Jefferson Cup 2017 Championship Division Preview: U-17 Girls
With the 2017 Jefferson Cup fast approaching, SoccerWire.com has started an article series previewing the top divisions for the showcase age groups. Continue reading for a look at the U-17 Girls Championship Division.
Bethesda SC ECNL Hype 00 (MD)
Coach: Ashly Kennedy
A red hot team in ECNL competition, Bethesda SC ECNL Hype 00 capped off the 2016 calendar year on a five-game winning streak against league opponents. The team appears poised to make another run to the ECNL Champions League playoffs after getting off to a strong start once again, and returns to the Jefferson Cup after earning a second place finish in the top bracket last year. In November, the team won the U-17 Potomac Division in its own club’s top tier showcase event, the Bethesda Premier Cup. The Hype’s talent-rich roster includes U.S. Youth National Team players Jane Olcott and Makenna Morris, among other high level college recruits.
CASL 00 ECNL (NC)
Coach: Damon Nahas
Another side that appears to be well on its way to qualifying for the ECNL Champions League playoffs, CASL is off to an 8-3-2 start in ECNL Mid-Atlantic Conference play and finished 2016 on a six-game unbeaten streak against league opponents. The team is led by U.S. Youth National Team goalkeeper Marzia Josephson and defender Tori Hansen, along with several other high profile college recruits throughout the roster.
HBC Impact 00 (NY)
Coach: William Carroll
Reigning US Youth Soccer Region I and New York East State Cup champion HBC Impact 00 has proven itself as one of the age group’s best teams in the country, and will be a tough challenge for any teams it faces at the Jeff Cup. The Impact, which also finished at the top of the table during the Region I Champions League’s 2015-2016 season, is coming off appearances in the US Youth Soccer National Championships, Bethesda Premier Cup and Disney Soccer Showcase. They compiled a strong 4-2-1 record in US Youth Soccer National League play this season, as Isabelle Glennon and Lindsay Wright led the attack with four and three goals, respectively.
Marin FC 00 Blue (CA)
Coach: Kelly Coffey
Northern California side Marin FC 00 Blue will make the trip from the West Coast to compete alongside a collection of 11 of the best teams the East Coast has to offer. Marin had a solid season in the NorCal NPL this fall, going 4-1-3 with quality wins over teams from nationally-renowned clubs such as Mustang SC, Santa Clara Sporting and San Jose Earthquakes Academy. Marin has had positive results against ECNL teams and others, recently capturing a division title at the November Nights Elite College Showcase and placing second at the Magic Cup Summer Classic.
McLean Youth Soccer 00 ECNL (VA)
Coach: Nadir Moumen
ECNL Chesapeake Division leader McLean Youth Soccer has been on the winning side of multiple blowouts over the course of the season, establishing itself as a dominant force even against other high-end ECNL squads. McLean has a comfortable lead on the division with an 11-2-0 ECNL Mid-Atlantic Conference record entering the back end of the 2016-2017 regular season schedule, having racked up 47 goals and only given up seven goals in 13 matches. The team has scored 20 more goals than any other team in the Chesapeake Division and given up eight fewer than any other team. With versatile playmakers at every position, McLean has had matches in which as many as eight players score or assisted a goal. The squad is a returning champion of the Jefferson Cup, having won the U-15 Superior Black Division a season ago.
NJ Stallions 00 Stampede NPL (NJ)
Coach: Shaun Cryer
Competing in the top bracket of the Jefferson Cup will be the first among several potential major tests this spring for NJ Stallions 00 Stampede, which could be on its way to qualifying for the US Youth Soccer Nationals Championships after an outstanding season in the National League. The New Jersey State Cup semifinalists went 4-2-1 in the National League’s U-17 Blue Division this season, which is good for second place. The Stampede also earned a second place finish in the New York NPL and in the JAGS League last spring. With five goals each, Ashleigh Sarafin and Jaime Walton are both tied for fourth overall in scoring in the National League this season.
PDA Gunners ECNL (NJ)
Coach: Michael Smith
Last summer, PDA Gunners reached the pinnacle achievement of girls travel soccer, winning the ECNL Champions League National Finals at the U-16 level. Additionally, they cruised to the 2016 Jefferson Cup U-16 Championship Division title, and will be back seeking to repeat at the U-17 level. U.S. Youth National Team players Jillian Wachira and Meagan McClelland are among the highlights of a roster that is arguably the deepest of any in the country.
Penn Fusion SA ECNL 00 (PA)
Coach: Stefan Szygiel
Now unbeaten through its first four ECNL matches, Penn Fusion SA is coming a phenomenal performance at the ECNL Florida Showcase where it closed out 2016. After beginning league play with a 5-0 rout of FC Bucks on December 10, Fusion went 2-0-1 in Florida, earning dominant 4-1 and 5-0 victories over Tampa Bay United and West Florida Flames, while also playing Oklahoma side TSC Hurricane to a 1-1 draw.
Princeton SA IGFA 00 NPL (NJ)
Coach: Massimo Cedraschi
There is a very short list of teams around the country in any age group that can claim the level of success Princeton IGFA 00 NPL has achieved across US Youth Soccer, US Club Soccer and college showcase competitions. Over the past year alone, Princeton has won the US Youth Soccer New Jersey State Cup, US Club Soccer New Jersey Cup and the NPL Finals National Championship, while also finishing second in the US Youth Soccer Region I Championships. In league play, they placed first in the New York NPL for 2015-2016, and did the same in the 2016 JAGS Spring Leauge and the 2016 Region I Champions League. They are off to a perfect 4-0-0 start in US Youth Soccer National League play this season, putting themselves in position to qualify for the 2017 National Championships. In showcase play, they are fresh off division title runs at the Disney Soccer Showcase and the Bethesda Premier Cup. Leanna Rebimbas led all players with eight goals at the 2016 US Youth Soccer Region I Championships, followed by teammate Faith Preziosi who was second at the event with five goals.
Richmond United 00 ECNL (VA)
Coach: Aaron Brunner
Playing on its home fields, Richmond United ECNL will be back in the Championship Division this year after finishing tied for the second-best record in an eight-team bracket at the 2016 Jefferson Cup. United went 2-1-0 in the U-16 Championship Division at last year’s event, earning wins over the US Youth Soccer Region I Championships finalist and the Pennsylvania East State Cup champion. The team also had a successful season in the ECNL U-16 Chesapeake Division, placing second in the table. United has one of the most prolific attacking players in the country with U.S. Youth National Team forward Jordan Canniff, several top notch defensive players including U.S. Youth National Team defender Emily Crocco, and a roster including several other players that have already announced verbal commitments to blue-blood college programs.
Sunrise Sting 00 (FL)
Coach: Aguinaldo Ferreira
Florida State Cup finalist and US Youth Soccer Region III Championships semifinalist Sunrise Sting 00 finds itself in the top bracket of the Jeff Cup due to its extensive track record against high quality competition, both in league and tournament action. Sunrise finished third with a strong 5-2-2 record in the Southern Regional Premier League this fall, and last season earned a second place finish in the US Youth Soccer National League to qualify for the 2016 National Championships. This season in National League play, the team had another winning campaign with a 3-2-2 record. Marlee Fray finished fifth among all U-15 players with five goals last season in the National League, and Taylor Dobles netted three.
Triangle FC Alliance 00 (NC)
Coach: Tom Misuraca
One of the age group’s most consistently successful teams from the South, Triangle FC Alliance 00 is the reigning champion of the North Carolina State Cup and the Southern Regional Premier League. TFCA beat out other top teams from Georgia, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee in the Premier League this fall, posting a 6-2-1 record while scoring a division-high 16 goals and allowing just seven goals, the second-fewest in the division. The team had a strong showing recently at the Disney Soccer Showcase playing in the National League Division, going unbeaten at 2-0-1 in group play.