CSL Indoor Tournament last three champions.
The 52nd edition of the CSL Indoor Tournament will take place at SuperDome Sports Facility in New Jersey on Sunday at 2:00 p.m.
As usual there will be three divisions, the Open Division and the Over-30 Division which will start at 2:00 p.m. and 2:40 p.m. respectively and play 7 vs 7 (6+GK); and the Premier Division, which will be played at 4:00 p.m. and play 6 vs. 6 (5+GK).
The first place prize money of the Premier Division amounts up to $750 while the Over-30 and Open division range up to $285 each.
The clubs that will participate in the Premier Division are:
Group G Group H
Sporting Astoria Vllaznimi SC
Doxa SC FC Ulqini
Cedar Stars Academy First Team G.R.F.C.
Manhattan Celtic Cedar Stars Academy Reserve Team
The top two teams will advance from each group. The two playoff games will start simultaneously at 7:30 p.m. and the final will kick off at 8:00 p.m.
Filled with ex college standouts and former pro players, Cedar Stars Academy are the favorites to win the elite division. In fact, the Stars are the reigning champions.
“Every team is going to play us hard so we got to take every game serious and defend our title,” CSA midfielder Sikele Sylvester said.
Cedar Stars Academy midfielder Sikele Sylvester.
The skillful midfielder is not a stranger to indoor soccer as he won various futsal tournaments in his career.
Another CSA player to keep an eye on is Christopher Katona. Katona leads the CSL’s top division in scoring, tallying 13 goals in nine games.
Some other notable players in Oliver Papraniku’s roster are ex-Paraguay Primera Division keeper Bryan Lopez, former Monmouth defender Hani Nasr, NE10 2017 Player of the Year Toni Soler and 2015 MLS Draftpick Matt Jeffrey.
Sylvester noted that winning the tournament will boost up the players’ self-belief going into the second half of the season, which will start the following week. “It [winning the indoor tournament] will give us good confidence and we got a couple new signings and we already have a great team.”
The only other club from the top flight that will participate in the Premier Division is Doxa SC. Meanwhile CSA’s second team is the only reserve team in the top indoor division.
Manhattan Celtic and 2016 winner Sporting Astoria will represent CSL’s second division in the winter tournament’s Premier Division.
Celtic was recently demoted to D2 after spending five seasons in the top flight and currently sits three points below first place in the North Region of the second division. Astoria, on the other end, is in eighth place.
Despite having three teams well above his side on paper, Sporting Astoria captain Damone Manning has a winning mentality.
“What’s in my mind as I and the club approach this upcoming tournament is the fact that we are winners, we are confident and we have the tools to get good results,” Manning said.
He later added: “Teams that has been demoted, promoted are currently not our concerns, we are currently busy getting organized, focused and putting in work before the tournament. Once we play good football and stick to the game plan, everything and anything is possible against any opponent.”
Sporting Astoria captain Damone Manning.
FC Ulqini is the lone team from Metro I in the Premier Division. Ulqini is on top of Metro I with a perfect 9-0-0 record.
The two remaining teams that will compete in the Premier Division are non-CSL clubs Vllaznimi SC and G.R.F.C. Vllanimi won the indoor tournament in 1988.
The teams that will compete for the Open Division title are:
Group A Group B
Woodbridge Hungaria Beyond FC First Team
Lansdowne Bhoys Reserve Hoboken FC
Lyndhurst FC NY Pancyprian Freedoms
FC Ulqini FC Japan
Group C Group D
Beyond FC Reserve Team Kelmendi FC
Richmond FC CPR Reds Reserve Team
NYPD Reserve Team Spring Valley
CPR Reds First Team NYPD Reserve Team
Reigning champions NY Greek Americans didn't join the tournament this year. The most decorated club in the Open Division is one-time Indoor Tournament champions and seven-time CSL titlists NY Pancryprian Freedoms.
As for the Over-30 Division, the participating teams will be:
Group E Group F
SC Eintracht NYPD FC
Hoboken FC CDI
Manhattan Kickers Megas Alexandros
Mr. Dennehy’s NY Pancyprian Freedoms
NY Greek Americans are the title holders. Sitting atop of the regular season Over-30 table, Manhattan Kickers are the favorites to bag this year’s Indoor Over-30 trophy.