FRISCO, Texas (Via US Youth Soccer) — US Youth Soccer has announced the 256 teams that have earned their place for the 2017-18 US Youth Soccer National League season. The league, entering its 11th season, is made up of 14U through 18U Boys and Girls soccer teams, with each team having an individual proven track record of continued success in US Youth Soccer programs.
The National League’s alumni have gone on to prove themselves at the collegiate and professional levels, with former players competing in NCAA Division I, II and III, Major League Soccer, National Women’s Soccer League, the UEFA Champions League, the Olympics and the FIFA Women’s World Cup. The top pick in the 2016 MLS SuperDraft and the last three NWSL Drafts (2015-17) have each been former National League players.
Some National League alumni who have appeared for the U.S. Men’s National Team include Jordan Morris and Walker Zimmerman, while Morgan Brian, Samantha Mewis and Emily Sonnett have appeared for the U.S. Women’s National Team.
2017-18 US Youth Soccer National League teams [Link]
National League competition will be held for the 14U (2004), 15U (2003), 16U (2002), 17U (2001) and 18U (2000) Boys and Girls age groups. The 2017-18 season features 16 teams in the 14U and 15U age groups and 32 teams in the 16U through 18U age groups.
The top two finishers from each of the two divisions in the 14U and 15U age groups, as well as the winners in each of the four divisions in the 16U through 18U age groups, will earn an automatic berth to the 2018 US Youth Soccer National Championships, to be held July 24-29, 2018 in Frisco, Texas. The four National League representatives will join the four Regional Champions for a total of eight qualifiers per age group at the National Championships in the 14U through 18U divisions.
The 2017-18 National League field features 52 13U through 17U teams that qualified for the 2017 National Championships, including 17 of the 20 finalists and nine of 10 champions.
As is the case with the US Youth Soccer National Championship Series events and the US Youth Soccer Olympic Development Program, the National League creates another significant opportunity for the nation’s collegiate, professional and national team staffs to see players in an environment of meaningful play.
Last season, several National League players were invited into youth National Team camps, and many of the 17U, 18U and 19/20U players committed to play collegiate soccer at programs all across the country.
“After expanding last season, the US Youth Soccer National League is once again excited to provide the top competition in the country for 256 teams, who have each proved themselves to gain entry into the league,” said Paul Luchowski, National League commissioner. “National League teams have claimed 30 of 40 possible National Championships in the past four years, which speaks to the quality of the teams in the league and the value of the competition. Hundreds of collegiate, professional and national team scouts attend each National League date for just that reason.”
The National League is an extension of the US Youth Soccer Regional Leagues (Eastern Regional League, Midwest Regional League, Southern Regional Premier League and Far West Regional League). The National League provides an avenue for teams to play in meaningful matches against top competition from across the country for continued development. In addition to recruiting opportunities, National League teams compete for the National League title and one of four slots from each gender age group to the annual US Youth Soccer National Championships.
The 2017-18 National League will consist of teams from 35 of the 55 US Youth Soccer State Associations. From Region I (East): Eastern New York, Eastern Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Jersey, New York West, Pennsylvania West and Virginia; from Region II (Midwest): Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio North, Ohio South and Wisconsin; from Region III (South): Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, North Texas and South Texas; from Region IV (West): Arizona, California North, California South, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah and Washington.
Cal South has 24 teams in the league, while nine other State Associations have at least 10 teams competing in the National League in the upcoming season. Region II and Region IV have the most teams in the league with 70 and 67, respectively, followed by Region I with 60 and Region III with 59.
The seven-game season will begin with the National League Fall Showcase, as all 256 teams compete in Wilson/Rocky Mount, N.C. The girls will play their first Fall Showcase Nov. 30 – Dec. 3, and the boys will play Dec. 7-10.
Half of the boys teams will participate in one of two other events, the first being in Orlando, Fla., alongside the Disney Soccer Showcase, Dec. 28-31. The rest of the boys teams, including all 14U sides, will compete in Las Vegas, alongside the Player’s College Showcase, March 9-11.
Half of the girls teams will also participate in one of two events following the National League Fall Showcase. Teams will either compete Jan. 13-15 at the National League Winter Showcase at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., or in Las Vegas, alongside the Player’s College Showcase, March 16-18. All 14U sides will compete in Las Vegas.
The complete 2017-18 National League schedule will be announced in the fall.
Since its inception, National League teams have captured a combined 56 of 78 possible National Championships. In 2008, seven of the eight championship finals slots in the 15U and 16U age groups were won by National League teams, which resulted in the League’s first four national championships. Since that inaugural year for the league, National League teams have continued to excel each year at the National Championships. Most recently in Frisco, National League teams won nine of 10 possible National Championships.
For a list of past National League division champions and history, click here.