Westfield, Indiana – Monday July 24th. Seacoast United Maine Boys 1998/99 NPL team secured a second national title for the club Monday after beating Eastern FC Spurs 98/99 NPL (New York East) 3-1 in the title game at the US Club National Championships. This victory followed up on a successful campaign for our U17 boys team in Colorado last July.
This team, led by St Joseph College head coach Adrian Dubois, won all four games enroute to the title scoring 9 goals and giving up just 2.
They opened up Friday evening playing against One7 academy from North Carolina at the spectacular Grand Park complex in sweltering heat and stifling humidity.
Despite finding themselves a goal behind after just three minutes, goals by Tyler Welch (Bangor Christian) and Michael Tahiru (Hebron Academy) had them in the lead before halftime, and that score stood until the final whistle.
Saturday also proved to be hot and humid as they took to the field at 3:00pm against Elite SC Boys Premier from Illinois. This time they started with much more authority and Tyler Welch soon had them in front. They continued to pile on the pressure and a second and spectacular goal from Welch put them well in control at the halftime break.
Little changed after the restart, and their dominance was further rewarded 10 minutes from the end when Michael Tahiru scored his second of the tournament.
Their final group game Sunday was against CSA Impact from Ohio. The team again got off to a flying start when Welch netted his fourth goal of the tournament just 90 seconds in. However, that lone goal would be the only one of a tough game against a formidable opponent.
Regardless, it was enough to leave the Seacoast team with a perfect 3-0 record and it earned them a place in Mondays Championship match against Eastern FC, the New York East state cup champions from Westchester.
The final kicked off in front of a good crown of partisan spectators representing both teams and only three minutes after the kick off Eastern was ahead and celebrated wildly.
However, they had not yet seen the best of the confident Maine team, and just four minutes later it was Tyler Welch who again stepped up following a poor clearance from the New York keeper. Welch pounced on the mistake, controlled the ball smoothly thirty yards from goal, and accelerated away from the defenders before powering home a shot into the roof of the net.
In the 45th minute, right before the interval, Michael Tahiru put Seacoast ahead for good when he tapped home from close range for his third goal of the championships.
Eastern gave a good account of themselves and battled hard in the second half, but they could not find a way past Chris Franklin (Scarborough HS) in the Seacoast net.
The game was finally settled once and for all after a great team goal in which several players combined before Travis Nadeau (Mount Ararat HS) selflessly gave the ball to Tahiru in the center of the goal. He in turn passed to Welch who wrapped up the game with a third and final goal (his sixth of the tournament), setting off scenes of jubilation among the Seacoast players and fans.
While Welch and Tahiru netted all 9 goals between them, this was absolutely a magnificent team effort and each one of the 16-man squad made significant and valuable contributions towards the title.
Coach Dubois’ team reached the Nationals by winning the State final on penalty kicks after double overtime and 110 minutes failed to produce a decisive goal against the 2016 National Champion Seacoast Maine team coached by Paul Cameron.
That result denied the Cameron team the chance to defend their title but it is an amazing testament to the club that we now have two different national champions in the same age group, something that has likely never been done before in the country.
Tyler Welch was the only player to play in the finals for both teams and he tallied no fewer than 13 goals in the two tournaments, a quite remarkable feat!
However, as previously mentioned, this was 100% a team effort and our congratulations and thanks go out to all 16 players who made the trip, including four of our 2000 boys who were promoted to the squad and who did a magnificent job.
The full group of players was:
There were 5 other Seacoast United Maine teams participating in the finals, three teams of each gender and our heartfelt congratulations go out to each one of them:
The 2002 boys coached by Gil Aguirre & Gary Giffard. Eliminated after group play.
The 2003 boys coached by Jim Hopkins. Defeated in the national championship game after double overtime v North Central United from Illinois.
The 2004 girls team coached by Andrew Pelletier. Eliminated after group play.
The 2003 girls team coached by Steve Twombly. Eliminated after group play.
The 2000 Girls team coached by Branden Noltkamper. Eliminated after group play.