Boys wrap up US Youth Soccer National League opening weekend
WILSON, N.C. (Via US Youth Soccer) — After four days of play, the US Youth Soccer National League 15U, 16U, 17U, 18U and 19/20U Boys have solidified their spots in the standings until half the field meets again Dec. 27-29 in Orlando, Fla., where they will continue competing for a league title and a ticket to the 2017 US Youth Soccer National Championships in Frisco, Texas.
The National League brings together some of the best teams in the country, all of which have had to earn their place in the league through success in US Youth Soccer regional and national competition. Hundreds of collegiate coaches, as well as members of the U.S. Soccer staff, attended the National League matches in North Carolina to scout some of the top talent in the country. Player evaluation is enhanced by the competitive level and importance of each game, as teams compete for a berth in the National Championships.
The competition within each age group has been very competitive, and multiple teams are still very much alive for every division title. The first place team’s lead is two points or less in 13 of the 16 divisions, and three divisions have ties at the top of the standings. Meanwhile, just eight teams came away with a win in each of their four games.
“Here in the National League, every game is difficult. To get a result, you have to grind out everything,” said Chris Jennings, head coach of 17U BRYC 00 Elite. “The caliber of teams is phenomenal, and we’re honored to be here. We’ve been stressing to our guys that we’ve got to work from the first minute to the last minute to get these results.”
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. Competing for a league title and a spot in the US Youth Soccer National Championships, every game will play into who represents the National League this summer in Frisco, Texas.
National League Boys action continues when half of the 128 teams meet Dec. 27-29 in Orlando, Fla., alongside the Disney Soccer Showcase, while the remaining 64 squads play March 10-12, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nev., alongside the Players College Showcase.
Some highlights from Sunday’s matches…
Midwest United FC 02 Royal (MI) brought its total points in the 15U Red Division to a perfect 12 after defeating Baltimore Celtic 2002 (MD), 3-0, on the fourth and final day of play in North Carolina. Midwest got an early jump on Celtic in just the first minute of play when Jotran Lara found the back of the net. Noah Brumels completed the first-half scoring – adding two goals of his own. Brumels scored in the 8th minute and then added another just four minutes later as he headed a crossed ball into the net. With the win, Midwest will head into the second weekend of play leading its division.
Penn Fusion Elite (PA-E) finished the weekend in second place in the 15U Blue Division after a comeback to tie Solar Chelsea Red 02 Stricker (TX-N), 1-1. Solar’s Nicholas Rhinehart gave his team the lead after collecting a cross and fighting through contact to finish near post. Penn Fusion finally equalized in the 8th minute. Andrew Blackwell collected a ball, muscled through two defenders and powered a shot near post to level the two sides. With the tie, both teams finished the week with an important point heading into the second weekend of National League play.
GSA 01 Premier (GA) used a second-half comeback to earn a 2-2 draw against KSA 01 Pro-Profile (GA) and stay in the thick of the title hunt in the 16U Blue Division. KSA started off on the front foot, as Deedson Vixamar and Sam Povolotsky each scored in the opening 40 minutes to put Pro-Profile up, 2-0, at halftime. In the 60th minute, Denilson Silva-Banda helped GSA get back into the game by taking a flicked pass off his chest and volleying it into the left corner of the net. Silva-Banda struck again in the 70th minute with a rocket into the far side-netting — pulling GSA even and helping it earn a crucial point with the draw.
Lobos Rush 01 Premier (TN) kept its perfect record in the 16U Red Division intact after defeating FC Golden State 2001 (CA-S), 2-0. Lobos started the scoring in the 18th minute when Evan Kleiser beat his defender and connected a pass to a wide open Nicolas DiMauro streaking toward goal. DiMauro made no mistakes and calmly finished his chance for the 1-0 lead. Golden State had a chance to level late in the first half, but the shot was pushed wide. Both teams had chances to add goals, but both goalkeepers made huge stops. Lobos finally made it 2-0 in the 65th minute when Will Pucek dribbled across the top of the box and hit a left footed blast across the face of goal to the bottom right corner.
In a matchup of the top two 17U White Division teams, FC Dallas 00 Che (TX-N) used a 2-1 win over Sparta 00 JK (UT) to move into first place after the opening weekend of play. FC Dallas grabbed a 14th minute lead when Josh Stone hit a low drive from just inside the box that flew inside the far post. Sparta nearly equalized in the 36th minute, but it saw a header off of a corner kick go off both the underside of the crossbar and the post before bouncing out. On the other end, Brandon Torres jumped on a rebound and finished it to double the FC Dallas advantage shortly before halftime. Sparta applied significant pressure while looking to get back in the game, and it pulled within a goal in the 80th minute when Max Bingham found the back of the net. However, the North Texas side held off the late push to claim a 2-1 win and jump Sparta in the standings.
After a tight first half, West Coast FC Armour 2000 (CA-S) pulled away from CUP Gold 00 (OH-S) and claimed a 4-0 victory in 17U Blue Division action. After a scoreless first half, West Coast broke the deadlock when Kyle Carey blasted a shot that got saved back into the box. Angel Morales-Montalvo crashed the net and finished the rebound for a 1-0 lead. West Coast doubled the advantage when a free kick got popped into the air by the CUP keeper. Carey crashed into the scramble and made it 2-0. Carey completed his brace in the 73rd minute, knocking in a cross that came into the box. Nicolas Lopez finished the scoring, as a cross into the box found his feet for the final goal of the game. With the win, West Coast brings its total to nine points through four games.
After dropping a close opening match on Thursday, LA Galaxy South Bay Elite (CA-S) has won three straight games — including a 2-1 result Sunday against Delaware Rush 99 (DE). The Cal South side took a 1-0 lead in the 13th minute via an Adam Yorke strike. The Galaxy nearly doubled the lead in the 33rd minute but saw its shot at the back post denied by a point-blank shot. However, LA did manage to double its lead just before half when Andrew Hazzard made a run to the back post and finished off a low cross. Owen Johansson pulled a goal back for Delaware in the 66th minute, but the Galaxy saw out the game to take the 2-1 victory.
The top four teams in the 18U Red Division met each other on Sunday, as each side had a chance to create some separation at the top of the group. Fullerton Rangers White (CA-S) and WPFC 99 Black (WA) each came out with victories to wrap up their time in North Carolina. The results leave WPFC (10 points) in first place and Fullerton close behind with eight points.
A 3-3 draw with BRYC 99 Elite (VA) helped Sporting STL – McMahon Ford (MO) maintain a narrow lead atop a crowded 18U Blue Division. Julien Reininger put BRYC in front in the 27th minute before Sporting’s Jake Totty replied just six minutes later to equalize the score. BRYC regained the lead in the 58th minute on a Juan Benavides strike. Sporting once again responded, as Joey Spotanski worked a give-and-go to make his way into the box and struck his shot into the left side-netting. John Klein appeared to give Sporting a win with an 89th-minute goal off of a corner, but Aidan O’Connell immediately replied for BRYC with a strike that forced the 3-3 draw.
In the 19/20U Blue Division, Challenger Crew Jrs Gold 98 (OH-N) has 10 points and hold a slight lead over second-place Chicago Fire Juniors South (IL). FC United (IL) leads the 19/20U Red Division, as it also has 10 points. Penn Fusion 98 (PA-E) and CESA 98 Premier (SC) are each one point behind FC United after one week of play.