ORLANDO, FLORIDA: From across the country, 142 boys teams (U14-U19) descended upon the famous ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex with hopes of booking their tickets to National League P.R.O., the next stage of national events set to take place in February or May, 2024.
Four exciting days of action kicked off on December 1st, with Rhode Island Surf being represented by its B2009 and B2008 Elite teams coached by Johan Forslof and Scott Graham, respectively.
"Playing at the USYS National Playoffs was another excellent opportunity for our players, coaches, and teams as a whole to test themselves against many of the top teams from across the country," said Graham. "We always seek to challenge our players and give them the experience of playing the game at a high level. It's a privilege to play at these top facilities and compete for a chance to progress to National League P.R.O. next year and ultimately aim to reach Nationals next summer."
In what was their first major outing at this level, B2009 Elite were faced with tough opposition from Tennessee, Oregon and Michigan. The weekend proved to be an excellent learning experience that would become apparent through the improvement they showed over the three-game stretch. After dropping the first two fixtures, there was still a chance for them to progress on the final day of the competition. Despite holding an early 2-0 advantage, they ultimately drew against a talented Michigan Futbol Academy side. With many positives to take away from the trip down South, they will return to USYS National League New England Conference play in the Spring.
After narrowly missing out on qualification to Nationals last season by-way of goal differential, B2008 Elite was seeking redemption on their travels to the Sunshine State. With two wins from their opening two games over Texas State Champions Aspire FC and President's Cup National Champions Apple Valley SC, the group was certainly delivering on that promise. On their final day of action, they suffered a 1-0 defeat to Kansas Rush, who currently sit at #20 in the national rankings. Despite the difficult result in their penultimate fixture, they will move on to play at the National League P.R.O. event that takes place in Oceanside, California in early May.
Those who qualified from this event will compete against the Elite 64 qualifiers in a singular competition to determine the National League's representatives at the National Championships that again take place in Orlando, Florida beginning on July 23rd, 2024.