Congrats to all who participated in the largest Beer City Cup to date! And even more congrats to our finalists and ,of course, especially to our Champions!
The 2016 edition featured 3 Champs from the Atlanta area, 1 from Florida, 1 from Asheville, NC, 1 from the Triad in NC.
In the Men’s Open Division, 4 time consecutive champ Blue Ion was ousted in the quarterfinals by newcomers T-Puppies (Wofford’s finest alums). T-Puppies then made a run to the finals after squeaking by perennial contender GO United in kicks in the semis. First time participants, Florida Kickers and T-Puppies then put on a Beer City Cup classic in front of a record crowd nearing 1000.
In a game that had 4 lead changes and the T-Puppies leading late due to some fantastic keeper heroics the Kickers wouldn’t be denied. With only 3 minutes remaining, the Kickers center back uncorked the laser of all lasers from 30+ yards which sizzled past the red hot T-Puppies keeper. The crowd erupted and the game was level. The Kickers then rode the momentum to the game winning set piece goal with only a minute remaining. Truly a game to remember.
In the Coed final the Frienemies of Asheville leapt to a 4-0 lead and held off the “always in the hunt for the Cup” Realcoholics (Knoxville, TN). The Realcoholics scored twice late to creep back in to it, but ran out of time to mount a serious comeback. This is the second Beer City Cup title for the Frienemies, who bounced back impressively from not even making it out of group play in 2015. Two time defending champ Easy Riders (Raleigh) made another solid run again, losing in the semis to Realcoholics 4-3. Cliffhanger’s of Asheville made a deep run for the 2nd straight year, but couldn’t find their way past the gelling Frienemies in the end.
In the Over 30 Division, Triad United finally broke through to win the Beer City Cup for the first time. After losing in the finals in 2015, Triad knocked out current USASA National Champ Phoenix FC 5-2 in the semis to advance to the finals. Triad looked impressive in their 6-3 defeat of Wanderers FC (Winston-Salem). The Wanderers held their own for the first 20 minutes as the match was tied 2-2, but Triad’s quality depth proved too much over the 60 minutes. Defending and 3 time O-30 champ the Asheville Wizards were in contention but lost in penalties to the Wanderers in the semis.
In the Over 40 Division, the Roswell Rovers got their 2nd Beer City Cup title. Winners in 2013, the Rovers needed an improbable comeback to overcome the Nashville Rowdies. The Rowdies led 3-1 in the 2nd half, but a penalty kick and a sweetly bent free kick sent the match into extra time. The Rovers capitalized on their momentum and scored a cracker of a golden goal winner halfway into extra time to win 4-3. Both defending champion Colortones and 2015 runner up Asheville Hotspurs were ousted in the quarterfinals. Two first time entrants rounded out the semifinalists in Sergio FC (Jacksonville, FL) and Highlanders FC of Georgia.
In the Over 50 Division, Atlanta based Minutemen edged defending champs Hammers, also of Atlanta, 1-0. The Minutemen prevented the Hammers club from sweeping the Over 50 & Over 55 Divisions. In the Over 55 Division the Hammers downed Curmudgeons FC 4-3.