US Youth Soccer National League Girls 2023 North Carolina Event Recap
VIDEOS: March 17 | March 18 | March 19 (1) | March 19 (2) | March 20
GREENSBORO, N.C. — Many of the top 15U-19U Girls teams and players in the US Youth Soccer National League competed March 17-20 in Greensboro, N.C. The event featured teams from both National League P.R.O. and Elite 64, and all games took place at Bryan Park – Truist Soccer Complex.
The Elite 64 matches allowed players from US Youth Soccer’s top club-based league to compete against each other in unique matchups. Meanwhile, National League P.R.O. — the top team-based league in US Youth Soccer — featured games that saw league standings near their final form and teams begin to secure berths to the 2023 US Youth Soccer National Championships.
During the action in Greensboro, 18 girls teams secured their place in the National Championships via National League P.R.O., including defending National Champion 16U Wasatch SC 07G ZB (UT).
“It’s super important,” Wasatch coach Zach Burton said after his team secured a berth back to the National Championships on Saturday. “If we don’t win here, we don’t get the opportunity to defend our title. The girls came in focused today, ready to play. Everyone has the same goal, and everyone is trying to win and do their best. The team that performs the most precise has the best opportunity to win, and they did it well today.”
While Wasatch is heading back to Nationals in July to try to defend its 2022 title, other teams — and clubs — are looking forward to experiencing the National Championships for the first time. Coppermine SC Girls 2007 Elite 64 (MD) became the first team from Coppermine SC to qualify for the National Championships, and it did so while finishing in first place in National League P.R.O. 16U Group D.
“It took a lot of heart from our team,” Coppermine SC forward Laina Elliott said. “It took putting all we had into the game. We’ve been practicing to get to this moment. Being the first team to go to the National Championships out of Coppermine definitely feels good.”
2023 USYS National Championships | Qualifiers via National League P.R.O. (Girls)
*National League P.R.O. Group Champion
(Only groups that played in Greensboro are listed below. Click here to see the full list of qualifiers.)
15U Girls – Group C
NJ Premier G2008 (NJ)*
15U Girls – Group D
FC Frederick 08 Girls (MD)*
STA-MUSC 2008G NL (NJ)
16U Girls – Group D
Coppermine SC Girls 2007 Elite 64 (MD)*
KHA North 2007G Red (OH)
16U Girls – Group E
Wasatch SC 07G ZB (UT)*
17U Girls – Group D
FC Revolution Reds 06 (PA-E)*
NJ Premier G2006 (NJ)
17U Girls – Group E
RUSA FC G06 Gold (NJ)
WYSA 06G Explosion (NC)
18U Girls – Group C
McLean YS Virginia Union 05 Girls (VA)*
Patriots FC Girls 05 (NY-E)
Legends IE G05 (CA-S)
NJ Nationals 2005 Girls Elite (NJ)
19U Girls – Group C
Penn FC Youth 04G Lightning (PA-E)
Hoosier FC 2004G Elite Wolves (IN)
FCE 2004 Elite (PA-E)
STA MUSC 04/05G NL (NJ)
“Greensboro provided a great conclusion to our combined Elite 64 and National League P.R.O. girls events,” National League Commissioner Simon Collins said. “It’s always great to have so many talented players together in one location, and the on-field performances showed why these players have earned the right to compete at the highest levels of the USYS National League.”
GREENSBORO LOOK BACK: NATIONAL LEAGUE P.R.O.
Recap some of the NL P.R.O. matchups and performances from Greensboro…
Fighting to secure their place at Nationals, Group D top contenders FC Frederick 08 Girls (MD) and STA-MUSC 2008G NL (NJ) took the field Sunday morning in Greensboro.
It was a battle of wills as both sides fought furiously for dominance in the midfield through the first half, but neither team could find their rhythm in the attacking third. FC Frederick’s unrelenting defensive line, led by Molly Ward, thwarted several of STA’s offensive breakaways to keep the New Jersey side from getting a clear shot on frame.
Determined to find a goal, FC Frederick found their flow midway through the second half with quick transitions down the sidelines. Rebounding a save by STA’s keeper, Fiona Collins succeeded in providing the game’s lone goal in the final minutes to secure the Maryland side a 1-0 win. Results later in the day ensured that FC Frederick clinched the Group D title.
Elsewhere in 15U action, NJ Premier G2008 (NJ) conceded just two goals en route to a 7-0-0 record that allowed it to win the 15U Group C title.
Coppermine SC Girls 2007 (MD) maintained its lead atop the 16U Group D standings with a 2-0 win on Sunday against Team Challenger FC G07 Black (OH). The win marked Coppermine’s sixth in as many games, with each contest decided by two goals or less.
The Maryland side grabbed a 21st-minute lead through a Shyann Hansen goal, and it had to fend off several pushes for an equalizer from a threatening Team Challenger attack. Around the hour mark, Team Challenger’s Jordan Rowan forced the Coppermine keeper into a diving save to preserve the lead. Minutes later, the Maryland side doubled its advantage when Gabriela Colon wrapped her foot around a half volley from a tight angle and fired it into the far corner.
On Monday, Coppermine played a winner-take-all game against KHA North 2007G Red (OH). In another close contest, the Maryland side won, 2-1, to clinch the group title.
In Group E, Wasatch SC 07G ZB (UT) won all its games in Greensboro — including its final league game on Tuesday — to finish 6-0-1 and clinch the group title.
A shutout victory on Monday helped RUSA FC G06 Gold (NJ) maintain its lead atop the 17U Group E standings, as it finished its weekend in Greensboro with a 3-0 win against Commack Destroyers G06 (NY-E).
It took just three minutes for the New Jersey side to go in front, as Annabella Ramirez scored the opener to put RUSA on its way. Madeline Hicks made it 2-0 in the 35th minute when she hit a quick shot that slid just inside the left post.
Commack tried to cut into the lead, as it looked for a result to remain in the group’s top three, but RUSA sealed the victory in the 63rd minute. A hand ball led to a penalty kick that Mia Abbey tucked a into the right corner to cap the 3-0 win. The Group E title will be decided by remaining 7th games.
In 17U Group D, FC Revolution Reds 06 (PA-E) picked up a big win against then group leader NJ Premier G2006 (NJ) on the final day in Greensboro to move to the top of the standings, but remaining 7th games will be required to determine the title.
McLean YS Virginia Union 05 Girls (VA) completed a 7-0-0 Group C campaign by winning all three of its games in Greensboro. The Virginia side excelled on both ends of the field — conceding just one goal while scoring more than five per game.
Despite its strong season, McLean needed a result against second-place Patriots FC Girls 05 (NY-E) to secure the Group C title. Patriots, Legends IE G05 (CA-S) and NJ Nationals 2005 Girls Elite (NJ) claimed the groups other berths to the National Championships.
Hoosier FC 2004G Elite Wolves (IN) came away with a crucial three points on Friday night in a tight 19U Group C, as it secured a 4-1 win against FC Europa 2004 Elite (PA-E).
FC Europa grabbed the opening goal with a strike by Kiara White in the 9th minute. The Eastern Pennsylvania side’s lead lasted just 10 minutes, as a Hoosier player flew down the sideline and whipped a cross into the box for a goal. Capitalizing on their momentum, Indiana’s Sophie Shepard tallied her first — and Hoosier’s second — just one minute later.
Sheppard netted her second goal of the game to extend the Indiana side’s lead, but she wasn’t done just yet. A quick counterattack in the 73rd minute found Sheppard with the ball at her feet again. After beating the last defender, she sent in a rocket shot just outside the box to give her a hat trick and clinch a 4-1 victory.
Hoosier FC and FC Europa both secured one of Group C’s berths to the National Championships. FC Europa will play Penn FC Youth 04G Lightning (PA-E) in the teams’ 7th game, which will determine the group winner. Penn FC, which has also secured a place at Nationals, has been dominant this league season and has yet to concede a goal through five games.
To view all of the standings and results from the National League P.R.O. season, click here.
GREENSBORO LOOK BACK: ELITE 64
East County Surf SC Elite 64 08G picked up its second win in Greensboro with a 1-0 victory against Western New York Flash Elite 64 08G on Saturday.
WNY Flash played to a scoreless draw in its first game, and the matchup with East County was another tightly contested one, as the teams went to the break level at 0-0. That scoreline changed in the 46th minute, as Surf managed to break through on a strike from Adrianna Elsass.
East County nearly doubled its lead shortly after scoring the opener, but WNY keeper Sierra Bianchi came up with a series of saves — including a double save on a breakaway and the follow-up effort. WNY produced a couple of chances as it pushed for the equalizer, but East County held on for the clean sheet and 1-0 win.
North Shore United Elite 64 07G and Pittsburgh Hotspurs SC Elite 64 07G took the field Monday morning looking to cap one last win for their respective unbeaten streaks in North Carolina before their journeys home.
The Hotspurs struck first courtesy of Briana Ross, whose 20th-minute goal pulled PHSC into a 1-0 lead. Eager to find an equalizer, the Wisconsin side picked up their pace of play in an effort to contain the action to their attacking third. A quick throw and cross found Madelynn Festering with the ball at her feet for a chip shot just over the keeper’s hands to give North Shore the tying point in the 25th minute.
With the Wisconsin defensive line pushing high, shortly after the start of the second half, Hotspurs slotted a through ball to Ross who once again knocked it into the back of the net. North Shore generated several opportunities, but Pittsburgh held firm to secure a 2-1 finish.
FC Copa Academy Elite 64 06G, currently sitting second in the Northeast Conference, looked to continue their undefeated streak in their Monday matchup against third-ranked Great Lakes Conference foes Fort Wayne United FC Elite 64 06G.
Trying to put Fort Wayne’s feet to the fire, FC Copa applied high pressure from the first whistle to generate chances in front of the goal. Fort Wayne United kept their defensive composure, staying compact and not allowing any clear shots. In the 23rd minute, Hailey Santiago finally broke through and grabbed a goal to give FC Copa the lead.
A rapid play by the New Jersey midfield in the 81st minute created a give and go opportunity for Santiago once again, slipping her into the Indiana 18-yard box to smash a shot into the back of the net. FC Copa’s unwavering defensive line kept Indiana’s late half advances at bay to finish out the match with a 2-0 victory.
Looking to continue their unbeaten streak, Team Boca Elite 64 04/05G squared off with Northeast conference foe FC Copa Academy Elite 64 04/05G to kick off games on Saturday in Greensboro.
Team Boca came close to pulling ahead late in the first half by creating several goal scoring opportunities. Reading the flow of play Copa’s Maura Chawner made numerous big plays shutting down the Florida side’s advances.
Coming out of halftime each side generated breakaways deep into the opposition’s defensive third. An Amalia Holman strike finally landed in the 60th minute to give Team Boca the lead. Keeping the momentum going for Boca, Charlotte Bullen found the back of the net again just two minutes later. Playing until the last whistle was blown Florida’s Hannah Pahl captured a goal in the 89th minute to end the match as a 3-0 victory.
To view all of the results from the Elite 64 action in Greensboro, click here.