With the 2017 Jefferson Cup fast approaching, SoccerWire.com has started an article series previewing the top divisions for the showcase age groups. Continue reading for a look at the U-18 Girls Championship Division.
Cincinnati United Premier 99 Gold (OH)
Coach: David Robertson
Midwestern powerhouse Cincinnati United Premier is coming off an Ohio South State Cup championship, as well as a second place finish at the 2016 US Youth Soccer Region II Championships. Last spring, the team earned the second spot in the 10-team Midwest Region League’s U-16 Premier I Division. This season in US Youth Soccer National League play, CUP Gold 99 compiled a 4-1-2 record in the U-18 Black Division, outscoring opponents 10-4. Chloe Masys led the team with three goals on the season.
Florida Elite 99 (FL)
Coach: James Schmidt
Between Florida Elite, South Carolina United FC and United Futbol Academy, all three of the teams at the top of the Southern Regional Premier League table will compete in the Jefferson Cup’s Championship Division. Through its first seven Premier League matches, Florida Elite 99 posted a 5-2-0 record behind the second-most efficient offense in the 10-team U-18 Premier Division. Florida Elite, which also reached the semifinals of 2016 US Youth Soccer Florida State Cup, recently capped off the 2016 calendar year by winning the ‘99 Elite Red Division at the CASL Girls Showcase.
FC Europa 99 Elite (PA)
Coach: David Pettican
The 2016-2017 season has been a busy and hugely successful one for Eastern Pennsylvania side FC Europa, which has piled up division championships at five of the most prestigious tournaments on the East Coast: the Disney Soccer Showcase, PA Classics Winter College Showcase, Charlotte Moran Girls College Showcase, Bethesda Premier Cup and the WAGS Tournament. This was simply a continuation of the team’s 2015-2016 campaign, which saw FC Europa capture the US Club Soccer Pennsylvania State Cup and US Club Soccer Mid-Atlantic Regional titles, while also reaching the semifinals of the US Youth Soccer Pennsylvania East State Cup and the US Club Soccer National Cup.
FC Pennsylvania Strikers (PA)
Coach: David Shaw
Making their second straight appearance in a Jefferson Cup Championship Division, the FC Pennsylvania Strikers hold the title of Pennsylvania East State Cup champion and finalist in the US Youth Soccer Region I Championships. In showcase play, the Strikers recently won the top division at the WAGS Tournament, and finished second in its brackets at the Disney Soccer Showcase and Hempfield adidas Fall Classic. The team claimed the top spot in the Region I Champions League table last season as well, going 6-1-0 with a dominant 24-1 goal differential, scoring eight more goals than the next best offense in the league. After a third place finish in the US Youth Soccer National League last season, the Strikers recently completed an undefeated 6-0-1 campaign in the league this season, while allowing a total of two goals and securing a spot in the 2017 National Championships. Emily McNesby netted seven goals, which is tied for the second-most among all U-18 Girls players. Kayla Mesaros scored four goals, tying for 11th among the age group’s scoring leaders.
Piedmont Triad FC 99 Lady Black (NC)
Coach: Brandi Fontaine
North Carolina State Cup champion Piedmont Triad FC 99 Lady Black will continue its challenging tournament schedule at the Jefferson Cup, coming off appearances some of the toughest brackets at the Disney Soccer Showcase and CASL Girls Showcase. Piedmont will finish in the middle of the table in the Southern Regional Premier League this season, but has already secured a spot in the 2017 US Youth Soccer Region III Championships. The team finished as a quarter-finalist at the 2016 Region III Championships, winning two of three matches and only allowing one goal. PTFC’s Skyler Prillaman led all players in the age group with five goals, despite playing one or two fewer games than several of the other teams.
South Carolina United FC 99 Elite (SC)
Coach: Tomasz Kluszczynski
Another top-tier Southern squad, South Carolina United FC 99 makes the leap to the Jefferson Cup’s Championship Division after winning the U-16 Elite Black Division at the 2016 event. Since then, United has only strengthen its resume even more, winning the South Carolina State Cup title, placing second at the US Youth Soccer Region III Championships and tying for the top place in the Southern Regional Premier League’s U-18 Premier Division table with a 6-1-1 record. The team is in third place this season in the US Youth Soccer National League’s U-18 White Division with a 4-3-0 record. SCU’s Brooke Power leads all U-18 Girls players with eight goals, and teammate Megan Classer netted four over the course of the season.
East Meadow SC 99 ECNL Hotspur (NY)
Coach: Mark Dawson
With the ECNL Northeast Conference set to get the season in full swing, East Meadow SC will have a great opportunity at the Jeff Cup to pick up some positive momentum. Playing with a roster consisting of many of the top players in the age group from around Long Island, East Meadow SC is coming off second place finishes in group play at the National Elite Women’s Soccer Showcase (NEWSS) and the EDP Cup Fall Showcase. The team also placed fourth in the 12-team U-16 Elite Orange Division at the 2016 Jefferson Cup, earning an unbeaten 2-0-1 record.
PDA Shore 99 (NJ)
Coach: Carl Leschinski
One of the top EDP League sides in the age group, PDA Shore recently captured a division title at the EDP Cup Fall Showcase, beating out a group of high level Northeastern teams including US Club Soccer Mid-Atlantic Regional champion Mount Laurel United Magic. PDA’s tough defensive unit allowed just two goals over the course of four games at the event. In the EDP League’s highly-competitive U-16 1st Division Central last spring, PDA earned a fourth place finish, ending up in the top half of the table with a 4-3-1 record. This season in the US Youth Soccer National League, PDA went 1-3-3, with almost every match coming down to the wire, as seven of the team’s eight matches were decided by one goal or ended in a draw. Isabella Hovis led the team with three goals.
Toms River Futbol Everton (NJ)
Coach: James Moore
Accomplished EDP League side Toms River Futbol Everton has racked up division championships at the New York Skyline Showcase, EDP Cup Spring Showcase and the U-ADE Summer Premier Showcase in recent months, while also earning second place finishes in the US Club Soccer New Jersey Cup, US Youth Soccer New Jersey State Cup and the MAPS 2016 Spring Challenge. Toms River placed third in the EDP League’s U-16 1st Division Central last spring, finishing ahead of six other teams. The team won two of its three matches at the 2016 US Youth Soccer Region I Championships, outscoring opponents 12-5. Summer Petrick led the team with four goals at the event, tying for third among all players in the age group.
Sunrise Sting 99 Black (FL)
Coach: Gustavo Camacho
No one has been able to slow down Sunrise Sting this season, as the team has torn through the competition to win division titles at the Disney Soccer Showcase, CASL Girls Showcase and the Bethesda Premier Cup. The reigning Florida State Cup champions also had an unbeaten 2-0-1 run at the 2016 Jefferson Cup, finishing tied for the best record in the 12-team U-16 Elite Orange Division. Sunrise placed second with a +5 goal differential, behind only McLean 99 ECNL which had a +6 differential. Sunrise placed first in Pool C at the 2016 US Youth Soccer Region III Championships with an undefeated 2-0-1 record, as Allison Breed and Samantha Wald finished tied for eighth in scoring with three goals each.
Syracuse Development Academy 99 (NY)
Coach: Michael Paolini
Reigning US Youth Soccer Region I and New York West State Cup champion Syracuse Development Academy has not slowed down since the team’s remarkable postseason run during the spring and summer of 2016. SDA had a perfect 4-0-0 run in the US Youth Soccer National League division at the Disney Soccer Showcase over New Year’s 2017, sweeping group play before shutting out Midwest United FC 1-0 in the final. The team finished the 2016-2017 National League season with a strong 4-1-2 record, which could prove to be enough to secure a spot in the 2017 US Youth Soccer National Championships, depending on how other teams in the U-18 Blue Division finish their seasons. Alexandra Catanzarite is tied for fifth among all U-18 Girls players in the National League with five goals on the season.
United Futbol Academy 99 Premier (GA)
Coach: Mo Gonda
Georgia State Cup champion United Futbol Academy 99 Premier has earned its way into the Jefferson Cup’s top bracket with a track record of success against some of the best competition in the South. Through eight games, UFA is tied for the best record in the US Youth Soccer Southern Regional Premier League’s U-18 Premier Division at 6-1-1, with 16 goals scored and a division-low seven goals allowed. Wins in the Southern Regional Premier League have come against elite teams such as Tennessee State Cup champion Tennessee SC 99 Showcase and North Carolina State Cup champion Piedmont Triad FC 99 Lady Black. UFA recently finished the National League season with a 3-2-2 record, which could prove to be enough to qualify for the 2017 National Championships. Carmen Wagner and M.E. Craven led the team with two goals each in National League play.