On Saturday August 31st, The Newark Liberty International Soccer Summit, finals were held with both England teams competing for the title. St Benedict hosted this soccer event, formerly known as the Newark International Classic. This year’s Summit was held at New Jersey Institute of Technology’s (NJIT) Lubetkin Field This year brought some of the worlds best soccer player under the age of 18. The tournament began on August 25th with awards presented on September 1st, and was sponsored by Capelli Sports.
The tournament itself has already drawn one of the strongest fields ever. St. Benedict’s, which has claimed the National Championship eight times, including successive national crowns in 2011 & ’12, they were joined by world-renowned Under-18 international teams from Italy, Israel, Colombia, and two sides from England. Italy sent its team from Inter Milan FC, while powerhouses Liverpool and Queens Park Rangers represent England. FUDDERCOL is coming stateside from Colombia and Israel is bringing its well-known Maccabi Haifa FC to Newark.
St. Benedict’s, Players Development Academy of Zarephath(NJ) and FC Greater BostonBolts (MA) were the U.S. delegates that round out the field for this year’s Soccer Summit. The Summit will began with an official banquet on August 26th before games get underway with Group played on Tuesday, Aug. 27-28. Additionally, a Youth Clinic was held on Aug. 29th for players from ages 6-through-15. The teams 1st rounds are drawn thru a lottery system. Preceding the final round ofGroup games in Aug. 30th. The Summit will wrap up on Saturday, Aug. 31st with three consolations games before the championship match is held.
Championship Match – between Queens Park Rangers FC 5, Liverpool FC 1: Queens Park Rangers coach by Steve Gallen took the field with one strategy, control the field, and force errors of Liverpool. Queens Park Rangers dominated the game throughout the every quarter. The English side got stronger
With each match played in the Summit and saved the best for last when it came out and put away the more-heralded club from England, Liverpool FC. QPR scored five minutes apart midway through the first half before putting the game away with another pair of scores within two minutes of each other to lift the Rangers to the Summit title. QPR took a 2-0 lead off a pair of giveaways by Liverpool’s defense in the first half – the first goal was scored by Olamide Shodipo after he intercepted a ball originally destined for the Liverpool goalkeeper and the second was off a 25-yard blast by Aaron Mitchell, who stepped in front of a bad square pass in the defensive end. Liverpool, the only team to win all three games during Group play, looked as though it would make a game of it when Sergi Canos scored just before the half to cut its deficit to 2-1. But QPR ended any suspense in the 53rd and 55th minutes, respectively, when Reece Grego-Cox and Mitchell connected. Cox knocked in a curler inside the far right post from just off the top, left-side of the penalty area, while Mitchell converted his fifth goal of the tournament after being left wide open as he crashed the box. QPR’s Andreas Komodikis capped the second half explosion with a 77th-minute goal. Mitchell wound up winning the Golden Boot Award for scoring the most goals of the tournament. This was an amazing game to watch such talent under the age of 18.
3rd-Place Consolation — FC Inter Milan 4, Maccabi Haifa 2: This game was action filled and competitive from the start, with a larger build Milan team taking of the Israeli team. But what the Haifa team loss in height, was compensated in quickness and heart. After blowing a two-goal lead, Inter Milan didn’t lose its composure and scored twice over the final 12 minutes to secure third-place in the Summit’s penultimate game. Matteo Colombini scored on a cross through the goal-mouth to snap a 2-2 standoff in the 78th minute before Federico Bonazzoli sealed the victory for the Italians with his second goal of the match off a breakaway in the waning minutes. Bonazzoli gave Inter a 1-0 lead in the 26th minute on a nice cross by Matteo Cotali.
A defensive mishap by Maccabi led to an open net goal by Inter’s Samuel Appiah in the 51st minute, but the Israeli’s cut the lead in half a minute later when Amit Zenati connected from in close. Or Eiloz squared the match at 2-2 for Maccabi with a strike on a direct kick that found its mark from 30 yards out in the 57th minute before Inter Milan took over in the final dozen minutes.
5th-Place Consolation — Players Development Academy (PDA) 2, St. Benedict’s 1: The games most watch by the local audience, was somewhat disappointing. St Benedict squad is talented, capable and physical, but it was not the same team of 2012. An 81st minute goal by Jose Mederos was a little too late for St. Benedict’s to overcome some serious defensive lapses early and forced coach Jim Wandling’s club to have to settle for a not-so-rewarding 6th place finish in the Summit
The Gray Bees, which played well in spurts during the first three games of the tournament and held its head high coming into a winnable fourth contest, left the field discouraged after falling behind by two goals after a lackluster first half in which PDA’s Jared Stroud and Brian White scored goals for the New Jersey team. Over kick plagued the teams, and coordination with team members missed the last opportunity 2 minutes remaining to score and tie the game. SBP also left too many chances on the field, including missing from point-blank range a couple times and hitting a crossbar on another quality opportunity.
Overall what an amazing tournament for the $10 price of admission (went to support the schools soccer programs), this was a sport agent supermarket, to see this level of global talent in the Worlds most populous sports.
There were a large amount of young soccer participants between the ages of 4-7, which will be the next generation of soccer stars.
I am hoping that next year line up includes some of the great talent coming from South America, and believe that more promotions would have drawn a larger audience to such a fantastic event. I am also confident that Saint Benedict Prep, we be back in the fight for another title match next year.