US Youth Soccer National League Boys wrap up play in Orlando, Fla.
ORLANDO, Fla. (Via US Youth Soccer) — The US Youth Soccer National League Boys teams competing this weekend wrapped up their 2015-16 seasons on Tuesday at the ESPN Wide World of Sports in Orlando, Fla., as they played alongside the Disney Soccer Showcase. The 48 remaining boys teams will finish their seasons and solidify the league standings March 11-13 in Las Vegas, Nev.
League play will continue on Thursday when 32 National League Girls teams continue their seasons at the ESPN Wide World of Sports, playing alongside the Disney Soccer Showcase.
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.
Six boys teams were able to secure their spot among the top two in the standings this weekend, with just two division title secured — leaving a lot to play for when the remaining teams meet in Las Vegas.
Solar Chelsea Red 99 (TX-N) is one of the six teams, and will be headed back to the National Championships for the third time in four years.
“When we got there the first time we were extremely proud,” said Solar Chelsea head coach Nuno Passos. The second time we went and lost was a downer and we didn’t know if we’d ever get back. We’ve worked hard to get back here after a year of being away.”
“The fact that it is in Frisco, Texas and that we’re from Texas just makes it that much more sweet. It doesn’t really matter where it was though, these kids were determined to be there no matter what. I am just so proud that for the third time in four years we’ll get our third crack at trying to win a National Championship.”
2016 US Youth Soccer National Championship Qualifiers via the National League
Blue Champion: Lehigh Valley United 97 (PA-E)*
The National League is an extension of the highly successful US Youth Soccer Regional Leagues (US Youth Soccer Region I Champions 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.
Some highlights from Tuesday’s matches…
United FA 01 Premier (GA) defeated McLean 00 Green (VA) 2-1 to punch its ticket to the National Championships as it finishes in the top two in the Under-15 Blue Division. McLean’s Abel Luwis opened the scoring in the 27th minute after receiving a ball over the top of the United FA defense. Luwis slotted home his shot to make the score 1-0 in favor of the Virginia side. United FA equalized just four minutes later when Mario Ventura found the back of the net. Needing just a tie to clinch a top two spot, disaster struck for McLean when an own goal put them down 2-1 in the 58th minute. The Virginia side searched for an equalizer but couldn’t find the back of the net and United FA would claim the 2-1 victory. United FA will now wait to see what happens with the other teams in Vegas to see if it finishes in the top spot in the division, while McLean waits to see if it stays in the top two.
GSA 01 Premier (GA) went into its match with Baltimore Celtic Dynasty 00/01 (MD) looking for a win to strengthen its chance at finishing top two in the Under-15 Red Division. Celtic threw a wrench in those plans early when Danique Parker beat the GSA keeper from close range in just the 6th minute of play. GSA leveled quickly when Menkaseh Tokpa hit a long range strike just three minutes later to level the sides at 1-1. Celtic found the game winner in the 53rd minute on a Luke Davis goal and the game finished 2-1. GSA will watch closely to see what happens in Las Vegas as they will need a lot of help to stay in the top two.
After falling to FC Dallas 2000 Premier (TX-N) 3-1 on the final day of Under-16 Blue Division play, Concorde Fire 99/00 (GA) will need a lot of help from teams in Las Vegas to remain in the top two. FC Dallas started the scoring when Garrett Baughman beat the keeper in the 27th minute to make the score 1-0. Eddie Sanchez made it 2-0 justseven minutes later when he slotted his shot passed the Concorde keeper. Chris Schneider pulled one back for the Georgia side in the second half but FC Dallas’ Nicholas Garcia scored an insurance goal in the final minute of play to bring the final score to 3-1 in favor of the North Texas side.
In the Under-16 Red Division, Dix Hills Hurricanes (NY-E) needed all 80 minutes to secure its 2-1 over Chicago Fire Academy (IL). Dix Hills looked like they may run away with the game after a goal in just the 5th minute by John Arauz but Chicago hung close. Chicago’s Omar Carreno leveled the game in midway through the second half when he found the end of a cross from a teammate and expertly headed the ball passed the keeper to make the score 1-1. Dix Hills claimed victory in the last minute of play when Samuel Steinberg raced down the sideline around a defender and cut into the box. Steinberg poked the ball under the sliding keeper to bring the final score to 2-1. With the win, Dix Hills clinches a top two spot in the division and will wait to see if they hold the top spot after the four other Red Division teams play in Vegas.
Baltimore Celtic 98/99 (MD) clinched a spot to the National Championships Monday and looked to increase its chances at finishing in first as it faced off against Houston Express (TX-S) on the final day of Under-17 Blue Division play. Houston opened up the game’s scoring in the 39th minute on a beautiful strike from Saul Amaya that curled away from the keeper and into the side net to give Houston a 1-0 lead. That lead wouldn’t hold, as George Nichols leveled for Celtic in the last minute of the first half. Celtic added two more second half goals from Dominic Duncan to bring the final score to 3-1. With the win, Celtic clinches a top two finish and earns a chance to defend their 2015 National Championship. Celtic will now wait to see if its 19 points is enough to hold first place in the division.
Solar Chelsea Red 99 (TX-N) clinched the top spot in the Under-17 Red Division and earned its place in the 2016 US Youth Soccer National Championships after defeating CESA 98 Premier (SC) 2-0. Solar scored the game’s two first half goals when Nickolas West and Carlos Flores scored just one minute apart in the 18th and 19th minutes. Solar held off a relentless CESA barrage in the second half to hold the score at 2-0 and finish as Red Division Champs. Loudoun 98 Red (VA) will join Solar at the National Championships, as it clinched second in the division after defeating Penn Fusion 98 (PA-E) 1-0.
After missing their chance to clinch the Under-18 Blue Division title yesterday, Lehigh Valley United 98 (PA-E) tied Arlington Impact Red (VA) 1-1 to claim first place in the division. Lehigh Valley’s Evan Vare scored the game’s lone first half goal in the 19th minute to give Lehigh Valley the 1-0 lead. The game was back and forth the rest of the way but Arlington finally equalized in the 90th minute when William McCreary tapped in a through ball. Arlington pushed in added time for an equalizer, as a win over Lehigh Valley would clinch first place for Arlington. The final whistle blew and Arlington will now wait for the games in Las Vegas to be completed to see if its 14 points is enough to earn it a place in the National Championships.
Alliance Academy 98 Black (MI) and FC Alliance 98 Black (TN) played a back and forth game to a 0-0 tie on the final day of Under-18 Red Division play. With no teams at Disney earning enough points to advance, the games in Las Vegas will decide which two teams will advance from the Red Division to the US Youth Soccer National Championship in Frisco, Texas.
National League Boys action continues March 11-13, at the Players College Showcase in Las Vegas, Nev. Complete standings, scores and schedules, including goal scorers and match information, can be found at the results page here.