CCL PRO23 Champions

July 16, 2017 (Charlottesville, VA) — An exciting and eventful regular season of CCL PRO23 lead into climactic semifinal and championship matches played between the leagues best teams. Beach FC and Loudoun Soccer Club were crowned the Men and Women’s 2017 CCL PRO23 Champions respectively, after winning their final matches at Loudoun Soccer Park.

CCL CCLPRO23 Women’s Final:  Loudoun 4 vs. McLean 2
CCL CCLPRO23 Men’s Final:  Beach FC 1 vs. FC Frederick 0

The Women’s final between Loudoun and McLean was the first match of the day, played at 5pm. The Sun was still in full force, making the heat a condition both teams had to adjust for—substitutions were made often, and teams had to pick their moments to press carefully. McLean controlled much of the first half, and even missed a shot from inside the 6-yard box off a great cross from the left side, but Loudoun was smart, and very clinical in transition. In the 22nd minute, Loudoun scored the first goal of the match after a perfectly executed counter attack. McLean eventually drew a goal back in the 33rd minute, but then suffered an unfortunate handball in the 38th, giving Loudoun a penalty kick and eventual goal. Before half Loudoun scored once more, in the 42nd minute. Despite the 3-1 score line, McLean still looked very much like a team that could win the game. They controlled much of the half, and created as many—if not more—scoring chances than Loudoun. The second half began, and Loudoun started to look more comfortable in possession, and dominated most of the first 20 minutes. In the 77th minute, against the run of play, McLean pulled another goal back making it 3-2.  The last 15 minutes of the match were frantic, with Loudoun holding on to the lead, and McLean pressing for an equalizer. Loudoun held their defenses, and eventually put the nail in the coffin in the 93rd minute, making it 4-2, and giving them the 2017 Women’ CCL PRO23 title.

The Men’s final between Beach FC and FC Frederick was played later in the day, after the temperature had began to drop, and the heat was more bearable. FC Frederick was the underdog, but held an advantage in traveling a considerably shorter distance to get to Loudoun Soccer Park.  The first 15 minutes were very even, with both teams recording a pair of shots. In the 17th minute Beach FC had a string of passes and some combination play down the right side, which allowed them to get to the end line for a beautiful cross, and then punch in the first goal of the match. FC Frederick responded well and created a number of scoring chances, despite Beach having most of the ball. Right before the half ended, FC Frederick hit the crossbar on a shot from distance, and Beach escaped a potential swing in momentum.  The second half began, and it looked like the next goal would determine the match. Beach found it in the 68th minute after a perfectly well timed counterattack, making the score 2-0. The intensity of the game increased, with Beach holding onto the ball, but having difficulty keeping possession beyond their own half. In the 82nd minute, FC Frederick pulled a goal back to make it 2-1. The last 10 minutes were the most intense and exciting of the match, but Beach FC was determined to keep the rest of the game scoreless, and held onto their one goal lead, making them the 2017 Men’s CCL PRO23 Champions.

The second season of CCL PRO23 was a huge success. With more than double the number of teams from the 2016 season, we saw a dramatic increase in the competitive level, and the engagement and excitement from the clubs participating. We are eagerly awaiting the 2018 season, as we expect to see continued expansion and development. Thank you to all who participated and followed us along the way!

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