Beer City Cup Three-Peat-ers
Blue Ion FC has joined the ranks of the 3-peat Champions by winning the Beer City Cup in Asheville this past Labor day. And if not for “the one that slipped thru our hands” 4 years ago, we would have had had a 5-peat this year.
Although it may seem like this tournament must be a cake walk with no real competition, it continues to be a challenge with teams continuing to get stronger, bringing players from College and semi-pro teams (and then admittedly some teams that couldn’t compete).
Beer City Cup is an 8v8 Tournament played on shorter (50 yard) fields, smaller goals, and 35 min halves. The winner of the Open Division (top league) wins $2500. This year there were 20 teams, 5 divisions of 4 teams each. The first day/round consisted of 3 games to determine who won each division to move on to the next round. As you can imagine, 3 games of high intensity, sprinting, soccer wears you down.. especially coming into that 3rd game.
Just like last year, they additionally had the top 2 teams overall getting a BYE for the quarter-final matches, while 2 other wildcard teams go in. This is a KEY accomplishment to gain in the first round, as it means: you have one less game to play to make it to the Finals, the team you will play in the Semi Finals will have already played a game and be worn down a bit, and we all get to sleep in.
Here’s a look at our road thru the 2014 Asheville Beer City Cup.
Blue Ion FC vs. Synergy United (Atlanta) – Win 11 – 0
Blue Ion FC vs. Parkway Brewing (Salem, VA) – Win 8 – 1
Blue Ion FC vs. Gate City FC (Greensboro) – Win 5 – 1
We finished Top of the league in points and earned our Quarter Final BYE on Sunday.
For the Semi-Finals we played Hammers Premiere (Washington DC). This was a tough game but we continued to chip away and gained a 3-0 lead, before yielding a goal towards the end of the game. Winning 3 -1 we were on to the Finals.
For the Finals, in front of hundreds of spectators, we played against the other top seeded team overall, KVARS FC from Asheville. The team held possession of the ball better than any of the other teams we faced. They were also extremely physical (read: dirty) and injured several of our us with bad tackles, elbows to the head, and knock downs. In the end, we held a strong 4-0 lead with 1 goal yielded near the end to win 4-1.
As has been our goal over the years, the $2500 winnings covers our hotel costs and entry fee, and leaves us with anywhere between $500-$700 to spend on our victory celebration that Sunday night. It proved to be another amazing weekend that all of our core team from past years, and new players picked up, will always remember as some of the best team soccer experiences we’ve had since starting to play this game as young kids.
How long can we keep it up? Next year will be another big challenge.