It’s the most wonderful time of the year. With the winter settling in and the end of the year quickly approaching, everyone knows that that only means one thing….the lower league soccer winter break for leagues that play on a traditional international calendar timeframe! And of course everyone knows that those leagues locally are the United Soccer League of Pennsylvania (USLPA) and the Eastern Premier Soccer League (EPSL). So let’s take a look back at the fall portion of both USLPA and EPSL as they rest up during the aforementioned break before continuing their seasons come spring ’24:
At the half way point for the Men’s Majors division in USLPA, defending champion West Chester United currently sit top of the table with an impressive 7-0-0 record with 50 goals for and only 6 goals allowed. Colonial SC are looking to dethrone the defending champs and are currently in second place.
- Ridge Robinson of West Chester United is currently leading the Golden Boot race with 12 goals. Jacob Gier also of West Chester and John Underwood of Colonial SC are right on the heels with 11 goals each.
In addition to the regular season, USLPA teams also competed in the Eastern Pennsylvania Soccer Association (EPSA) Amateur Cup as well as qualifying rounds for the U.S. Open Cup.
- Vereinigung Erzgebirge survived the 4 round gauntlet that is U.S. Open Cup qualifying to be one of 11 amateur teams from across the country to qualify for the 2024 edition of the famed tournament. Read more about their qualification here: VE wins on PKs to qualify for 2024 U.S. Open Cup
- West Chester United continued their undefeated league play into the EPSA Robert M. O’Neill Amateur Cup with a perfect 5-0-0 record to win the state cup for the third consecutive year. West Chester had 34 goals for and zero goals allowed in their dominating cup run.
- West Chester have also already qualified for the 2024 U.S. Open Cup since they made the semi-finals of the National Premier Soccer League (NPSL) and therefore received an automatic berth to the big dance.
At the half way point in the Women’s Majors division in USLPA, the Ukrainian Nationals sit atop the table. Their 3-2 win over last year’s champion Huntingdon Valley Pride is the difference as of right now. The return fixture on 4/7 at Ukrainian Nationals will go a long way in deciding the title. Huntingdon Valley Pride has the better goal differential and the league’s current leading scorer in Bridgette Alexander with 10 goals.
At the halfway point of the EPSL Delaware River Conference, newcomers Alloy Soccer Club (Lancaster, PA) sit top of the league by 3 points. Philadelphia Heritage, Philadelphia SC, and Kensington SC make up the other three playoff spots with Kensington sneaking in ahead of Oaklyn United on Head-to-Head. The second promoted team, Vidas Elite, sits in 6th place above Real Central NJ and their sister club Inter Vidas. Unfortunately, Salone FC will not be returning for the Spring portion of the season and their results will be voided over the winter break, so this may change the standings going into the Spring.
In addition to the regular season, EPSL teams competed in state cups as well as qualifying rounds for the U.S. Open Cup.
-U.S. Open Cup
- Philadelphia Heritage, Kensington SC, and Real Central NJ made U.S. Open Cup Qualifying appearances this fall.
- Philadelphia Heritage and Real Central NJ both made it to the Second Qualifying Round before losing to Vereinigung Erzgebirge and United German Hungarians respectively.
- Philadelphia SC, Alloy SC, Inter Vidas, Kensington SC, Salone FC and Vidas Elite all entered the EPSA Robert M. O’Neill Amateur Cup. Philadelphia SC came the closest to qualifying from the group stage to the semifinals but lost a close one on the final round robin to miss a spot in the semifinals.
- New Jersey
- Real Central NJ is the lone representative in the NJ Cups. They advanced far in the Amateur Cup before losing to EPSL Metropolitan Conference club Hoboken FC and still have a match to play in the NJ Open Cup.
-Luka Gogidze (Phila Heritage) – 7
-Noah Blodget (Kensington SC) – 7
-Clovis Kabre (Alloy SC) – 5
-Josiah Ramirez (Alloy SC) – 9
-Luka Gogidze (Phila Heritage) – 4
-Jacob Weaver (Phila SC) – 3
GK: Christian Sorteburg (Inter Vidas)
FB: Nick Dudek (Phila Heritage)
CB: Jacob Weaver (Phila SC)
CB: Jason Watson (Kensington)
FB: Dom Francis (Alloy)
DM: Christian Weiand (Alloy)
CM: Josiah Ramirez (Alloy)
CM: Dan Tittelmeyer (Oaklyn)
W: Luka Gogidze (Phila Heritage)
W: Pedro Barbosa (Phila SC)
ST: Noah Blodget (Kensington)
Thanks for reading along in 2023 in the vast but fun world of lower league soccer. Happy soccer winter break to all.