Published in partnership with the Washington Area Girls Soccer League (WAGS), a SoccerWire.com Featured Partner
With the 2015 Rael Vodicka WAGS Tournament quickly approaching, SoccerWire.com has started an article series previewing the top divisions for the showcase age groups. See below for a look at the U-16 Showcase Division.
(Schedules posted on September 25)
FC Pennsylvania Strikers (PA-E)
Coach: David Shaw
Last season was a special one for the FC Pennsylvania Strikers, who captured State Cup and Region I Championships while reaching the semifinals of the US Youth Soccer National Championships. They also won the top flight of the PA Classics Winter College Showcase, placed third in the US Youth Soccer National League Red Division and took the U-15 Cup Flight at the 2014 WAGS Tournament. The Strikers went a perfect 5-0-0 at the WAGS Tournament, outscoring opponents 10-0. Along with the team’s stifling defense, the attack is among the most dangerous in the country, as was evident at the Region I Championships, where they exploded for 12 goals in the final two games. Kayla Mesaros led all scorers at the Region I Championships with 5 goals, while teammates Emily McNesby and Emily Tracewell netted 4 and 3 goals, respectively.
NJ Stallions Stampede NPL (NJ)
Coach: Shaun Cryer
NJ Stallions Stampede’s second place finish in the 2015 EDP Spring League U-15 1st Division North and a run to the New Jersey State Cup semifinals provided for a strong finish to the 2014-15 campaign and a building block for the new season. The team also placed fourth in the highly competitive Region I Champions League Division 1 Red, and competed at some of the top showcase events in the country. A few of the team’s key players include midfielder/forward Kaitlyn Hogan, forward Nicole Thomas, midfielder Hayley Baer and forward Jamie Walton. +More on NJ Stallions Stampede
Beach FC 99 Red (VA)
Coach: Max Moore
Few teams in Region I had a stronger 2014-2015 campaign than Beach FC 99, which helped lead the club to the overall girls title in the Club Champions League (CCL) by winning the challenging U-15 division. Beach also advanced to the Virginia State Cup semifinals, and took gold or silver at some of the nation’s most prestigious showcase events. They won the Premier I Division at the Columbia Invitational Memorial Day Tournament, were finalists in the Jefferson Cup Platinum Black Division, and captured the 2014 WAGS Tournament A Flight title. Region I ODP selection Idelys Vazquez and defender Alix Allen are among the squad’s key players.
OPSA Magic (MD)
Coach: Albert Oni
Magic stormed through the 2015 EDP Spring League 1st Division South, finishing with a 6-2-1 record while scoring 14 goals and giving up just five all season. They also made a run to the 2015 Maryland State Cup semifinals. In tournament play, they won divisions at three high level 2014 showcases, including the Annandale Premier Cup, Charlotte Moran Girls 2-Day Showcase and the Discovery Cup. Region I ODP selection Madison Berry and three-time ODP selection Taylor Critcher are among the team’s key players.
FC Europa Hotspurs 99/00 (PA-E)
Coach: David Pettican
Pennsylvania East State Cup Finalist FC Europa Hotspurs 99/00 have had an outstanding start to 2015, winning the Jefferson Cup Platinum Orange Division, MSSL Summer Showcase Diamond Division, Baltimore Mania and making a run to the EDP Cup Platinum Division semifinals. They came up just short against FC Pennsylvania Strikers in the State Cup title match, but could get another shot against the Strikers in the elimination rounds of the WAGS Tournament.
United Futbol Academy 00 Premier (GA)
Coach: Ignace Moleka
One of Georgia’s most consistently competitive sides, UFA 00 Premier had a strong second place finish in the 2014 Southern Region Premier League and placed fifth in the 2014-15 US Youth Soccer National League Blue Division. They advanced to the 2015 State Cup semifinals and won their flight in the Generation Adidas Norcross Cup in December 2014. Class of 2019 defender Kylie Gazza led the team in scoring during National League play, while midfielders Haley Lawson and Reagan Smith, forward Jenna Vollrath and defender Mary Craven also found the net.
FC Virginia ECNL 99 (VA)
Coach: Gus Donolo
Reigning Virginia State Cup and Region I Champions League title holder FCV is also coming off a first place finish in the ECNL Chesapeake Division, going an undefeated 9-0-5 in Mid-Atlantic Conference play during the 2014-2015 season. Amy Thompson let the team’s dynamic attack with 9 goals and 10 assists, while Renee Kohler (8 goals, 2 assists), Karen Lohrmann (6 goals, 5 assists) and Amari Hopkins (4 goals, 6 assists) were also among the top producers. FCV earned the No. 10 seed in the ECNL Playoffs, going 2-1-0 and finishing second in Group G, coming up just short of reaching the National Finals. The squad reached the finals of their divisions at the Disney Soccer Showcase and WAGS Tournament in 2014 as well.
East Islip SC Red Storm (NY-E)
Coach: Joe Grippi
Coming off a 2014-15 campaign in which they won the Spring 2015 EDP Cup and Massapequa 2014 Winter College Showcase, and reached the finals of the National Elite Women’s Soccer Showcase (NEWSS) and Generation Adidas Bethesda Tournament, East Islip SC is set to build on their breakout season. Last season’s fifth place squad in the EDP Spring League finished third in Bracket 3 in the top division of the WAGS Tournament in 2014, going 1-2-0. Forward Amber Birchwell, defender Lindsey Brunner, goalkeeper Lydia Kessel and playmaking center midfielder Hannah Franco are among the team’s key players.
Piedmont Triad FC 99 Lady Black (NC)
Coach: Brandi Fontaine
Repeat North Carolina State Cup champion side PTFC recently reached the quarterfinals of the 2015 US Youth Soccer Region III Championships, won the Southern Soccer Showcase White Division and advanced to the semifinals of the Jefferson Cup Elite Orange Division. In Fall 2014, they finished third in the Southern Region Premier League East, compiling a strong 8-2-1 record with 25 goals scored and only 10 given up. Forward Charla Ward was third among all players with 5 goals at the 2015 Region III Championships, left wing Shaylyn Owen was tied for seventh with 3 goals, while Gianna Flowers and Skyler Prillaman each netted two.
Arundel Soccer Association Premier 99 (MD)
Coach: Bob Thomas, Jr.
Last season, ASA captured division championships at the PA Classics Winter College Showcase and Generation Adidas Bethesda Tournament, reached the Maryland State Cup finals and the semifinals of the 16th Annual FC DELCO Players Cup. They placed sixth in the 2015 Region I Champions League Division 1 Red, and fourth in a deep WAGS Division 1 during the Fall 2014 season. At the 2014 WAGS Tournament, ASA finished third in Bracket 4 of the U-15 Cup Flight, but earned an impressive victory over a top-10 nationally ranked Quickstrike FC Elite 00 team during group play. ASA Features a stout back line and a balanced attack led by midfielder Catherine Hoffman, right wing Harleigh White and Caitlin Milley among others.
Storm Soccer Association 99 Black (GA)
Coach: Jeremy Aven
Georgia side Storm SA 99 Black had a strong showing at the 2015 Jefferson Cup, placing second in Group B and finishing as semifinalists in the Platinum Black Division. They return to the WAGS Tournament having reached the finals of the 2014 event in the U-15 A Flight, earning a tough 1-0 victory over Florida’s Pinecrest Premier in the semis. Storm fell to Beach FC in the final, and could have a chance to face the Virginia team again in the knockout stages, as both have been placed in the top U-16 division.