2023 Power Rankings: Division One

by Joe Meyer

In the somewhat twisted words of a former Dallas Cowboys head coach, “eCup? We’re talking about the eCup?”.

With Thursday night’s tournament opener only days away, we’ve pulled together six longtime players & staff from across the country to put together preseason power rankings for each group in the 2023 tournament. Tonight, we’re taking a look at all eight groups in the premier division.

Points are awarded 5-4-3-2-1 basis within each poll, with five points going to the club ranked to the highest ranked player within each poll, four points to the second highest ranked player, etc.

RankClub (First Place Votes)Points
1Duluth FC (6)30
2La Barra 60822
3Minneapolis City SC20
4South Bend Lions12

Group A: Duluth FC’s Yossef Elsawy, the defending eCup Champion and pre-tournament favorite, heads into the group stage as an unanimous selection to finish top of Group A, and is the only entrant in the field of forty-seven that was selected to finish first in the group on all six ballots. Elsawy and the Bluegreens head into a loaded group with three of the four players ranked in the pre-tournament players poll and will square off with sixth-ranked La Barra 608 (Omar Anguiano), tenth-ranked Minneapolis City SC (Israel Carrillo), and a 2021 PC Division Semifinalist in the South Bend Lions (Devin Combs).

RankClub (First Place Votes)Points
T-1Bateaux FC (3)26
T-1The Crocketteers  (3)26
3San Antonio Runners17
4Laguna United FC15

Group B: Bateaux FC’s Joey Tucci and the Crocketteers’ Regan Allen Jr. sit tied atop Group B in one of only two groups to have a tie at the top of its preseason power rankings. While the two can’t be separated on points, Allen Jr. is the only player from the group ranked in the pre-tournament players poll, coming in at number nine, while Tucci was listed on multiple ballots and is just outside of the top ten. The San Antonio Runners (Joshua Gonzalez) and Laguna United FC (Ray Samora) round out a group in which all four players bring at least two years of eCup experience to the table.

RankClub (First Place Votes)Points
1Providence City FC (5)28
2Dynamo FC - St. Cloud (1)19
3Peak XI FC17
5Grays Harbor Gulls10

Group C: Led by 2020 & 2022 eCup runner-up Providence City (Chris Moura), Group C features five returning clubs and is shaping up to be one of the deepest groups in the tournament. While it doesn’t carry the same “big-name” flavor as some of the other groups, Moura and the Rogues are joined by traditional forces Dynamo FC - St. Cloud and Peak XI FC, two clubs that have reached the semifinals of the eCup within the last two years, as well as fellow eCup returnees in Grays Harbor Gulls FC and SPAM FC.

RankClub (First Place Votes)Points
1Milwaukee Pro Soccer (5)29
2Space United FC (1)24
3Tormenta FC19
4Great White Buffalo10
5Commonwealth Cardinals FC8

Group D: With 2022 Xbox Division Champion Oscar Ayala on the sticks, future USL Championship side Milwaukee Pro Soccer comes in atop the Group D power rankings as a near-unanimous selection to sweep the group. The second-ranked player in the pre-tournament players poll is joined by former DII Champion Space United FC (Mark Morales), the poll’s seventh-ranked entrant. The remaining trio of Tormenta FC (Lucas Barnwell), Great White Buffalo (Guenther Boyd), and Commonwealth Cardinals FC (Lorenzo Baez) will need to pull an upset (or two) to crack the top two and advance to the Knockout Stage.

RankClub (First Place Votes)Points
1Richmond Kickers (3)27
2Lane United FC (3)24
3Olde Fields Battalion15
4AFC Columbia14
5Omaha Parliament10

Group E: Former Lane United FC coach Conner Cappelletti, now an assistant coach and this year’s eCup rep for the Richmond Kickers, comes in at number one in the Group E preseason power rankings. Cappelletti sits just one spot ahead of his former club, represented by supporter Daniel Lopez, and the two will square off in the final match of the group stage on Tuesday, March 7. Before the two frontrunners face off on March 7, they’ll have to go through stiff competition from 2021 DII Finalist Tallahassee SC (Cameron Ocampo), 2022 Quarterfinalist AFC Columbia (Brandon Rettke), and the Omaha Parliament (Chad Hamik), the supporters' group of Union Omaha.

RankClub (First Place Votes)Points
1Delaware Rising FC (5)29
2Storm Chasers SG (1)19
T-3City of Ohio SC18
T-3Midwest Hooligans18

Group F: Led by first-time eCup player and club coach Chris Stohl, Delaware Rising FC sits clear atop the Group F power rankings as a near-unanimous selection to finish atop Group F. Playing out of the Northern Ohio Soccer League, Delaware’s back for its third consecutive eCup, and will also be represented in Division II by supporter Sandro Lulgjraj. Delaware is joined by three organizations making their eCup debuts in fellow NOSL rival City of Ohio SC (Jarod Chavez), the Midwest Hooligans (Nick Rawden), and the Storm Chasers SG (Kevin Whitehead). With the top two clubs advancing from every group, at least one of the three newcomers is guaranteed a place in the knockout stage in their debut tournament.

RankClub (First Place Votes)Points
T-1Forward Madison FC (3)27
T-1Greenville Triumph SC (3)27
T-3Dutch Guard SG15
T-3Maryland Bobcats FC15

Group G: Forward Madison FC (Evan Warwick) and Greenville Triumph SC (Gio Cañas) enter the tournament as co-favorites to take home Group G after finishing tied atop the Group G power rankings. Both past eCup finalists, Cañas was given a slight advantage over Warwick in the pre-tournament players poll, with the Greenville Triumph SC Account Executive and eCup Representative ranked fourth out of forty-seven entrants, just one spot ahead of Warwick, Forward Madison’s Director of Digital Media, who enters the tournament as the fifth-ranked player in the field of forty-seven. The co-favorites will meet a formidable challenge in two additional eCup returners in the Dutch Guard SG (Bradley Delmar) and Maryland Bobcats FC (Kalin Hicks), organizations with five combined tournaments of eCup experience that are capable of pushing for one of the group’s two places in the knockout stage.

RankClub (First Place Votes)Points
1Motorik FC (5)29
2Louisville City FC (1)20
3Superior Wolfpack FC18
4Greenville Liberty17

Group H: With supporter Colton Vincent at the helm, Motorik FC rolls into the group stage as a near-unanimous selection to finish atop Group H. While five of the six ballots penciled in Motorik as the favorite to win Group H, the second and fourth-ranked entrants are separated by just three votes. Louisville City RC supporter and gameday staff member Collin Zollman will lead one of three USL Championship clubs represented in this year’s eCup and was picked to finish second in the group, while three-time entrant Superior Wolfpack FC (Adrian Viveros) and the Greenville Liberty (Rose Ruland) sit just outside of the knockout stage picture.


The Lower League eCup is annual FIFA tournament open to all American lower league soccer clubs and supporters groups. Founded in March 2020 as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the tournament is the largest of it's kind and has featured representatives from 140+ organizations from 38 states over four editions. 

The 2023 Lower League eCup kicks off on Thursday, February 16, as Minneapolis City SC and Duluth FC take one of pre-professional soccer's most prominent rivalries to the virtual pitch.