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CARY, N.C. (WTVD) – The winning teams at this year’s TST in Cary will receive two prizes worth $1 million.

The North Carolina Courage beat Streetball FC Canada 2-0 in the semifinals to advance to the women’s final, where they faced the U.S. women, who feature legends of the women’s game, including assistant coach Carli Lloyd and Heather O’Reilly.

The U.S. women held off a valiant effort from the Courage, winning 6-3 and taking home the women’s prize worth $1 million.

The US women took the lead with just under six minutes left in the first half when Kennedy Kessler’s powerful left-foot shot was blocked, but Alex Kimball was there to score the 1-0 goal.

The Courage were under fire for most of the first half, while the U.S. women came close with long-range shots on several possessions. The Courage prevented a second U.S. goal on the line in the final moments of the first half.

Then the tables turned. The Courage sent a long cross into the box and Jessica McDonald beat the goalkeeper with a header that rebounded off the top of the crossbar. As the ball bounced around, Grace Brian was there to slot it home just before the end of the half.

The score was 1-1 at halftime, but it only took about a minute for the USA to regain the lead. Casey Loyd fired a direct free kick into the net to make it 2-1.

The Courage fought back and equalized to 2-2 with a free kick that was deflected by Courtney Claassen.

And again the USA responded. Stephanie McCaffrey left three defenders behind and scored at the far post to make it 3-2 midway through the first half.

But the Courage players reacted almost immediately for the third time. After a great one-two, Samantha Witteman shot the ball into the goal to make it 3:3.

That pattern continued when Bella Sember, a junior at UNC-Chapel Hill, fired a hard left-foot shot to the top of the far post to give the U.S. women a 4-3 lead.

The US women extended their lead to 5-3 when Kessler turned around and scored just before the end of the half.

The teams then competed to reach the target score, with 6 being the magic number to win. This meant that the USA needed a single goal to win the top prize, while the Courage needed to score three goals.

Talia Dellaperuta, a former Tar Heel, scored the million-dollar goal for the U.S. women.

“The last few days have been turbulent and it’s really exciting to be in the finals and competing for the $1 million prize money in the inaugural year of the event. It’s really exciting to be competing against the U.S. women’s team. There are some familiar names on this team,” said Francie Gottsegen, President of NCFC and NC Courage.

She said if the Courage won, half the money would go to the club and the other half would be split among the players, averaging $23,000 per player.

“This is a big payday for them and the club,” said Gottsegen.

Men’s Championship

La Bombonera FC won the $1 million prize in the men’s competition with a brilliant performance against Nani FC in the men’s final.

La Bombonera not only won, but also defeated the team named after their international star, Portuguese Luis Nani, 4-0.

Nani FC had knocked out defending champions Newtown Price FC in the semi-finals and appeared to be the most talented team throughout the tournament, but La Bombonera, which consists mainly of experienced indoor soccer professionals from Mexico, was the more complete and fit team.


Delaware-based team La Bombonera scored just 17 seconds into the match on a defensive error by Nani FC and never looked back, leading 1-0 at halftime and 3-0 at the end of the second period.

And now the new TST men’s champion takes home a cool million.

Money for the surrounding area

The economic impact of the tournament extends beyond the two winning teams. Representatives of the regional tourism industry said the tournament represents a major economic boost for Cary and the Triangle.

It will take a few weeks to determine the final economic impact of this tournament. The first estimate is that the event will generate $15 million. If you do the math, that works out to an average of $2.5 million per tournament day.

Small businesses are feeling this upturn.

Greg Norton expanded his family’s pizzeria from the streets of Brooklyn to the heart of downtown Cary. He owns Di Fara Pizza Taverna and donated food daily to the tournament volunteers.

Norton was able to increase its sales by about 40%.

“New faces are coming through. It’s better for everyone. It’s better for the community. It’s a win-win situation for everyone here,” he said.

Norton has been watching the games from the sidelines for the past week, but will attend the championship game with his entire family.

He hopes the home team wins on their own turf.

“We’re so happy that Team Courage is in the championship and we’re all definitely rooting for them. They’re part of the community. They’re part of the fabric of this family too,” Norton said.

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