Cougar Soccer Club teams enjoy successful season

Boys U9 Elite celebrate their flight championship.

MAPLEWOOD/SOUTH ORANGE — The Cougar Soccer Club teams enjoyed a successful fall season.

The U9 Elite boys won their fall Northern Counties Soccer Association Flight with a 8-1-1 record, thanks to the stingiest defense in the flight. The boys gave up just 13 goals all season.

A tight 2-1 win over River Dell in the season finale locked up the championship. Langston Grant scored both goals in the title-clinching win.

They closed out the season with a second-place finish in the NRSA Harvest Fest Tournament, going 1-0-2 and tying the first-place team. It was a great first season of travel soccer for this team and they are training hard this winter for an even greater challenge in the spring.

Team members included Eniafe Adejemilua, Benjamin Bermudez, Pierce Brady, Simeon Fintzen, Langston Grant, Grayson Hastings, Colby James, Sean McLaughlin, Holden Mell, Grayson Sarsfeld, Finn Slattery and Sam Spector. 

The coaches were Stephen McLaughlin and Dave Fintzen. Erick Tapia was the professional trainer. 

Several other Cougar Soccer Club teams finished second or third this fall.

Second-place teams:

  • Boys U10 Elite (5-2-3)
  • Girls U10 Elite (8-1-1)
  • Boys U11 Elite (6-0-4)
  • Boys U13 Elite (8-1-1)

Third-place teams:

  • Boys U12 Elite (6-4-1)
  • Girls U12 Elite (3-6-1)

The Girls U10 Elite team rallied to take a winner-takes-all shootout against Lyndhurst in the first round of the Northern Counties Cup, while the Girls U12 Elite picked up a win and a tie against Bloomfield to also advance.

Girls U10 Elite

The Northern Counties Cup is a year-long tournament, matching teams of various levels in the Northern Counties Soccer Association, one of the largest US Club Soccer leagues in the country. The first round consists of a home-and-home series and is followed by single-elimination games until the champion is crowned at Ramapo College in June.

The Girls U10 Elite fell in their first game to Lyndhurst, 1-0, at home, before they picked up a 4-1 victory on the road in game 2. That set up a shootout to determine who would advance to the semifinals, and CSC won, 5-4. The girls will next face Rutherford in the semifinals in the spring.

Girls U10 Elite is made up of Claudia Roskin, Dylan Silver, Eleanor Lombardi, Emma Clammer, Georgia Dorazio, Isabella Trujillo, Louisa Edmonson, Lydia Colby, Maeve Bigelow, Simran Bachhawat and Sofi Jugovic. The team is coached by Nick Lombardi, Jamie Silver and Ritu Pancoly. The trainer is Eric Liberato.

The Girls U12 Elite team advanced past Bloomfield with a 2-1 win at home, before holding on for a 0-0 tie on the road to win the series. Bloomfield has been a tough rivalry for the U12 girls over the last two years – with three games ending in a tie and one win for Bloomfield, before this season.

Girls U12 Elite celebrates in the mud at Floods Hill.

The Cougars finally broke through in the first game of the Cup with goals from Amelia Connolly and Isabelle Youngren, along with tight defense, led by goalkeepers Lena Squilla and Connolly. But Bloomfield wasn’t done yet – if they won game 2, it would force a shootout.

In game 2, the Cougar girls picked the right moment for their only shutout of the fall. Eleanor Winkfield led the defense at center back, while Stella May, Patience Lorre, Olivia  Feigenbaum, Rain Ruditz and Fiona Lowe shut down Bloomfield’s long runs. Beatrix Marotta and Squilla kept a clean sheet in goal.

The team next faces the Warriors in the semifinals in the spring.

Girls U12 Elite is made up of Lila Ackerson, Amelia Connolly, Olivia Feigenbaum, Alexia Gonzalez, Talia Levine, Patience Lorre, Fiona Lowe, Beatrix Marotta, Stella May, Esme Navarro, Ava Robinson, Rain Ruditz, Rayah Ryan, Lena Squilla, Eleanor Winfield and Isabelle Youngren. 

The team is coached by Mike Connolly and Bruno Navarro, with Ally Daly as the trainer.

The Girls U10 Elite and Girls U12 Elite are both seeking to be the second Cougar team to ever win the Northern Counties Cup. The 2011 Boys Elite were the first Cougar team to win the Cup in 2022.

Photos Courtesy of Mike Connolly