US Youth Soccer National League Boys teams complete Texas event
ROUND ROCK, Texas — Many of the top 13U and 14U Boys teams and players in the US Youth Soccer National League competed Nov. 11-14 in Round Rock, Texas. The event featured teams from both National League P.R.O. and Elite 64.
The National League P.R.O. games all counted toward league standings, as teams began their pursuits of top-of-the-table finishes that can result in direct advancement to the 2023 USYS National Championships. Combined with the excitement of top talent from Elite 64 clubs matching up during the weekend, National League Round Rock provided a great atmosphere for youth soccer.
“I want our players to face teams from different part of the U.S. because we want to see how the level is like outside of our league,” said DUSC 09 Blue (NY-E) coach Eglusel Adili following his team’s win in a matchup of unbeaten National League P.R.O. sides. “I think this is the toughest league in the U.S. Competing here for a team is very important to know where the teams are and where our level is. This tells us how much we have to work and where we need to do better. It’s very important.”
LOOK BACK: NATIONAL LEAGUE P.R.O.
DUSC B2009 Blue (NY-E) and Sporting Columbus Boys 2009 I (OH) each used stout defensive efforts to come away from Round Rock with three wins apiece. Both sides conceded just once during the action in Texas, and DUSC came away with a slight edge in overall goal differential to climb to the top of the standings. DUSC and Sporting will face off in the last game in Tampa, which could prove to be the deciding factor for the group title.
Just one team came away from Round Rock unscathed in Group B, as Team Boca 09 Boys White (FL) went 3-0-0 while scoring eight goals and conceding just one. Club Ohio 09B National (OH) recorded three clean sheets while picking up two wins and a draw, and it sits just behind Team Boca in the standings. BVB International Academy Pittsburgh 09B Premier (PA-W) was the only other team in the group to secure two wins in Texas and is currently in third place.
The smallest margins separate all the teams in Group C, as no team is more than three away from an even goal differential after three days of play. Oregon Premier FC 09B Academy (OR) is currently in first place with 7 points in the standings after two wins and a draw in Round Rock. Barca Academy PRO Miami (FL) is just one point back but has played an extra game, managing a win and three draws. Many of the games in Tampa will greatly impact which teams punch tickets to the National Championships.
3RSC B09 Black (WA) leads a crowded group of challengers in Group D with nine points after going undefeated in Round Rock, but Capital City SC 09B Sky South (TX-S), EBU U14B Elite 09 (WI), and KC Legends 2009 Academy (KS) are all just one game back. Tampa’s matches will prove to be vital, as 3RSC faces off against EBU and Capital City.
“It’s very valuable to start with two wins, but the goal is to get to Nationals so we’ve got five more to go,” 3RSC coach Omar Madrigal said after the team’s second win in Round Rock. “We’re excited and starting to believe in ourselves. We’re a small team from a small town, and we see we’re capable of fighting against anyone.”
Three teams — Galaxy SC 2009 MWC (IL), Liverpool FCIA Ann Arbor 09B Academy (MI), and Hoosier FC 2009 Elite Wolves (IN) — are level with seven points at the top of the leaderboards after two wins and a draw in Round Rock, but Galaxy holds the goal-differential advantage. February is a pivotal month for Group E, as Galaxy and Liverpool will square off in Tampa with the top of the group on the line.
LOOK BACK: ELITE 64
Recap some of the notable Elite 64 matchups that took place in Round Rock…
Sparta United Elite 64 10B and Ohio Galaxies FC Elite 64 10B entered their matchup on Saturday with perfect records in Elite 64 — at 6-0-0 and 7-0-0 in their respective standings. That quality shined through in their game in Round Rock, as Sparta edged Galaxies, 1-0.
Sparta spent most of the first half in the attacking half and put several attempts on target, but Ohio managed to keep the Utah side from breaking through. That changed in the second half, as Derek Chavez curled a 42nd-minute shot just beyond the outstretched arms of the Ohio keeper — providing the difference in the Sparta victory.
“It’s really nice to come out here and have a team that can play at a high level, put on a lot more pressure, and play in a different way than we’re used to,” Sparta coach Justus Koelliker said. “It’s very valuable for us and helps us to get better.”
United Futbol Academy Elite 64 10B (GA) and Michigan Tigers FC Elite 64 10B (MI) squared off in Round Rock after impressive starts to their Elite 64 campaigns, with the former 7-0-1 and latter 5-1-0. Saturday’s matchup displayed all of the talent that led to those records, but the Tigers impressed with a 3-1 win.
Dane Behm opened the scoring for the Michigan side in the second minute, catching United Futbol Academy early. Kaden Cahill doubled his team’s’ lead in the 18th minute, and even though both teams had chances that they couldn’t capitalize on, the score remained that way until the second half.
Michigan Tigers’ talented forward, Jason Kopera, added his first –and the team’s third – in the 50th minute to cap off a strong performance and a good start to the weekend in Round Rock. Julian Rodriguez-Martinez clawed one back for United Futbol Academy two minutes later, but his side couldn’t muster up a comeback.
Liverpool FC-IA Michigan Elite 64 10B (MI) used an early goal to earn a hard-fought win over Valor Soccer Elite 64 10B (VA) during the second day of Elite 64 action in Round Rock.
The third-minute goal – a first-time, left footed shot – from Jackson Ober found the side netting and put his team in front for good after he connected with a cross. Liverpool ran its offense through Joseph Meteer and came close to finding a second, but the Valor defense locked in and held a potent offense, which scored six goals in its first game in Texas, to one.
PDA Elite 64 09B (NJ) and East County Surf Soccer Club Elite 64 09B (CA-S) squared off in a closely contested National League Elite 64 matchup on Sunday night in Round Rock, with the latter winning 2-1.
Oscar Serrano opened up the scoring in the 15th minute to put Surf in front. The goal opened the game up and the rest of the half saw the two teams trading chances, but neither able to add the second.
PDA gave itself life in the second half, with goalkeeper Leon Bernewitz saving a breakaway, and his heroics were rewarded soon after. Jackson Kuoh converted a penalty kick to level the game in the 43rd minute, but Surf had an answer minutes later. Angel Alexander Villatoro slotted home the go-ahead goal, which proved to be enough for his side to take all three points.
A couple late goals helped Madison 56ers Elite 64 10B pull away for a 4-0 win against Tigres San Antonio Elite 64 10B to complete an unbeaten weekend of Elite 64 action in Round Rock.
Armando Sanchez Herrera scored the lone first-half goal to put Madison in front. Tigres keeper Hideki Uno made several strong saves early in the second half to keep his side within a goal, but a deflected shot led to a second Madison goal in the 36th minute.
Following a hand ball in the box, Cormac Carlson converted a penalty kick to extend the 56ers’ lead to 3-0. The Wisconsin side sealed its victory when Aaron Lara headed a corner kick off the underside of the bar for the final goal in the 4-0 victory.
Madison will look to carry over its form from Round Rock when it aims to build on its 3-3-0 record in Elite 64 league play.
In a tense matchup of Elite 64 play on Monday in Round Rock, Real Colorado Elite 64 10B and Idaho Rush Soccer Club Elite 64 10B played to a scoreless draw after neither side could separate itself.
Real Colorado’s goalkeeper Cohen Teets was pivotal in keeping the score level during the first half, stopping a breakaway that looked like it would give his side a deficit and put Idaho Rush in front.
In a back-and-forth second half, both Real Colorado and Idaho Rush traded chances while attempting to find a breakthrough, but the defenses stifled all chances.
Michigan Jaguars Elite 64 09B and Princeton SA Elite 64 09B combined for four wins in as many games over the weekend, and the two sides matched up on Monday in their finale in Round Rock.
Colton Papalexis put the Jaguars in front in the opening minute, and Evan Scirri doubled the advantage when he slid his left-footed shot around the keeper in the 8th minute. Princeton began to get its footing, but Michigan earned a penalty kick just after the break, and Austin Scheel converted to extend the Jaguars’ lead to 3-0.
Princeton came close to cutting into the lead a few times and eventually broke through in the 45th minute. Anri Imerlishvili ran on to a ball behind the Michigan back line and struck a composed finish inside the far post. That proved to be a consolation goal, as the Jaguars held on for the 3-1 victory.