February 7, 2020 - Miami, FL - As the players filed in to their hotel late on Thursday night, Technical Director Paul Ngend brings the players in to the first team talk of many over the weekend. The message is clear - the team is here for one reason and one reason only: to bring a trophy home to Maryland.
This is a sentiment held by each and every player and staff member as they were talking at the airport in Baltimore, on the flight down to Miami, and at breakfast early Friday morning. There is a singular focus within the club and no matter who you ask - from President down to player - the answer remains the same.
When asked about the focus of the weekend, Head Coach Phil Nana got straight to the pointL "We have one focus. That's it. To win a National Championship. For us that means our season was successful. When we started this season, we didn't see anything else then a National Championship and that's a barometer for our success."
As much as the focus is uniform across the team, this is still a new experience for many of the players and staff members. With potentially two games in two days to bring home a National Championship, it's a situation that not many within the club have been a part of. Assistant Technical Director Tunde Banjo gave some insight into how the staff is approaching this weekend: "We are trying to be as professional as we can. For all of us it's our first time at Final Four so it's a new experience for everyone. It's about keeping everyone level headed."
It seems that the players have gotten the message, because midfielder Alex Kao echoed a lot of the staff's sentiments: "We are approaching [this weekend] with a positive mindset. We just need to go out and execute the things we've been working on all year. We also need to us use our past experiences [like losing in the Quarterfinal in the Spring] to help and approach everything with the right attitude."
The is a quiet optimism about this weekend throughout the club but everyone knows that teams that get this far get there for a reason. There are no easy games at this point in the season and our opponent Soda City has put together an impressive season. As captain Willy Kapawa puts it "we are feeling excited. We're really excited to get these games underway and get things done the way we should".
This weekend should be one filled with great soccer with four good teams battling it out for one trophy. Fans across the country and world can watch all three games this weekend as the United Premier Soccer League will deliver its first ever Spanish-language broadcasts on MyCujoo.tv.
In coordination with MyCujoo.tv, the UPSL's Official Live-Streaming Partner, and in collaboration with Veter Media, the UPSL will provide commentary in both Spanish and English. This UPSL National Semifinal broadcast marks the first dual-language broadcast in the league's 10-year history, and will be the first of three games on the weekend with commentary in both Spanish and English.
The links for all three games (in both languages) are below.
WINDS FC vs. FORO SC -
SODA CITY FC vs MARYLAND BOBCATS FC -
UPSL National Final -
We hope we can make Maryland and all of our fans proud, and it all kicks off tomorrow, February 8th at 8pm EST.