Legends FC shines brightest as U.S. Youth Soccer National League wraps up
It went down to the final weekend for 13 of the 14 U.S. Youth Soccer National League champions — including five that went down to the final day of play — at the Bettye Wilson Soccer Complex in Las Vegas as the close of league play coincided with the Players Showcase tournament.
For the girls of Legends FC of Southern California, it was a particularly special season, as all four of the club’s teams that qualified for the National League won their division title. In the league’s five-year history, just one other club, the Dallas Texans, have won multiple titles in the same season.
The Texans have won multiple league titles in the same year three different times, but only once did they win more than one in the same gender. The Texans won Under-15 girls and U-16 boys in 2007-2008, the U-16 and U-17 girls and U-16 boys in 2008-2009 and the U-16 girls and U-17 boys last season. This season, Legends FC won U-15, U-16 and both U-17 championships.
Under-16 Legends FC 95 were the second team from the club to clinch a title, and the first of three on the final day. They were locked in a heated race with 2011 National Championships participant Match Fit Chelsea Beat (NJ) that came down to the last game of the season.
“All seven games could have gone either way, every game was a battle. In Atlanta, we came back from being down 2-0 to win in extra time 3-2, we won yesterday in the 80th minute, so there was never a game thinking we were going to win. We were in a battle all seven games,” said U-16 coach John King.
“Being able to put together seven games during the whole league is amazing. This team is a bunch of warriors and I think it’s special because it’s not easy to put together seven games in this league. So, for them to do this, and to finish on top, is amazing.
“I don’t think [the players] get it yet. They’re going to walk away and they’ll start thinking about it and it’s going to hit them because we didn’t come in thinking we were going to win it. We came in to compete and do our best. To walk away today going to the National Championships is amazing. It’s very exciting because they definitely deserve it.”
2011-2012 National League Champions
U-15 Blue: Kings Soccer Academy (OH-S)
U-15 Red: Legends FC 96 (CA-S)
U-16 Blue: Legends FC 95 (CA-S)*
U-16 Red: KCFC/Futura Academy (MO)
U-17 Blue: Legends FC 94 (CA-S)*
U-17 Red: Legends Breakaway (CA-S)*
U-18 Blue: FC Pennsylvania Strikers (E-PA)
U-18 Red: Toro Bravo (NE)
U-15 Blue: Chicago Magic (IL)
U-15 Red: CUP Crew Juniors Gold 96/97 (OH-S)
U-16 Blue: Scottsdale 96 Blackhawks (AZ)
U-16 Red: GSA 96 Phoenix Red (GA)
U-17 Blue: Galaxy 94/95 (IL)*
U-17 Red: Eastside FC 94 Red (WA)
U-18 Blue: Annandale United FC (VA)*
U-18 Red: Grand Rapids Crew Juniors (MI)
*clinched title Sunday
Second-place Qualifiers for 2012-2013 National League Season
U-15 Blue: Match Fit Chelsea Colchesters (NJ)
U-15 Red: Eclipse Select 96-97 (IL)
U-16 Blue: Match Fit Chelsea Beat (NJ)
U-16 Red: Internationals 95 Red (OH-N)
U-17 Blue: VSA Heat Blue (VA)
U-17 Red: Michigan FC 95 (MI)
U-15 Blue: CESA 96 Premier (SC)
U-15 Red: St. Louis Scott Gallagher Academy (MO)
U-16 Blue: OBGC Rangers (MD)
U-16 Red: Beachside SC (CT)
U-17 Blue: Albion SC White (CA-S)
U-17 Red: Raiders FC (IL)
Some highlights from Sunday’s matches…
Legends FC 95 (CA-S) needed a win against Region IV semifinalist Beach FC 95 White (CA-S) to ensure a Blue division championship, and they got the result they needed with a 1-0 score. Taylor Greenwood netted the game-winning goal in the 61st minute as the U-16’s became the second of four Legends FC teams to claim National League championships this year.
Match Fit Chelsea Beat (NJ) needed a victory over Cleveland United White (OH-N) and some help from Beach FC versus Legends, but they got neither in a 1-1 draw. However, the draw did inch Match Fit by Grand Rapids Crew Jrs. Gold (MI) for the second spot in the table, earning Match Fit an automatic spot in the league next year. Angela Spiker struck first for Cleveland in the 29th minute, but Match Fit leveled just six minutes later with Alexis DellaPietro’s fourth goal of the season to return the National League in 2012-2013.
Legends Breakaway (CA-S) needed at least two wins and a draw in the final weekend to surpass Michigan FC 95, but the Region IV semifinalists left no doubt by grabbing three wins, scoring 12 goals and giving up just one, en route to the Red title. Breakaway clinched the division today with a 5-1 victory over Players SC (NV). Nicolette Martino, a Loyola Marymount commit, put Breakaway in front 32 minutes in, but Rosaura Guerrero equalized for Players eight minutes later as they headed into halftime. USC commit Tanya Samarzich put Breakaway back up for good in the 63rd as Kylie Sincox (San Diego), Samarzich and Martino added insurance goals for the second half outburst.
Not to be outdone by their Red division sisters, Legends FC 94 (CA-S) clinched the Blue division today as they ran past fellow Southern Californians Albion SC White 6-0. Just like Breakaway, Legends 94 used a second-half scoring spree to deliver the title in style. Lamar commit Shavonn Johnson and MeiLessah Rangel put Legends up 2-0 at the break, and four second half goals from Johnson, Aly Moon, Yazmin Montoya and Daniela Alvarez sealed the trip to South Carolina for Legends.
Galaxy 94/95 Blue needed a victory to guarantee the Blue division crown and following the theme of the day, a second half goal surge sent them on their way to South Carolina. After going into halftime 0-0 with CUP Crew Jrs. Gold (OH-S), Galaxy scored three goals in six minutes to roll to the championship in a 3-1 win. Colin Donnally got things going with a goal in the 53rd before Patrick Flynn doubled it in the 58th and Madisen Gonzalez again in the 59th. CUP pulled a goal back in from David Janusz, but it wasn’t enough to deny Galaxy the title.
Two-time National League champ Albion SC White (CA-S) needed a result and something less from Galaxy and although they upheld their end with a 2-1 win over Annandale Knights FC (VA), Galaxy’s win meant a tie atop the standings where Galaxy won the head-to-head tiebreaker. Annandale’s Moises Lazo struck first in the 13th minute, but Dominic Chavez leveled before half and Richard Kirouac hit the winner in the 57th. Although Albion fell short of a league title this year, the second-place finish qualifies them to return for next season.
Annandale United (VA) knocked off 2011 Region I champion and National Championship finalist Penn Fusion Celtic (E-PA) 2-1 to leap Lou Fusz SC Gold (MO) for the Blue crown. Radford commit Sergio Arzubiaga put Annandale in the lead in the 29th minute, but Georgetown commit Keegan Rosenberry pulled the goal back for Celtic three minutes after the restart. James Madison commit Tyler Durbin hit for the game winner in the 61st to deliver Annandale’s third victory of the weekend and a National League title.