US Youth Soccer National League 2018-19 Season: 18U Boys Preview
(Via US Youth Soccer) – With the 2018-2019 US Youth Soccer National League season upon us, take a look at the entire 18U Boys age group, which features four competitive divisions with some of the nation’s top clubs represented.
After two seasons of notable accomplishments, Tampa Bay United (FL) is looking to add another title to its resume in this year’s 18U Boys Black Division. The Florida side captured the 2017 US Youth Soccer National Championship and is coming off a 2017-18 National League division title and another trip to the National Championship final this past summer. Tampa Bay won four games and tied two in the National League last season, and it will need a similar effort to capture its second straight Black Division title this year.
OBGC Rangers Blue 2001 (MD) will be one of the teams looking to knock off Tampa and win the group. The Maryland side fell to Tampa in the group stage at Nationals, but it showed its ability prior in the season to get to that level. OBGC went 7-0-0 to win its Eastern Regional League division, and it won all five of its games in Spotsylvania, Va., to win the 2018 US Youth Soccer Eastern Regional Championship.
YMS Premier Celtic 01 (PA-E) also made a run at the Eastern Regionals, but it came up short in the semifinals when it fell in penalties. Along with a solid showing in the Eastern Regional League, YMS has a good amount of past performances to build on when Black Division play kicks off in North Carolina.
Meanwhile, RSL AZ North 01 Boys Tomic (AZ) has a chance to regain the form that helped it capture the 2016 National Championship. The Arizona side won its Far West Regional League division, and it will aim to replicate that league format success in the Black Division.
Multiple teams that competed at the 2018 National Championships highlight the 18U Boys Blue Division. Among them is SLSG Elite 01 (MO), which is coming off a Blue Division title a year ago. The Missouri side followed its strong National League performance by sweeping the competition to win the 2018 US Youth Soccer Midwest Regional Championship. A pair of one-goal losses prevented SLSG from advancing at Nationals, so it should have plenty of motivation to get back to that stage for another crack at it.
One of the matches SLSG dropped at Nationals was a close group game to PPA KSA 01 Pro-Profile (GA), which joins it in this year’s Blue Division. PPA KSA won the 2018 US Youth Soccer Southern Regional Championship after a strong second-place showing in last year’s National League White Division. Fresh off a run to the National Championship semifinals, the Georgia side should be a tough team to handle for Blue Division opponents.
Consistency is a key to winning any National League division, and the Blue Division has plenty of teams that have shown that trait. Pipeline Pre Academy (MD), Lake Grove Newfield United (NY-E), KHA 01 Red (OH-S) and Eastside FC 01 Red (WA) each won their respective Regional League competitions, and those teams will aim to continue that league format success in the National League this season.
With the title of defending National Champion preceding its name, Galaxy 2001 Blue (IL) will be a team to watch in the 18U Boys Red Division. The Illinois side advanced to Nationals as the Midwest Regional Championships representative and took advantage of its opportunity — rallying from a day one loss to capture the National title. Galaxy finished third in its National League group a year ago, so it will aim to improve on that showing when Red Division action kicks off in North Carolina.
One team that has already shown the ability to finish atop the National League standings is McLean Green 01 Athletic (VA), which won the Red Division last season. The Virginia side finished its season with four-straight victories, with three of those wins decided by just one goal. That ability to win close matches will be a vital if McLean is to repeat as the Red Division champion.
After coming up just short of Nationals last season, Solar 01 Stricker (TX-N) will surely want to leave no doubt by capturing this season’s Red Division title. Solar displayed a potent offense at the Southern Regionals, but it conceding a late goal in the championship game to drop a 2-1 decision. However, that ability to find the back of the net will keep the North Texas side in any Red Division contest.
Meanwhile, Fullerton Rangers SYL (CA-S) finished first in its Far West Regional League division, and it will hope that success in a league format carries over to the National League this season.
Oklahoma Energy FC Central 01 (OK) will aim to continue its team and club success when it begins 18U Boys White Division play this December. Oklahoma won the White Division a season ago, which added to the victorious campaigns of its club as a whole in the National League and Southern Regional Premier League. The Energy won each of its games in North Carolina last season and will hope for another fast start this December as it looks to repeat as division champs.
One of the teams attempting to challenge for the White Division crown is Eastern Regional Championship finalist Wall Elite Cosmos (NJ). A last-minute goal conceded is all that stood between the New Jersey side a berth to Nationals, so it should have plenty of motivation to punch that ticket to the National Championships with a National League division title.
Meanwhile, OC Surf Armour 2001 (CA-S) is one of a handful of Regional Championship semifinalists in the White Division field. Armour also finished second in last year’s Red Division, so it has the experience needed to string together some results. Lobos Rush 01 Premier (TN), which won its Southern Regional Premier League division with a 10-0-0 record, and Club Ohio 01 Green 1 (OH-S) each advanced to the semifinals of their respective Regional Championships, as well.
- Deedson Vixamar (PPA KSA 01 Pro-Profile) – Best XI at the National Championships
- Samuel Rowan (SLSG Elite 01) – Best XI at the National Championships; Leading scorer at the Midwest Regional Championships with seven goals
- Ty Konrad (Galaxy 2001 Blue) – Golden Ball, Best XI at the National Championships
- Jack Douglas (SLSG Elite 01) – Best XI at the National Championships
- Oswualdo Cruz (McLean Green 01) – Best XI at the National Championships
- Timothy Rolfs (Oklahoma Energy FC) – Best XI at the National Championships
- Cameron Strang (Galaxy 2001 Blue) – Best XI and leading scorer (five goals) at the National Championships
- Jeffrey Masser (Tampa Bay United) – Best XI at the National Championships
- Brennan Breuer (Tampa Bay United) – Best XI at the National Championships
- Nkosi Graham (YMS Premier) – Leading scorer at the Eastern Regional Championships with six goals
- Angel Franco (OC Surf Armour) – Tied for leading scorer at the Far West Regional Championships with six goals
2018 US Youth Soccer ODP Boys Interregional – 2001 Roster
East Region – Carter Houlihan (LVU 00 Black)
South Region – Ian Miller, Kaleem Shabout (Solar Stricker)
West Region – Brendan Dexter, Fritz Kabeiseman (Westside Timbers); Trevor Dillan, Michael Neeley, Dylan Rodriguez Ureche (Sparta United); Carson Standridge (RSL AZ North)