WILSON, N.C. (Via US Youth Soccer) — Just one more day remains in the opening weekend of the 2017-18 US Youth Soccer National League Girls season, with Sunday’s matches solidifying team standings until the next meeting at the National League Winter Showcase in Bradenton, Fla., Jan. 13-15.
The third day of league play in North Carolina tends to separate the field as teams settle in after an anxious start to the season. While several teams have begun to make strides in the group standings, no division has a clear favorite to claim the title. The top two teams in eight of the 16 divisions are separated by one point or less, and five of the divisions contain ties atop the standings.
After finishing second in its group last season, 17U side BC United 01 (NY-W) is off to a good start this week — picking up seven points through its first three games. As the players fight for the division title, each match brings meaning, intensity and opportunity for development.
“The competition here has been great,” BC United coach Taylor Schram said. “It’s really important for the girls to compete at this level at the 17U age group. They’re playing 90-minute matches now. It’s preparing them for the college level. Just having the opportunity to compete against some of the best teams in the country is really important for their development and overall competitive nature.”
The competitiveness of the league has been on full display through three days of play in North Carolina, as just 12 teams remain unbeaten and untied. Combined with the fact that spots in the 2018 US Youth Soccer National Championships are on the line, the National League games provide college coaches and U.S. Soccer staff the opportunity to see how the teams and players perform in an intense environment.
“It’s great to have U.S. Soccer here and have scouts for the National Teams,” 16U CDA Premier 02 (KY) coach Vince Gentile said. “Players on all of these clubs have aspirations of playing at the highest level, and that’s not just the college level, it’s with the National Team program.”
As a club, CDA Premier has first-hand knowledge of how quickly a player can go from the National League to the National Team.
“All of our girls are certainly aware of Rose Lavelle coming from the club and know she played in the National League, as well,” Gentile said. “She’s been around the program, so they see her. She’s a great inspiration to them.”
National League teams earn their place in the league based on a proven track record of success in US Youth Soccer regional and national competitions and are among the nation’s best. Competing for a league title and a spot in the US Youth Soccer National Championships, each and every game will play into who represents the National League this summer in Frisco, Texas.
The National League is an extension of the highly successful US Youth Soccer Regional Leagues (US Youth Soccer 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 and opportunities for exposure at the national team, collegiate and professional levels.
National League Girls teams will wrap up their opening week of play on Sunday, Dec. 3, as they each play their fourth game of the season. Complete standings, scores and schedules, including goal scorers and match information, can be found at the results page here. Click on the score of each game for more information.
Some highlights from Saturday’s matches…
Arlington SA (VA) scored a goal in each half against GA Rush 2004 (GA) to earn a third straight win in 14U Red Division play. Arlington took the lead midway through the first half when it converted off a corner kick. Amelia Stoller whipped in a ball that found Leila Greene unmarked in the middle of the box. Greene made no mistakes in finishing her chance giving her side a 1-0 lead. Arlington added to its advantage in the 63rd minute, as Anna Rupert pounced on a defender’s mistake. Rupert dispossessed the defender and then broke through on goal, where she calmly slipped her chance beyond the keeper. Arlington’s defense held strong to complete the clean sheet. Arlington’s back line has looked strong through its first three games, as the team has conceded just one goal.
The matchup between one-win 15U Blue Division sides produced the most dramatic of finishes, as PDA Shore Freedom (NJ) secured a 1-0 win over GPS Oregon FC Bayern 03 (OR). After PDA was unable to convert some early looks at goal, GPS pressed high up the field late in the match in search of a breakthrough goal. However, PDA gained possession and earned a corner kick at the end of regulation. After the initial ball was cleared, center back Brielle Santa Cruz sent a shot from 25 yards to toward the far post — forcing the keeper into a diving save. However, the rebound fell to PDA’s Olivia Denney, who slotted it into an open net with the game’s final kick. The final whistle blew immediately after, and the PDA bench rushed the field to join in the celebration of the goal that gave it the 1-0 win.
A win on Saturday helped CSA Impact United 03 Black (OH-N) remain in a tie for first place in the 15U Red Division, as it beat Beadling 2003 Elite (PA-W), 4-1. The Ohio North side started quickly and took a 2-0 lead within seven minutes behind goals from Victoria Copfer and Mackenzie Muir. After some close calls for Beadling early in the second half, CSA added to its lead in the 59th minute. Kealy Sullivan made a run to the near post and volleyed home Copfer’s corner kick to push the advantage to 3-1. Hannah Henn immediately replied with a goal for Beadling, but Copfer ended any comeback attempts with her second goal of the game. After three matches, CSA remains level with defending National Champion LVPSA 03 Red (NV) atop the standings.
After coming up short on opening day, CDA Premier 02 (KY) pulled away for its second straight 16U Red Division win with a 5-1 decision over previously unbeaten PacNW 02 Maroon (WA). Lauren Carothers and Kaitlyn Andrews each netted first-half goals to give CDA a 2-0 lead at the break. PacNW pulled within one early in the second half on a strike from Liberty Palmer. However, CDA began pulling away in the 61st minute, when Kamryn Keehan played a low cross to the back post. The ball found an onrushing Kaya Vogt, who finished with her first touch to extend the lead to 3-1. Sydney Bacher and Katie Brock added late insurance goals to cap the big win for CDA.
Eclipse Select 2002 Black (IL) picked up its second straight win in the 16U White Division with a 4-2 defeat of Albion SC 02 Academy (CA-S). Arianna Lombardi and Piper Biziorek bookended the first half with goals to give Eclipse a 2-0 lead after 40 minutes of play. After Lina Rodriguez pulled Albion within one early in the second half, Kiara Pralle and Ryann Anderson provided quick replies for the Illinois side to give Eclipse a 4-1 lead. Albion once again pulled a goal back when Serena Scott found the back of the net, but the Cal South side couldn’t get any closer as Eclipse saw out the final 15 minutes to secure the 4-2 victory.
Century V 01 Gold (PA-W) came back from behind to remain perfect in the 17U Blue Division with a 2-1 victory over FCKC Academy Blues Elite (MO). FCKC’s Madilyn Hamline added her fifth goal of the season to give her team a 1-0 lead just nine minutes into the game. Hamline’s goal was the first goal Century V has conceded all season. After being down 1-0 at halftime, Century V battled back in the second half. Hannah Stuck brought one back for Century V just six minutes into the second half, and then teammate Callie Cunningham scored the game winner in the 74th minute. The win gives Century V all nine possible points through its three games to put it on top of the Blue Division.
LMSC Storm (PA-E) defeated Rebels SC Elite (CA-S), 2-0, in 18U Girls Black Division play to earn another important three points in the opening weekend of National League. LMSC put on the pressure in the first half and almost took the lead early. Emily Lorry beat her defender to the end line and hit a sharp pass back into the box. Lorry’s pass went through the box but no attackers could find the end of the pass. LMSC broke the deadlock in the 16th minute when Sadie Gold chipped the keeper for a 1-0 lead. LMSC added to the lead in the 75th minute, as Morgan Rees’s cross from the left side found Teresa Hegarty. Hegarty headed home her chance to increase the lead to 2-0 and seal the win for the Eastern Pennsylvania team.
HBC Impact 00 (NY-E) remained perfect in the 18U White Division after earning a 3-0 win against CFCIU (OH-N). HBC looked to be the aggressors throughout the game and created an early chance to take the lead. A whipped in corner found Ryan Conway’s head but went straight to the CFCIO keeper. HBC took the lead in the 18th minute, as Nicole Scudero’s cross found Julianna Kissane’s head. Kissane flicked the ball on to Juliet Moncho, who finished her chance at the back post. HBC increased its advantage to 2-0 thanks to another team effort. Talani Barnett hit a ball into the area that Moncho got to just before the CFCIU keeper. The ball bounced to Scudero who finished her chance to give HBC a 2-0 cushion. CFCIU keeper Victoria Delappi helped keep the game within reach in the second half, making a save on a deep shot by Scudero and then making a sliding stop just a few minutes later. HBC’s Lauren Mastandrea increased the lead to 3-0 as she scored an olympico straight from a corner kick. CFCIU pushed at the end to add a goal but HBC’s keeper, Amanda Steinberg, knocked a long ball out of the air and made some other key plays throughout the game to help keep the clean sheet.