The inaugural U.S. Soccer Girls’ Development Academy season kicked off in September for clubs across the East Conference. Continue reading for a look at which teams in the U-15, U-15/16 and U-17/18 age groups have established themselves as early leaders in their respective divisions.
In the Northeast Division, New York City FC and FC Fury NY are off to fast starts, taking over the top two spots in the table with a total of nine wins between them in their first ten games.
NYCFC enters October with an unblemished 5-0-0 record, having outscored opponents 28-5 to open the season. Forward Madeline Pirrello and U.S. U-15 Girls National Team midfielder Bella Sember lead the team with eight goals each, followed by Lilianne Osuna with four goals and Luciana Latino with three. Defenders Shannon McGovern, Cate Woolsey and Jordan Pieklo have each started every game this season for NYCFC, while goalkeepers Megan Sical and Jennifer Sosa have split time between the posts for the division’s top defensive unit.
FC Fury is 4-1-0 through the opening month of the season, racking up 21 goals along the way. Lucy Patton, Piper McGraw and U.S. U-15 Girls National Team forward Jillian Shimkin are tied for the team lead in goals with three each, while the defense has registered two clean sheets through the first five games.
National Women’s Soccer League affiliate Sky Blue – PDA and Penn Fusion Soccer Academy are both off to perfect starts in the Atlantic Division, and now enter the month of October riding five-game winning streaks.
At the top of the table is Sky Blue – PDA, which has outscored opponents 28-1 so far this season. Forward Lauren Wrigley and U.S. U-15 Girls National Team midfielder Riena Parente have each found the net six times, while eight other players scored at least once for the team’s balanced attack. Goalkeeper Maggie Ousouljoglou and the Sky Blue – PDA back line have combined for four shutouts in their first five outings.
Penn Fusion’s defense has been dominant as well, conceding only two goals over the course of five straight wins. Goalkeepers Audrey Brown and Whitney Tracy have shared time in net during four straight clean sheets ever since allowing a pair of goals in a 3-2 win over Virginia Development Academy to kick off the season. Meanwhile, Zoe Schutter (6 goals), Margaret Peterson (5 goals) and Emma Pelkowski (4 goals) have combined for 15 goals to spark the attack.
The Southeast Division has two remaining unbeaten teams at the top of the table, with Georgia sides Concorde Fire at 3-0-1 and NTH Tophat at 2-0-1.
U.S. U-15 Girls National Team forward Ayo Oke has netted eight goals in her first four games, highlighted by a hat trick effort against IMG Academy and a 78th minute game-winner in a 4-3 thriller against Charlotte Soccer Academy on opening day. U.S. U-15 Girls National Team goalkeeper Maria Kemp and the Concorde Fire back line have earned a clean sheet and a pair of one-goal efforts in their three most recent games ever since conceding three to Charlotte SA in the season opener.
NTH Tophat has earned a pair of blowout wins in its previous two games after beginning the season with a 2-2 draw. U.S. U-15 Girls National Team forward Arianna Manrique has racked up six goals in those wins, highlighted by a four-goal effort against Florida side Boca United FC on Sept. 30. Goalkeepers Kendall Hart and Denver Tolson combined for their first clean sheet of the season against Boca, playing behind a strong Tophat back line.
FC Fury NY and New York City FC have also jumped out to early leads in the Northeast Division in the U-16/17 age group, each winning their first games in dominant fashion.
FC Fury has won each game by multiple goals, racking up 23 while conceding only four along the way. Sierra Brophy, Kayleigh Goodrich and Brianna Jablonowski lead the team’s balanced attack with four goals each, while goalkeepers Sydney Silverman and Kaitlyn Mahoney split time between the posts to earn back-to-back clean sheets over the weekend of Sept. 23-24.
The Atlantic Division is also led by the same to clubs, with Penn Fusion Soccer Academy and Sky Blue – PDA both storming through their first five games unblemished.
Penn Fusion’s Elle Kershner leads all players in the division with seven goals, highlighted by a pair of two-goal efforts against Virginia Development Academy and FC Virginia. Goalkeeper Mia Reed has recorded two clean sheets in her first four appearances, alongside a back line which has yet to allow more than one goal in any game.
Sky Blue – PDA has also limited opponents to just three total goals over its first five games, as goalkeeper Arden Lembryk and the back line have already notched three shutouts. Defender Nicky Chico has started all five games on the team’s strong back line, and on the attacking side, nine different players have found the net. Natalia Ramirez is off to a fast start with four goals.
NTH Tophat has built an early lead in the Southeast Division with three straight wins to open the season, outscoring opponents 14-1. U.S. U-17 Women’s National Team forward Hannah White has found the net in all three games, including braces in wins over Charlotte SA and Boca United FC. Goalkeepers Tyler McCamey and Bradley Williams have shared time in net, recording two clean sheets behind a back line led by U.S. U-17 Women’s National Team defender Natalia Staude, and a midfield featuring a trio of Youth National Team players, including Talia DellaPeruta, Maggie Graham and Ellie Glenn.
At the U-18/19 level, the Northeast Division is spearheaded by an undefeated New York City FC side and an FC Stars squad which has won four of its five games.
NYCFC has earned four wins and a draw to open the season, outscoring opponents 14-3 with a pair of clean sheets on the defensive side. Following an 8-0 rout and a scoreless draw in the first two games, NYCFC has won its last three all by 2-1 scorelines against division foes. U.S. U-18 Women’s National Team forward Rebecca Jarrett racked up seven goals in the first month.
Massachusetts side FC Stars has racked up 16 goals in its first five games, led by midfielder Olivia McKenelley with four and U.S. U-18 Women’s National Team player Madeline Vergura with three. U.S. U-17 Women’s National Team forward Payton Linnehan, midfielder Jennifer Bartlett and U-17 National Team defender Michela Agresti have each netted two goals in the early going.
Atlantic Division clubs Penn Fusion Soccer Academy and Sky Blue – PDA are also reigning the eldest age group heading into the October slate of games, with 10 wins in 10 games between the two of them.
Penn Fusion has piled up an astounding 32 goals while allowing just five. Rachael Dorwart, Brice McInroy and Emma Steigerwald have combined for 21 of those goals, while goalkeepers Morgan Messner and Anna Maria Thomas have earned a pair of clean sheets playing behind a deep Fusion back line.
Sky Blue – PDA has shut out four of its first five opponents, with Grace Barbara and U.S. U-18 Women’s National Team goalkeeper Meagan McClelland sharing time in net, and defenders Jacqueline Harnett and Leanne Engemann each starting all five games. Jyllissa Harris has scored three goals to pace the offense, along with two each from Laura Jackson and Jess Schildkraut.
NTH Tophat also finds itself among the Southeast Division leaders at the U-18/19 level with an unblemished 3-0-0 record alongside NWSL affiliate clubs Orlando Pride and North Carolina Courage.
Tophat forward and Texas Tech 2018 commit Charlotte Teeter leads the division with seven goals in just three games. Defensively, Tophat has limited opposing offenses to just one goal, with Kennedy Tolson and Katherine Asman earning clean sheets in their past two outings.
NC Courage has also allowed only one goal over the course of three wins to open the season, as U.S. U-17 Women’s National Team keeper Marzia Josephson an the back line are coming off two straight shutouts. Haleigh Stackpole leads the Courage attack with three goals, highlighted by a brace against Charlotte SA on Sept. 10.
Orlando Pride has yet to allow a goal, with goalkeepers Brooke Anderson and U.S. U-17 Women’s National Teamer Hensley Hancuff recording the shutout behind a strong Pride back line. Kristen Scott‘s six goals are good a team-high.