The Arundel Soccer Association Premier 98s have had a strong winter campaign as they prepare to enter National Capital Soccer League Division 2 play this spring. In February, the Premier 98s captured the Presidents’ Day Cup and Showcase Tournament championship in Williamsburg, Virginia.
The tournament drew eight of the top U14 boys’ soccer teams from the mid-Atlantic region. In group play, the ASA boys downed the Richmond Magic 1-0 in the opener before routing the Churchland Dawgs 5-2 in their second match. Having already qualified for the championship game, the Premier 98s played to a 0-0 draw in their third group-stage game against the Penn Legacy of Landisville, Pennsylvania.
In the final, the ASA Premier 98s battled to a 0-0 draw with Frederick Hotspur before taking the title on penalty kicks.
In the tournament the Premier 98s outscored the opposition 6-2 and received solid play from the back line and from goalkeeper Hunter Davis (three shutouts).
“We are continuously improving and playing to our strengths,” said Head Coach Mike Banach. “This group has learned how to win close games. We kept our shape compact and defense tight throughout the tournament.”
The Premier 98s followed the President’s Day Cup with a strong showing at the Arlington Spring Invitational during the first weekend in March. Premier went 2-1, knocking off highly-ranked Thunder Soccer Club of Columbia 3-2 and trouncing McLean Celtic Green, 4-0. The Premier 98s’ only loss came by a score of 1-0 to the number-one-ranked U14 team in the country, the Arlington Attack Royals.
Over the weekend of March 9-10, the Premier 98s competed in the Annandale Premier Cup in Annandale, Virginia. They notched a 3-1 win over a United States Soccer Federation team from New Jersey and an impressive 1-1 draw against Montgomery County’s FC CASA River Plate, the number-eight ranked team in the state.
Banach says the maturation of the team has been on full display over the past year, in which Premier has posted a 31-13-9 overall record.
“Our soccer intelligence is growing and we are becoming a better tactical team,” said Banach. “The boys are learning how to adjust to different game situations. There are going to be many good area high school players that come from this group.”
Now ranked in the top 100 in the nation (87th overall per gotsoccer.com) and number-10 in the state of Maryland, the 98s are preparing for the NCSL Division 2 spring season.
The ASA Premier 98s are Hunter Davis, Matthew Hunt, Raymond Lewis, Colin Hall, Samir Jemli, Nikolaj Griisser, Nick Mulju, Tommy Magorka, Mason Reinhart, Adeyinka Olagbegi, Portance Nganamodei, Zack Roberts, Michael Scalza, Peter Roberts, Samuel Bulla, Shawn Lewis and Joe Velazquez. They are coached by Mike Banach.