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Amateur club Newtown Pride wins $1 million championship game at TST

The inaugural edition of The Soccer Tournament (TST) ended Sunday with Newtown Pride FC — an amateur club out of Sandy Hook, Connecticut — deservedly claiming the $1 million dollar prize with a 2-0 victory over Sports Leagues Canada FC.

Newtown actually turned out to be the closest thing to a professional team at TST since the actual "big clubs" were only rag-tag collections of potbellied, middle-aged men and social media influences (Borussia Dortmund sucked farts while Wolves, West Ham and Necaxa all fell in the group stage).

The Pride are an elite amateur club (qualifying for the U.S. Open Cup as recently as 2021) and only conceded five goals in seven matches. Goalkeeper Paulo Nascimento (a hugely experienced indoor keeper who played for the legendary Santos Futsal team) was commanding in net while also playing as a quasi-outfield player with his composure and passing ability.

The final was one-way traffic for all 40 minutes of regular time with SLC FC relying on their own keeper, John Smits, to keep it at 1-0. Smits played one season in MLS with CF Montréal, but there was nothing he could do about Newtown's first goal.

26-year-old Gabriel Costa, who spent 2022 in MLS NEXT Pro with Rochester New York, made it 1-0 one minute before Target Score Time.

Newtown's two other major contributors combined for the match-winner: defender Drew Ruggles set up Kelvin Nunes for the $1 million goal.

Ruggles is another guy with a lot of indoor experience (winning the 2018 MASL title with the Milwaukee Wave), and his assist was a thing of beauty  

I'm not entirely sure how they're splitting the check, but the TST website lists 24 people with a "winning share" for Newtown. If it's split evenly, that's $41,666.67 per person. Not bad for playing four days of 7-on-7 soccer in Cary, North Carolina, and it'll certainly be appreciated by guys who've been grinding in the MASL, NPSL and USL Two. 

We're excited to do it all again next year on an even bigger scale.

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