Jefferson Cup 2024 Championship Division Preview: U16 Girls
SoccerWire continues its annual article series previewing the Jefferson Cup’s Championship Divisions. In this edition, we take a look ahead at the U16 Girls age group.
This year’s Championship Division features twelve of the top teams competing in a single table format. To check out the entire U16 age group click here.
Bethesda SC ECNL 08 (MD) Started their 2023-2024 season on a high note, winning each of their first four ECNL North Atlantic Conference games by a combined score of 11-4.BSC are looking to expand upon their 2022-2023 season which saw the team make the ECNL National Playoffs and finish second in the Championship Division at last year’s Jefferson Cup.
Lou Fusz Athletic GA 08: One of the top defenses in the GA’s U16 Frontier Conference, LFA will certainly bring their lockdown defensive work to Richmond. Last year’s GA National Semifinalists currently hold a conference low .66 Goals Against Average while going undefeated (17-0-1, 52 points) against some of the top attacking teams in the country. Goalkeeper Lily Selvy and captain/center back Gracie Miliam, both of whom have recently been called up to 2008 USYNT ID Camp, lead a composed experienced side that will be difficult to beat.
NC Courage Academy ECNL 08:Last year’s Championship Division champions, the Courage return looking to continue their dominant form at the Jefferson Cup. They come into this year’s competition strong, currently sitting a top the Mid-Atlantic Conference with a 9-0-2 record on 29 points. On the attack they seem to score at will, having buried a conference-best 38 goals thus far this season.
New England Surf State Navy 08: After winning last year’s Elite Orange Division, Surf are back this year looking to continue their strong run of form in the Championship Division. They earned top honors in their bracket last year thanks to their dominant attacking form (12 goals scored) and their concise, efficient defensive work (3 goals allowed). Last year’s DPL Champions will certainly use this year’s Showcase to help prepare for the long title defense ahead.
Northern Virginia Alliance ECNL 08 (VA): Booked their spot in the ECNL National Playoffs with an impressive start to 2024, going 4-1-2 on 14 points. Midfielders Jenna Newman, Darien Vita, and Katelyn Revelle (who also plays at forward), lead a strong midfield that has helped Virginia score 24 goals in conference play this season third highest among all teams.
Penn Fusion SA ECNL 08 (PA): Had a strong showing at the recent ECNL Florida National Event, defeating Solar SC (1-0) and SLSG Navy (3-2) while grinding out a 1-1 draw against De Anza Force. North Atlantic Conference Player of the Year Olivia Rubinich was instrumental on the defense during last year’s ECNL National Playoffs Quarterfinal run. Although they have had only one conference match thus far this season, defensively they showed that they are more than up for another deep playoff run, defeating Match Fit Academy 3-0.
STA GA 08 (NJ): Went undefeated in Showcase Group B at the recent GA Winter event, outscoring their opponents 11-2. Their defense was equally impressive blanking St. Louis Development Academy and Washington East Surf both by 4-0 scorelines. In their third match they held on against a high-scoring IMG Academy side, pulling off the narrow 3-2 win.
SUSA Academy ECNL 08 (NY): Placed second at the recent NEFC Thanksgiving Showcase, including earning a 4-0 win over New England Surf Navy. In the ECNL, they earned their first victory in North Atlantic Conference play just before the winter break, defeating East Meadow SC 5-0.
TSJ FC Virginia GA 08 (VA): Dominated Mid-Atlantic Conference play in the fall, going undefeated in ten matches (9-0-1, 28 points). Their defense was particularly on point, holding a .64 Goals Against average which is currently the lowest in the conference. At the Champions Cup, their stout defense blanked Lonestar SC Red 2-0 and held NEFC to a goal in a 1-1 draw.
VDA ECNL 08 (VA): Started the new year on a high note, getting points in five of their first six matches to pull level in ECNL Mid-Atlantic Conference play (5-5-1, 16 points). Defensively, VDA is highly difficult to break down and does not concede goals easily. At the recent ECNL Florida event, they allowed just one goal across all three matches.
World Class FC ECNL 08 (NY): Went on a five game unbeaten run across all ECNL competitions to start their 2023-2024 season. Their defense led the charge, earning three shutouts and allowing just three goals throughout their run. 2022-2023 ECNL All-Conference defenders Ella Burkholder and Jordan Ford lead a solid defensive line that can make a decisive stop and immediately start long possessions.