By James Nalton.
Flower City Union, the National Independent Soccer Association (NISA) club from Rochester, NY, completed its remarkable playoff run by winning the NISA championship game on Saturday.
A goal from Matt Bolduc was enough for the lowest-seeded team in the NISA playoffs to go all the way, defeating Michigan Stars in the final at Romeo High School, Washington, MI.
Flower City Union had already knocked out the regular season league leaders, Chattanooga FC, in the semifinal and now completed the job by defeating the second-best regular season side and defending champions from 2022.
“I believed in the guys from the beginning of the season, they have ability and they’re a great group of lads,” said Flower City Union head coach Jordan Sullivan after the game.
“They came through trials and tribulations, we fixed a couple of things, we got our team chemistry up, and we finished the season with a bang.
“The guys are true professionals. I couldn’t be happier or prouder as a coach right now.”
The game’s only goal came after the referee played a good advantage, allowing Alioune Diakhate to do some great work on the break.
From the edge of the area, having attracted several defenders, Diakhate found Bolduc in the box who squeezed his shot past Stars goalkeeper Tatenda Mkuruva.
— NISA Official (@NISALeague) November 11, 2023
“Nobody thought we were going to be here.” Bolduc told Front Row Soccer.
“We started the season 1-7. We turned it around. The season has highs and lows, but we streaked at the right time. We peaked in the playoffs, three away games in a row, three wins.”
In just its second season, Flower City Union now has its first championship, continuing a tradition of soccer in the Rochester, NY, area.
Flower City brings home Rochester’s first pro soccer title since Western NY Flash in 2016 & first men’s pro title since Rochester Rhinos in 2015.
— Dan “Cowderoy” Creel 💾 (@dancreel) November 11, 2023
“The moment is surreal,” added goalkeeper Michael Mejia, whose heroics in the semifinal helped them to this stage.
“Thank you to my teammates, thank you to the staff, thank you to those in the higher positions in the club. We did it!
“It’s a team effort, everyone played a big role, and we got it done as a team, very proud of the guys.”
NISA is one of three Division III sanctioned leagues at the designated third tier of professional soccer in the United States, along with USL League One and MLS Next Pro.
Featured image by Hummel USA.