Germantown bound: US Youth Soccer wraps up 2013-14 boys National League in Vegas
LAS VEGAS — The US Youth Soccer National League Under-14, Under-15, Under-16, Under-17 and Under-18 Boys completed their third and final day of matches Sunday at Heritage Park in Henderson, Nev., alongside the 2014 Players Showcase. Sunday marked the final day of the 2013-2014 season, and standings are now finalized with division titles, berths to the US Youth Soccer National Championships and guaranteed spots in the league next year decided.
The 2013-14 season was an exciting one for the boys, as seven titles were not decided until the final day of play. The top two finishers per division earned a place at this summer’s US Youth Soccer National Championships, July 21-27 in Germantown, Md., and those in the Under-14, Under-15, Under-16 and Under-17 age groups earned an automatic spot to compete in the league again next season. With so much on the line, games in Las Vegas carried significant meaning toward the outcome of the season.
Sunday proved that not only is every game important to the final standings, but so is every minute. Some National Championship berths were not secured until the closing minutes of the group’s final games.
In the Under-15 Red Division, Albion SC (CA-S) needed a goal in the final minutes to secure a victory and jump from third place into first. Elsewhere, Fullerton Rangers 96 White (CA-S) required more than an hour of play to produce a game-winning goal and earn a necessary victory to claim second place in the Under-17 Blue Division.
With a spot in the National Championships secured, Fullerton will aim to claim its third National title in four years. The competition in the National League didn’t make it easy for the two-time National Champions to punch their ticket to Germantown, but the California side is now looking to raise the trophy come July.
“It’s an incredible honor to go back to the National Championships,” Fullerton head coach Jimmy Obleda said. “These guys set a goal last year, and to be honest, we were disappointed we didn’t win last year. We lost to a very good team. We set a goal to take back what we felt was ours. All throughout the year, we’ve been working toward that.”
Other teams to secure top-two finishes on Sunday included: Under-14 Raiders FC (IL), Under-14 CSA 00 Lobos Rush Premier (TN), Under-16 OP Eagles Dublin G1 (OH-S) and Under-18 Santa Clara Sporting 95 (CA-N).
2014 US Youth Soccer National Championship Qualifiers via the National League
National League action continues Friday, March 21, as the 48 girls teams kick off their final weekend of league play at the Bettye Wilson Soccer Complex in Las Vegas, Nev.
The National League is an extension of the highly successful US Youth Soccer Regional Leagues (US Youth Soccer Region I Premier League, Midwest Regional League, Region III 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 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 Germantown, Md.
Some highlights from Sunday’s matches…
Raiders FC (IL) clinched the Under-14 Blue Division title with a 3-0 win over Penn Fusion 99 (E-PA). After some close calls in the first half, the Illinois side broke through in the 46th minute when Isaiah Nieves rose up to head a corner past the keeper. George Gonzalez and Julian Arroyo added insurance goals, as Raiders secured the victory and first place in the division. CSA 00 Lobos Rush Premier (TN) also recorded a 3-0 win Sunday to finish second in the group and earn a spot alongside Raiders in the 2014 National Championships.
In what was essentially an Under-14 Red Division championship match, United FA 00 Elite (GA) scored a late winner to defeat Scorpions SC – Boston (MA) and claim the title. Needing just a tie to finish in first, United put an exclamation point on its first National League campaign when Carlos Reyes scored in the 67th minute to give his side the 1-0 win. Despite the loss, Scorpions finished in second and earned a spot at Nationals, as well as a place in next season’s National League.
Loudoun 98 Red (VA) earned the Under-15 Blue Division championship thanks to a larger goal differential than United FC Gold 98 (CA-S). The California side won, 2-0, on Sunday, but it needed to win by at least five goals to overtake Loudoun.
A late goal helped Albion SC (CA-S) shock Scottsdale 99 Blackhawks Davidson (AZ) and secure the Under-15 Red Division championship. While a tie would have given Scottsdale the title, Albion needed a win to jump into the top two of the division. After pushing forward for much of the second half, Albion finally broke a scoreless tie with five minutes to play. Townsend Meyer sent a perfectly placed cross to the back post, where David Gastelum headed it in for the lone goal of the game. The result left Scottsdale tied with 99 Lobos Rush Premier (TN) at 15 points, but the Tennessee side advances to the National Championships via the head-to-head tiebreaker.
OP Eagles Dublin G1 (OH-S) needed a victory Sunday to win the Under-16 Blue Division crown. Emmanuel Dapaa gave the Eagles an early lead over Alliance Academy 98 Black (MI) with a goal in the fourth minute. That score held until Dapaa found the back of the net for a second time in the 52nd minute to help his side to a 2-0 win and the group title. Because OP Eagles defeated Sunrise Elite 97/98 (FL) in North Carolina, the Ohio side takes first while Sunrise will head to Germantown, Md., as the Blue Division runner-up.
After Dix Hills Elite (E-NY) secured the Under-16 Red Division title during play in Orlando, FC Golden State Platinum (CA-S) picked up the second National Championships berth in the division by claiming seven points in Las Vegas.
Fullerton Rangers 96 White (CA-S) needed a win to finish second in the Under-17 Blue Division, and a scoreless first half against Grand Rapids Crew Jrs. (MI) Sunday produced some nervous moments for the two-time National Champions. Fullerton finally got its vital go-ahead goal in the 66th minute when Amirgy Pineda found the back of the net. Pineda sealed the victory for Fullerton seven minutes later when he received a through ball and calmly slid it inside the right post — giving the California side a 2-0 win. Fullerton finished second, and FC Golden State White (CA-S) won the division title thanks to a 3-0 win on Sunday.
The Under-17 Red Division champion and runner-up were both decided in Orlando. Defending National Champion Smithtown Arsenal (E-NY) cruised to the division title, while CUP Gold 96/97 (OH-S) finished in second place.
West Coast FC (CA-S) and Scottsdale 96 Blackhawks Burke (AZ) met Sunday to determine the Under-18 Blue Division champion. West Coast, which only needed a tie to claim first place, came close to breaking through with a couple of chances early in the second half. Scottsdale held off the attacks but couldn’t generate a goal of its own, as the game finished in a scoreless tie. While the teams finished even at 15 points in the standings, West Coast claimed the title because of a larger goal differential.
In the Under-18 Red Division, Waza FC East 96 Jrs. (MI) controlled its own destiny and had a chance to finish second with a win. However, Penn Fusion 95 (E-PA) played the Michigan side to a 1-1 tie to put Waza’s ticket to Nationals in doubt. Anthony Daniele gave Penn Fusion the early lead, but Neil Martorana responded with a 23rd-minute goal for Waza to level the score. The Michigan side pushed for a go-ahead goal but couldn’t find the right final touch to beat the keeper. The draw proved costly for Waza, as Santa Clara Sporting 95 (CA-N) recorded a 2-0 win to jump into second place and claim the spot in the National Championships.
Keep up with the National League:
National League Home: USYouthSoccer.org/National_League
Schedule and results: http://tournaments.usyouthsoccer.org/events/2013-2014-National-League/