US Youth Soccer National League Boys wrap up exciting 2014-15 season
LAS VEGAS, Nev. (Via US Youth Soccer) – 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 at Heritage Park in Henderson, Nev., alongside the 2015 Players Showcase. Sunday marked the final day of the 2014-15 boys 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 2014-15 season was an exciting one for the boys, as five titles were decided on the final day of play. The top two finishers per division earned a place at this summer’s US Youth Soccer National Championships, July 21-26 in Tulsa, Okla., 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.
Just one defending US Youth Soccer National Champion — Under-17 Baltimore Celtic 97/98 (MD) — managed to claim a National League division title, and it took a win on the final day of the season to accomplish that feat. Baltimore Celtic was also the lone boys’ club to capture two division titles, as its Under-14 side also wrapped up a division crown on Sunday.
“We talk about it every week. When you come to the National League, every game is a big game. Every team is a quality team,” said Mike Lookingland, coach of Under-14 Baltimore Celtic Dynasty (MD). “Everybody is beating everybody. Everyone has a really good team, and anyone can win on any one day. You’ve got to be focused, disciplined and very determined to get results.”
By claiming the Under-18 Blue Division, CUP Gold 96/97 (OH-S) gave Cincinnati United Premier its fourth boys’ division title — currently the most by any club. Meanwhile, the most impressive performance of the season was produced by Under-18 FC Dallas 97 Premier (TX-N), which went 7-0-0 and broke the single-season boys’ team scoring record with 24 goals.
The FC Dallas performance was a rare exception to a very competitive season that saw many division titles and berths to the National Championships come down to the final few days of play. Two Las Vegas-based teams were among the sides to punch their tickets to Nationals on Sunday, as they earned an opportunity to celebrate in their hometown.
Under-14 Downtown LVSC 01 Academy coach Kevin Argue said the competition in the National League was some of the best his team has seen, and it will help the players as they look forward to competing in Tulsa this summer.
“Experience is everything, and you don’t get that experience unless you get to the higher level. The National League is the higher level,” Argue said. “It gives them the experience to play against the best teams in the country and the best individuals in the country. The confidence they gain from this will be unbelievable for them.”
2015 US Youth Soccer National Championship Qualifiers via National League
Blue Champion: Downtown LVSC 01 Academy (NV)*
Blue Runner-up: San Diego SC 00 Academy Navy (CA-S)*
Red Champion: Baltimore Celtic Dynasty (MD)
Red Runner-up: LFSC Geerling White (MO)*
Blue Champion: Fullerton Rangers White (CA-S)
Blue Runner-up: United FA 00 Premier (GA)
Red Champion: South Carolina United FC 99 Elite (SC)
Red Runner-up: Arlington Eagles Red (VA)*
Blue Champion: SDFC Rangers (NJ)
Blue Runner-up: Loudoun 98 Red (VA)*
Red Champion: Penn Fusion 98 (PA-E)
Red Runner-up: Albion SC White (CA-S)*
Blue Champion: Arlington Impact Red (VA)
Blue Runner-up: Santa Barbara SC White (CA-S)
Red Champion: Baltimore Celtic 97/98 (MD)*
Red Runner-up: Sunrise Elite 97/98 (FL)
Blue Champion: CUP Gold 96/97 (OH-S)
Blue Runner-up: LVSA 97 Red (NV)*
Red Champion: FC Dallas 97 Premier (TX-N)
Red Runner-up: Fullerton Rangers 96 White (CA-S)
National League action continues Friday, March 20, as 48 girls teams kick off their final weekend of league play at the Bettye Wilson Soccer Complex in Las Vegas, Nev.
Some highlights from Sunday’s matches…
Downtown LVSC 01 Academy (NV) jumped from third to first place in the Under-14 Blue Division with a hard fought 1-0 win against San Diego SC 00 Academy Navy (CA-S). Juan Estrada scored the game’s lone goal when he found the back of the net in the 22nd minute. San Diego created some dangerous chances, but the Las Vegas defense stood strong to record the shutout. Results in other group games allowed San Diego, which entered Sunday atop the group, to hold on to second place and also punch its ticket to Nationals.
Baltimore Celtic Dynasty (MD) secured the Under-14 Red Division championship with a 2-0 win over McLean 00 Green (VA). The Maryland side took a 1-0 lead into halftime after an early strike from Peter Mangione. Baltimore maintained that advantage before adding an insurance goal in the final minutes. After the McClean keeper came off his line to make a sprawling save, Baltimore’s Bai Sankoh chipped a follow-up shot just under the bar to cap his side’s 2-0 victory.
Elsewhere in the Under-14 Red Division, United FA 01 Premier (GA) needed a win or tie against Sparta 01 JK (UT) on Sunday to clinch a top-two finish and berth to Nationals. However, Sparta came out with good energy and took the lead in the 25th minute on a goal by Easton Harryman. United pushed for an equalizer, but Sparta remained organized and held on for the shutout victory. The United FA loss opened the door for LFSC Geerling White (MO), which used a 3-0 win on Sunday to finish second in the group.
For the second straight game in which it needed a win to qualify for Nationals, Real Colorado National 99/00 (CO) came up just a goal short. FRAM Lawson (CA-S) spoiled Real’s hopes of a second-place finish in the Under-15 Red Division, as it held on for a 1-0 victory on Sunday. FRAM’s Mason Briggs provided the game’s lone goal, as he found the back of the net in the 60th minute to help his side to victory. The Colorado loss allowed Arlington Eagles Red (VA) to hold on to second place in the group and punch its ticket to Nationals.
The Under-15 Blue Division was decided on Sunday, as Fullerton Rangers White (CA-S) took the title and United FA 00 Premier (GA) finished in second place.
Penn Fusion 98 (PA-E) capped a strong season with a 2-1 win over Michigan Wolves 99 (MI) that helped it capture the Under-16 Red Division crown. After a scoreless first half, Evan Anderson struck in the 46th minute for Penn Fusion to put his side on top. Michigan’s Kyle DeSana responded just two minutes later to level the score, but the Pennsylvania side regained the lead on Frank DeRosa’s 58th-minute goal. Penn Fusion held on to that lead to take the victory, which allowed it to finish ahead of second-place Albion SC White (CA-S).
Sunday’s results allowed Loudoun 98 Red (VA) to finish in second place in the Under-16 Blue Division, while SDFC Rangers (NJ) took the group title.
Santa Barbara SC White (CA-S) came up just short in its bid for the Under-17 Blue Division title, as it played familiar foe FC Golden State Platinum (CA-S) to a 2-2 tie on Sunday. Santa Barbara took a 14th-minute lead on a Juan Alvarez free kick goal, but Golden State responded with an Andrew Flores strike to level the game before halftime. Timothy Heiduk found the back of the net in the 55th minute to help Santa Barbara regain the lead. However, Golden State once again pulled even when Jesus Granados beat the keeper in the 60th minute. Neither team generated a game-winner, as the Cal South sides finished even at 2-2. The tie pulled Santa Barbara level with Arlington Impact Red (VA) with 16 points, but the Virginia side claims the title thanks to a win over Santa Barbara in North Carolina.
In the Under-17 Red Division, Baltimore Celtic 97/98 (MD) picked up a key 2-0 win over Chicago Magic PSG Preacademy (IL). The victory not only gave the Maryland side a top-two finish, but helped it claim the division title. Baltimore took an early lead when Aquinas Akinlosotu hit a shot from distance that flew into the upper-90. U.S. Under-17 National Team forward Keegan Kelly doubled the lead in the 68th minute, as Baltimore shut out Chicago to finish on top of the division.
Hometown side LVSA 97 Red (NV) recorded a 3-0 win over Eastside FC 96 Red (WA) to cap a 7-point weekend that helped it finish in second place in the Under-18 Blue Division. Jackson Dietrich gave LVSA a 35th-minute lead, and Matthew Fike turned a pair of second-half corner kicks into goals to help the Nevada side to the 3-0 victory. Two wins and a tie during the weekend helped LVSA move from fourth to second place and punch its ticket to Nationals.
The Under-18 Blue Division was decided on Saturday, as FC Dallas 97 Premier (TX-N) claimed the title and Fullerton Rangers 96 White (CA-S) finished in second place.