Girls wrap up US Youth Soccer National League opening weekend
Day 4 of 4 complete
WILSON, N.C. (Via US Youth Soccer) — After four days of play, the US Youth Soccer National League 14U, 15U, 16U, 17U and 18U Girls have solidified their spots in the standings until half the field meets again at the National League Winter Showcase in Bradenton, Fla., where they will continue competing for a league title and a ticket to the 2018 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 three points or less in 14 of the 16 divisions, and two divisions have ties at the top of the standings.
The 18U Red Division exemplifies just how close the competition can be, as six of the teams picked up two wins and just two points separate first place from sixth. PacNW 00 Maroon (WA) is among those two-win teams, and coach Malia Arrant said picking up points in the standings wasn’t the only positive taken from the week in North Carolina.
“I think getting the win was important, but the biggest thing for us is coming here and playing good teams and getting exposure with the college coaches,” Arrant said. “The competition has been awesome. We’ve played teams from Virginia, Nebraska and New Jersey. We never play those teams, being from Washington. The league is awesome, and it’s a really cool chance to play teams from across the country.”
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 action continues when half of the 128 teams meet Jan. 13-15 in Bradenton, Fla., for the National League Winter Showcase, while the remaining 64 squads play March 16-18, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nev., alongside the Players College Showcase. 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 Sunday’s matches…
After a narrow loss to open the season, Michigan Jaguars 04 Green (MI) picked up seven points in its next three games, capped by a 1-0 win over LA Fire Jrs 04 Red (LA) on Sunday. The Jaguars wasted little time in grabbing an advantage against the Fire, as Amanda Feury beat the keeper in the fourth minute to put Michigan in front. The Jags defense clamped down to make sure that goal stood up, as the Michigan side secured a second straight clean sheet to earn the 1-0 win. Michigan is chasing CDA Premier 04 (KY) in the standings after the Kentucky side won all four of its games in North Carolina.
San Diego Soccer Club Academy-Navy (CA-S) and PDA Shore Freedom (NJ) played to a scoreless draw, which leaves both teams with eight points after four games in the opening weekend of 15U Blue Division play. Through four games, PDA still has not conceded a goal while San Diego sits toward the top of the age group with eight goals to its name. San Diego’s Jacey Farmer finished with three goals through the four games putting her towards the top of the 15U top scorer chart. Tennessee SC Showcase (TN) leads the group with nine points.
Legends FC 02 Academy (CA-S) remained unbeaten in the 16U White Division with a 3-1 win over Eclipse Select 2002 Black (IL) on Sunday. Each team entered the game with two wins on the week, but Legends took control in the 21st minute when Jonnie Sanchez found the back of the net to put the Cal South side up 1-0. Shortly before halftime, a Layla Comeaux strike doubled the Legends lead. Eclipse came close to pulling within a goal in the 59th minute, but Arianna Lombardi’s square ball slid just out of the reach of a teammate at the back post. Minutes later, Legends went up 3-0 thanks to a Samantha Ruelas goal. Eclipse’s Piper Biziorek slotted a 75th-minute shot inside the right post to put the Illinois side on the scoreboard, but Legends held on to secure the 3-1 victory.
Behind strong goalkeeping and key last-ditch defending, New Jersey Rush 02 Grey (NJ) held on for a 1-0 win against Nationals Union 02 Black (MI) in 16U Blue Division action. After a scoreless first half, Julianna Romano put New Jersey in front with a 46th-minute strike. From there, Nationals Union controlled possession and created several chances for an equalizer. In the 59th minute, a Rush defender cleared a shot off the line following a free kick, and a few minutes later Nationals Union’s Zoe Bessert put a shot just wide of the right post. Rush keeper Grace McDevitt made several saves to hold the lead, including a key stop in the 79th minute, when she quickly dropped down to stop a low drive that was destined for the far corner of the goal. With the win, New Jersey moved to second in the division — just one point behind Fullerton Rangers 02 White (CA-S).
In a wild seven-goal 17U Blue Division game, FCKC Academy Blues Elite (MO) earned an important 4-3 win over Arizona Arsenal Teal (AZ). Despite having less of the possession in the first half, Arsenal took the lead in just the seventh minute of play off a good counter attacking chance, as Mollie Griswold found the back of the net. FCKC leveled in the 16th minute when an Emma Yackley free kick was spilled in front of net, where Taylor Reid rushed in and tapped in from close range. Reid added her second of the game four minutes later. Lily Farkas slipped in a pass and Reid dribbled around the keeper for the goal. FCKC added its third goal before half as Farkas boomed of a shot from the left side that sailed over the keeper into the top corner. Early in the second half, Karoline Nelson slid the ball across the box to the left and then hit a shot across goal to the back post to make it 4-1 for FCKC. Arsenal started battling back late and pulled within two when Kendall Lossner finished a second chance off of a dangerous free kick. Alia Shatswell made it 4-3 just four minutes later when she hit a rocket from deep left. Shatswell’s chance sailed in as the keeper could not push the ball over the top with her touch. Arsenal almost leveled the score late, but FCKC keeper Madelyn Gibbs stopped Shatswell in a 1-on-1 opportunity. FCKC almost added a fifth but Kloee Grubb made a great diving save to stop Farkas’ shot destined for the left side of the net.
Premier Navy 2001 (MD) remains perfect in the 17U Black Division after defeating FC Florida 2001 Elite Blue Predators (FL), 1-0. Premier took the lead when a cross deflected back in front of the goal to Madison Carr. Carr’s close range attempt gave Premier a 1-0 lead heading into the second half. FC Florida looked for an equalizer but could not get beyond Kira Watson in goal and Phoebe Canoles did a great job of marshalling the Premier defense. Premier has scored 10 goals through its first four games while allowing just two.
In a very tight 18U Red Division, PacNW 00 Maroon (WA) came back from an early deficit to pick up a key 4-2 win over Arlington SA 2000 Red (VA). Caroline Bates found the back of the net twice in the opening 23 minutes to help the Virginia side to a 2-0 advantage. Nine minutes later, a Sidney Lowe strike pulled PacNW within a goal and gave it some key momentum heading into the second half. In the blink of an eye, Madison Taylor put PacNW in front with a pair of goals in the 58th minute. Thao Nguyen added an insurance goal in the 80th minute to cap the 4-2 PacNW victory.
Campton United (IL) finished its opening weekend of 18U Black Division play with a perfect four wins thanks to a 1-0 victory on the last day of play against Rebels SC Elite (CA-S). Campton held control of the game in the first half and almost took the lead early, but an attempt was thwarted thanks to a great sliding save by the Rebel’s keeper. Campton scored what would be the game winner in the 27th minute when Hailey Rydberg got behind the defense and finished her chance. The game flowed back and forth during the second of half, but neither team could find the back of the net. With the 1-0 win, Campton United holds a three point advantage over the teams behind it in the Black Division.