The Hicksville American Soccer Club Boys U10 Xtreme Team finished on top for a second consecutive year in the tri-state Soccer Coliseum Metrostars Coliseum Cup Tournament, held on April 16 at Giants Stadium. Along the way to the finals the Xtreme beat teams from New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania. Adding to the excitement, the champions would get to walk on the field at halftime of the nationally televised professional match to receive acknowledgement.
This year's championship match had a larger significance than a mere final, since it pitted Hicksville against the team it beat last year to go to the finals, a tough Clifton Stallions from New Jersey. The road this year to the finals was challenging in and of itself. This year's final qualifying match saw the Xtreme down early 2-0 against the NASA United Superstars (a top-flight New Jersey team) who looked to be on the verge of sending Hicksville home. The Xtreme never gave up and pressed hard throughout the final minutes of the match to garner a tie at the end of regulation.
In the ensuing shoot-out, all the penalty shot practice the boys had performed came into play, providing Hicksville a dramatic win in the sudden-death shoot-out, sending Hicksville to the finals - and the superstars home. The next hurdle for the Xtreme was on the championship match day where the boys had to complete a very important local league game prior to leaving for Giants Stadium. This league game was important to the boys, because they had won the Nassau first division last year and wanted to repeat that accomplishment in the spring season. The league game was against a tough Oceanside team and proved quite a challenge. Eventually the boys beat Oceanside, but only had two hours remaining to get to the Meadowlands from Hicksville. Anyone trying to get to Giants Stadium on a Saturday afternoon knows what a challenge this is and, with a large amount of luck and a secret route, the boys arrived in time to play.
In the championship match, Clifton clearly wanted a payback for being sent home last year without going to Giants Stadium, and did everything in their power to beat Hicksville. The match saw each team with opportunities to score, but in the closing minutes of the game the score was still tied 0-0. Both sides were giving 110 percent effort and the exhaustion began to show. All the Hicksville players dug deep into their reserves and collectively pushed harder than they've done before. The effort had the desired effect when the right side defender sent a blistering shot from just over 25 yards away. As the line drive came on goal, the left side forward flashed in front of the goalie briefly enough to distract him and disrupt his concentration to allow the ball to hit the back of the net. The Hicksville team began to celebrate until they were reminded that two minutes still remained.
The Hicksville goal ignited a Clifton counter attack that required every ounce of stamina from the entire Hicksville team to counter. In a last ditch effort to tie the game up, Clifton sent every man on the attack. Training, skill, and luck came into play again for the Xtreme as a potentially scoring shot was deflected by a midfielder and ricocheted forward toward the Clifton goal. A foot race ensued that saw the Hicksville forward reach the ball first, only to be fouled viscously by a Clifton defender to prevent a one-on-one with his goalie. Unwilling to let the game end on this note, and angered by the foul, the Hicksville team pushed for an immediate restart. With only10 seconds remaining, and the count down being announced over the loud speakers, a blistering direct free kick was taken from 15 yards out that was dead-on target and found the net. The celebration began in earnest. Hicksville had achieved its objectives for the day, winning the league game and the Metrostars Cup (oddly enough by the same score as last year 2-0).
Capping the weekend, anyone lucky enough to be watching the following Metrostars game on MSG, got to see the boys walk on the field behind the commentators doing the halftime summary. Hopefully this won't be the last time some of these budding stars show up on national television. Locally, the story of the team success that day was picked up by News 12 who acknowledged the boys' accomplishments on air the following Sunday night during their weekend sports review.
The parents and coaches just hope that the players continue their hard work, devotion to the sport, the team, and each other so that it won't be too long before they are back in hunt for similar future opportunities.