32 teams of 5-a-side soccer met in Chicago over two days last weekend in the World Soccer 5’s USA Qualifier event. The prize: an all-expenses paid trip to Dubai for the Football 5’s World Championship. The winning team ended up to be the home-side, Team Illinois.
Teams representing their state played three 20-minute matches on Saturday at Grand Sports Arena, home of the Chicago Mustangs Premier (PASL). At the end of group play the top two teams of each group advanced to the knockout Round of 16, which was played on Sunday live on ESPN3 at Sears Centre.
In the Round of 16 Illinois defeated Group E runner-up Team Louisiana 2-1. That was followed by a 4-3 win against New Hampshire and a berth into the semifinals. A matchup against Arizona (members of Arizona Impact) was next and it was a worthy of a championship. After playing to a 1-1 draw, the teams needed extra rounds of PK’s before Illinois prevailed 6-5.
The final was contested between Illinois and Group C runner-up Colorado. A 3-1 victory clinched a berth to the Football 5’s World Championship in Dubai on April 23-25. Team Illinois will represent the USA against 47 other national qualifiers from around the world.
Round of 16
- Arizona 4, Southern Cal 1
- Pennsylvania 3, Oregon 3 (PA win SO 4-2)
- Wisconsin 3, Delaware 2
- Colorado 4, Georgia 3
- New Hampshire 4, Tennessee 2
- Missouri 2, New Jersey 2 (MO win SO 2-1)
- Illinois 2, Louisiana 1
- Ohio 4, Michigan 3
- Arizona 5, Wisconsin 2
- Colorado 3, Pennsylvania 1
- Illinois 4, New Hampshire 3
- Missouri 3, Ohio 2
Semifinals & Final
- Illinois 1, Arizona 1 (IL win SO 6-5)
- Colorado 2, Missouri 1
- FINAL: Illinois 3, Colorado 1