US Youth Soccer National League Boys N.C. Showcase Day 3 Recap
WILSON, N.C. (Dec. 9, 2017) — Just one more day remains in the opening weekend of the 2017-18 US Youth Soccer National League Boys season, with Sunday’s matches solidifying team standings until the next meeting in Orlando, Fla., Dec. 28-31, alongside the Disney Showcase.
Saturday’s matches featured the 15U, 16U and 18U age groups, while the 14U and 17U games were postponed due to field conditions. Sunday will feature only shortened 17U matches.
The third day of league play in North Carolina tends to separate the field as teams settle in after an anxious start to the season. While several teams have begun to make strides in the group standings, no division has a clear favorite to claim the title.
The competitiveness of the league has been on full display through three days of play in North Carolina, as teams vie for spots in the 2018 US Youth Soccer National Championships. With so much on the line, the National League games provide college coaches the opportunity to see how the teams and players perform in an intense environment.
“The boys are super excited to know they have the opportunity to play in front of so many college coaches. That’s a big part of coming to National League,” 16U Excel Soccer Academy 02 (AZ) coach Corbett Hess said. “One thing that makes it really exciting for them is the idea that not just the game and score matters, but everything they do in the game matters. They’re working really hard, even when they’re down or up; they’re working hard to perform at all times for these coaches. They know they all have an opportunity that is beyond what they’d normally get.”
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 Frisco, Texas.
The National League is an extension of the highly successful US Youth Soccer Regional Leagues (US Youth Soccer Eastern Regional League, Midwest Regional League, Southern Regional 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 Boys teams will wrap up their opening week of play on Sunday, Dec. 10, as the 17U teams play their third game of the season. Complete standings, scores and schedules, including goal scorers and match information, can be found at the results page here. Click on the score of each game for more information.
Some highlights from Saturday’s matches…
In 15U Blue Division action, Baltimore Celtic Premier (MD) rebounded from a Friday loss with a 4-0 victory over Greater Seattle Surf 03 A (WA). Sean Thompson got Baltimore off and running with a goal in just the second minute of play, and Vincent Danielson added even more momentum with a couple of quick strikes — pushing the Celtic advantage to 3-0 after 20 minutes of play. Tyquan Stroud turned a corner kick into another goal seven minutes later, as Baltimore grabbed full control of the game. Seattle had a couple good looks at goal late in the half, including a blast from the top of the box that forced the Baltimore keeper to make a sprawling save at his right post. Celtic continued to produce dangerous chances in the second half, as it saw out the 4-0 victory to move to six points in the division.
Despite allowing an early goal, CFJ City 2003 Pre-Academy (IL) defeated SLSG 2003 Elite (MO) by a significant margin for its second win in the 15U Blue Division. While Evan Browne scored for SLSG in the fourth minute, CFJ immediately responded with an Abel Aldape goal. CFJ took the lead 10 minutes later thanks to Christian Munoz, who placed the ball in the net. Munoz increased the lead when a ball was slotted through for him to tap into the goal. Later, a crossed ball landed at Jaden Rice, and he kept his shot low to add to CFJ’s goals. To finish off the win, CFJ found Munoz once again on a through ball, allowing him to beat the goalkeeper and earn a hat trick.
In a 15U Red Division match filled with energy, La Roca S CS (UT) came back from a two-goal deficit to defeat Nationals Union 03 Black (MI), 3-2. The Michigan side grabbed the upper hand when Zachary Townsend found the back of the net just six minutes into the game, and Brenden Gervers doubled the lead shortly after halftime. Spencer Brown started the comeback with a 62nd-minute strike for La Roca. After the Nationals Union keeper made some key saves to preserve the lead, La Roca struck twice late. Nicolas Kendi Bellini netted an equalizer in the 79th minute, and Noah Robinson found the back of the net at the end of regulation to give La Roca the dramatic 3-2 win.
Excel Soccer Academy 02 (AZ) picked up its first 16U Blue Division win with a 2-0 victory against Loudoun 02 Red (VA). Excel grabbed a 15th-minute lead when Sergio Lopez lofted a shot from the top of the box that dipped perfectly into the far corner. Another nice build-up shortly after saw a square ball find Ezekiel Anaya in traffic, but his first-time shot rang off the bar. The Arizona side didn’t take long after that near-miss to double its lead. A 34th-minute cross fell to Isaias Corro, whose shot took a deflection before finding the right side netting. Excel produced some chances to extend its lead in the second half, but some close calls and another shot off the crossbar kept the score unchanged. The defense saw out the rest of the game to earn a clean sheet and 2-0 win.
Seattle United 02 Copa (WA) remained undefeated and in the midst of the 16U Red Division race with a 2-1 win on Saturday against Alexandria 02 Red (VA). Hayden Schmehl put Seattle in front in the 15th minute, and that lead remained through halftime. Seattle doubled its advantage after an hour of play when Jack Hennessy beat the keeper. The Virginia side pulled a goal back thanks to Finneas McCaslin’s 79th-minute strike, but Seattle held on in the final moments of the match to secure the 2-1 win.
In a 16U Blue Division matchup, Boca OC 02 White (CA-S) defeated Takoma Park Friends United (MD), 2-0. Boca gained two back-to-back goals as Jose Ventura put the ball in the net in the 10th minute, and Michael Sedano scored one minute later. For the remainder of the game, Boca strived to maintain the shutout, while Takoma Park pushed forward and created many dangerous opportunities, testing Boca’s defense. In the final minutes, Takoma Park nearly cut into Boca’s lead as Christopher Villatoro ripped a long shot that bounced off the crossbar, but Boca did its job and earned the three points for the day.
Baltimore Bays 00 (MD) came back from a one-goal deficit to blow FRAM 00 Lawson (CA-S) out of the water for an 18U Black Division victory. Brian De Leon put FRAM ahead within the second minute of the match as he netted a goal. But after 20 minutes of play, Baltimore earned the equalizer when Seth Onolaja sent a long free kick into the 18-yard box, which bounced off of a few players before Walter Wyatt got a clear shot for a right side finish on goal. As Baltimore took a corner kick, Benjamin Gallagher took a shot that deflected into the goal, giving the Maryland side the lead. In the second half, Baltimore increased its lead as a free kick was played down the line and cut back across the goal for Jean Christian Guichard to finish. Baltimore then added two more goals from Ryan Belfiore and Wyatt to top off the victory.
Greater Seattle Surf 00 A (WA) picked up three points with its 3-1 win over USA/Mt. Pleasant 00 Premier (SC) in 18U White Division action. The Washington side went up 1-0 in the eighth minute as Jacob Moon netted a goal, and seven minutes later, Keegan Rubio added another. In the second half, USA/Mt. Pleasant kept a lot of the possession and had several close calls, especially when Charles Marino and Liam Hudock launched a few shots on target, but Greater Seattle goalkeeper Sebastian Farris made many critical saves to keep USA/Mt. Pleasant from catching up. In the 67th minute, Rubio scored his second of the game as he ran onto a ball played past the defenders and chipped the goalkeeper for a back left finish into the goal. The South Carolina team eventually got one back when Theodore Wichmann scored, but the whistle blew right after his goal, and Greater Seattle Surf claimed the win.