Several members of the St. Louis Ambush recently competed in a one million dollar, winner-take-all, 7v7 national soccer tournament with three Ambush players taking home their share of the prize as the tournament champions. The Soccer Tournament (TST) was held June 1-4 at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, North Carolina and televised by NBC Sports.
Thirty-two teams participated in the tournament, which featured players from around the world. Sixty-eight players from the Major Arena Soccer League were among those competing. Prominent MASL players like Ian Bennett and Nick Perrera were among the league’s stars who participated. Ambush players Paulo Nasicmento, William Eskay and Marcel Berry played for the tournament winner, Newtown Pride FC. Ambush player Robert Kristo also participated in the tourney as a member of the Raleigh Rebels, a team that reached the quarterfinals.
Newtown Pride FC is a semi-professional team based in the Sandy Hook section of Newtown, Connecticut, and only the second National Amateur Championship to ever directly qualify for the U.S. Open Cup. Newtown Pride won Group A, which included the likes of Borussia Dortmund, and was one of 16 teams to advance to the knockout rounds. From there, Newtown defeated DMV Diplomats, Israeli Premier League team Hapoel Tel Aviv, and Sneaky Fox FC, which was organized by former MLS MVP Mike Magee and contained several notable former MLS players. In the semifinals, Newtown defeated Zala FFF, led by former U.S. international AJ DeLaGarza and MLS star Lee Nyguen.
In the championship game, Newtown Pride defeated SLC SC, a team composed of players from the Canadian Futsal National Team and League1 Ontario. Newtown controlled the game throughout, outshooting SLC 21-8. In Target Score Time, Kelvin Nunes scored the $1 million goal to complete the 2-0 victory.
The tournament included some innovations like the “Target Score Time” feature to end each game. After regulation play elapses, the untimed target score period commences with the first team reaching the target score claiming the win. The Target Score is one more goal than the leading team’s goal tally after two halves. During Target Score Time, if a winner is not determined in the first five minutes, one player from each team will come off the field resulting in a 6v6 game. Then, every incremental five minutes after that, another player will come off to result in 4v4, 3v3, 2v2, 1v1 until the Target Score is met to end the game and declare a winner.
Eskay said, “TST was one of the most enjoyable soccer experiences of my life. We were able to win the tournament in a dominant fashion and I think proved that there is huge amount of talent in the MASL and the St. Louis Ambush.”
In a tournament featuring soccer stars from around the world, the players of the Major Arena Soccer League made a good showing of their skill, talent and athleticism.
The Ambush will kick off their eleventh season this fall. Season tickets for the 2023-24 campaign are now on sale. Call the Ambush office at 636-477-6363 for more information. Fans can stay current on all Ambush news by visiting the team’s official website, stambush.com and on social media outlets.