The Michigan Tigers, a local Ann Arbor soccer club, won the U-11 Michigan State Youth Soccer Association State Cup this past weekend. The MSYSA State Cup is the first level of competition in the US Youth Soccer National Championship Series.
Teams who win the State Cup earn the right to represent Michigan at regional and potentially national competitions. In the State Cup, each team plays three self-scheduled games. Teams then advance to the Round of 16, quarterfinals, semifinals and then eventually the finals.
The Michigan Tigers Futbol Club (MTFC) fields teams of all skill and experience levels and seeks to place each player on a team that best matches his/her playing ability. More than 600 players on 46 teams played for the club in 2017-2018
The Tigers headed into the State Cup tournament playing at a high level. Since August, the boys posted an impressive 31-3-1 record, including an undefeated season in Tier 1 Director’s Academy.
Initial-round State Cup matches were against Vardar 07, Michigan Revolution and Kingdom. The Tiger’s quarterfinal match in Saginaw was a 7-0 win over the Dearborn Jaguars 07. They then won the semifinals with a 3-0 win over Jaguars Green 07.
In a rematch against one of the top clubs in the state, Vardar 07, the Tigers scored a 3-1 win on Sunday, June 3 in Saginaw to claim the top prize.
“They played with heart and creativity throughout the game,” said Coach Zach Artinian. “After another great year, they deserve this achievement. Perhaps the most memorable component of the finals match was it was true collaborative effort. Every single player, starters and subs, equally contributed and gave 110 percent.”
Steph Zabinko, the team’s manager, gave a big assist to the head coach for turning this talented group of players into a team that was focused and played as one.
“Zach is amazing with the team,” she said. “No one else would have gotten them to this point. He finds the perfect combination of encouraging and holding them accountable for their play. All the boys respect him so much.”
The addition of a full-time goalie (Max Adox) helped secure many wins. Adox and the Tiger backline was a key factor in the State Cup run, allowing just one goal in the team’s final three games.
Other factors included the team’s comradery and work ethic.
“The boys are friends off the field with haircuts before big games, organizing their own summer work outs and doing other activities together,” Zabinko said.
The Tigers are headed to Denver this week (June 13-18) to compete in Premier SuperCopa tournament, an invitation-only tournament with the top teams from around the country.
The Tigers feature:
Henry Wong Foy
For more information on the MTFC, log onto http://www.michigantigersfc.com/mitigers/