||3||Hooligans||1|
|1 p.m.||BreakAway 1||Forest City Kickers||3||Keeper Goals||0|
|1 p.m.||BreakAway 2||OFL Chicago||1||Inter Madison||12|