Two teams dominated play for an entire season in the National Futsal Premier League this winter. Grand Rapids Olé finished on top with a 11-1-0 record while Joy Athletic Club (10-2-0) were just behind. The two teams met in the playoff finale Saturday night in Grand Rapids with the host team coming out on top. Grand Rapids Olé defeated Joy AC 7-3 to be crowned champions of NFPL.
Chris Mendez scored early in the match to give Grand Rapids the lead, one they would not give up. Lito Esquivel made it 2-0 before Joy Athletic made their mark.
Following a timeout by the visitors play began to turn in favor of Joy AC. The team controlled much of the rest of the first half and were rewarded when Dimitri Nair scored with seven minutes remaining.https://www.twitch.tv/videos/1471565451
Esquival would take the momentum back in favor of the Grand Rapids when he scored his second just one minute into the second half. Cole Russell made it 4-1 shortly after to excite the home crowd.
Joy Athletic did not quit though and with just under eight minutes to play Phil Caputo scored on a brilliant long-range strike.
With 5:48 to go Mendez scored his second of the match – this time off a restart to the right of the goalkeeper – to make the score 5-2. An empty net goal by TJ Ifaturoti sealed the victory minutes later.
Joy would get one more on the scoreboard with 1:04 remaining when Zinedine Kroeten scored off a nice left-footed strike. Olé added a PK goal with just :15 to go after an apparent Grand Rapids foul was not called and a Joy AC player handled the ball.
Joy Athletic Club now turn their attention to the outdoor season. The first team will begin their second campaign in the National Premier Soccer League on Saturday, May 7 against Duluth FC.
A second side, Joy Athletic II, has been formed and will kick off play in the Minnesota Amateur Soccer League Division 4 on Thursday.