US Youth Soccer National League Girls N.C. Showcase concludes
Day 4 of 4 complete
WILSON, N.C. (Via US Youth Soccer) — After four days of play, the US Youth Soccer National League 16U, 17U, 18U and 19U Girls have solidified their spots in the standings until half the field meets again at the National League Winter Showcase in Lakewood Ranch, Fla., where they will continue competing for a league title and a ticket to the 2019 US Youth Soccer National Championships in Overland Park, Kan.
The National League brings together some of the best teams in the country, all of which have had to earn their place in the league through success in US Youth Soccer’s top competitive programs. Hundreds of collegiate coaches, as well as members of the U.S. Soccer staff, attended the National League matches in North Carolina to scout some of the top talent in the country. Player evaluation is enhanced by the competitive level and importance of each game, as teams compete for a berth in the National Championships.
The competition within each age group has been very close, and multiple teams are still very much alive for every division title. The first place team’s lead is two points or less in eight of the 14 divisions, and two divisions have ties at the top of the standings. Meanwhile, just nine teams came away with a win in each of their four games.
Two of the 4-0-0 teams are defending National Champions — 17U SJEB Rush 02 Academy Blue (NJ) and 19U Sunrise Sting 2000 (FL) — who are looking to win their respective National League divisions and return to Nationals for a chance to defend their titles.
“National League has been great competition for us and we enjoy the opportunity to play the top teams in the country. For us, it’s an amazing opportunity to hopefully get back to Nationals by winning the division,” said SJEB Rush 02 Academy head coach Dave Barbour. “Getting these four wins is exactly what we set out to do. We wanted to make sure that we had a nice advantage heading into Florida, and it relieves a little of the pressure, but we know that we still have some very competitive teams to play against in order to clinch this.”
The National League provides an avenue for teams to play in meaningful matches against top competition from across the country for continued development. In addition to recruiting opportunities, National League teams compete for the National League title and one of four slots from each gender age group to the annual US Youth Soccer National Championships. Teams in the 14U-18U age groups are also competing for a chance to re-qualify for the National League’s 2019-20 season.
National League action continues on Thursday, Dec. 6, when the 14U-15U Girls and 14U-19U Boys kick off their seasons in North Carolina. 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 Sunday’s matches…
A late goal helped Nationals Union 03 Black (MI) to a 2-1 win over Indie Chicas 03 (ID) in White Division play. Each side entered the game sitting mid-table, and Nationals grabbed early control when Nalia Gebauer found the back of the net in the second minute. The Michigan side nearly added to its lead in the 30th minute, but Chicas keeper Breanna Norris fended off a blast to the near post from the Union’s Mia Leonetti. A few minutes later, Norris made another save on a well-struck free kick to keep her side within a goal. Those saves paid off in the 60th minute, as Sophie Drown equalized for the Chicas. However, Allison Orsargos scored a goal in the 79th minute to give Nationals Union the 2-1 win. The victory pushed Nationals to eight points in the standings, while Lou Fusz 03 Blue (MO) leads the White Division with a perfect 4-0-0 record.
SC Waukesha 03 Blue (WI) defeated GPS NY Regional Team (NY), 2-0, on the fourth day of play to keep itself within striking distance of a top spot in the Black Division going into the next weekend of play. Waukesha kept the pressure on GPS most of the game starting from the whistle and earned an early goal when Sarah Wegener found the back of the net. The Wisconsin side doubled its advantage midway through the half as Lola Wojcik dribbled at a defender and then finished hard and low to the bottom corner to make it 2-0. GPS almost conceded again, but GPS keeper Jillian Groff made a great double save. Waukesha defense continued its lockdown defense in the second half, limiting GPS to only one or two opportunities that didn’t cause much trouble. The win leaves Waukesha with seven points in the Black Division and with work to do in its final three National League games.
With a 1-0 win over PDA Shore Wave (NJ) on Sunday, Legends FC 02 Academy II (CA-S) remains on the heels of the White Division co-leaders after the opening week of the season. Legends spent much of the game venturing into the attacking third, but PDA did well to keep the game scoreless. The PDA keeper made a diving save on a dangerous 30th-minute free kick, and the wall blocked another threatening Legends free kick in the 60th minute. Legends finally broke through in the 77th minute on a Marissa Ortega goal. Camille Hawley drove into the box from the left wing and slid a perfect cross to the back post, where Ortega met the ball for the finish. Legends held on in the final minutes to earn the shutout victory for its third straight win. North Shore United 2002 Blue (WI) and Covington FC FCT Tigers (LA) are tied at the top of the White Division with 10 points each.
Sparta 02 Premier SP (UT) put itself in a good spot in the Black Division after the first weekend of play with a 2-0 victory over Team Chicago Academy 2002 Elite (IL). Team Chicago had the best chance early as a lofted shot from the right flank had to be parried away by the keeper. As the two teams battled back and forth, Sparta grabbed the lone first-half goal in the 35th minute thanks to Paje Rasmussen. Chicago’s best pressure came up the wing play, but it couldn’t find any connecting passes into the center of the box. Sparta sealed the deal in the 80th minute as Kallyn Chynoweth slid a shot under the keeper to make it 2-0 and to give her side an important three points at the end of the weekend.
In a matchup of teams near the top of the Blue Division standings, 1776 United FC 01 Xtreme (PA-E) earned a 3-1 win over Nationals Union 01 Red (MI). Xtreme took a 19th-minute lead when Caitlin Donovan collected a cross at the top of the 18-yard box and finished past the keeper. Donovan pushed the 1776 United lead to 3-0, as she scored two times in three minutes early in the second half. Nationals pulled a goal back in the 81st minute when Tahra Brodbine lunged for a bouncing ball in the box and poked it inside the right post. However, Donovan’s hat trick proved to be too much for Nationals, as 1776 United held on for the 3-1 win. Celtic FC Premier JR (UT) leads the Blue Division after securing four wins in as many games to open the season.
MI Jaguars 2001 Green (MI) sits alone at the top of the Red Division after defeating defending National Champion Rebels 2001 Elite Marquez (CA-S), 3-2. Rebel’s Olivia Sekimoto put the Cal South team ahead in the 14th minute as she scored her fourth goal on the week. Michigan Jaguars battled back and claimed the lead as Julia Stadtherr and Kylie Davis scored to give the Michigan side a 2-1 advantage heading into the second half. Erin Healy leveled the score in the 56th minute for Rebels, but it was the Michigan Jaguars who had the final say as Davis added her second of the match in the 81st minute to seal the 3-2 victory. The victory gives Michigan Jaguars a perfect 4-0-0 record after the first week of play, setting themselves up as the team to beat heading into the second set of games.
In the Blue Division, MapleBrook Fury (MN) secured a 1-0 win against Legends FC G00 Academy II (CA-S) to stay a game behind group leader Sunrise Sting 2000 (FL) after the opening week of play. Both MapleBrook and Legends entered Sunday with two wins and a loss through three days of play, and little separated the teams in their match. Each side generated periods of possession, but the game moved late into the second half in a scoreless tie. Sarah Stange provided the game’s lone goal when she found the back of the net in the 70th minute to put MapleBrook in front. That proved to be the difference, as the Minnesota side held on for the shutout victory.
Campton United Red (IL) looked to have a return to the National Championships on the back of its mind as it defeated Celtic FC 00 Premier (UT), 4-1, in a match of the top two teams in the Red Division. Two first-half goals, by Campton’s Saydie Holland and Jenna Dominguez, put the Illinois side ahead early, but Celtic pulled one back before the half as Megan Astle got on the board. Campton almost increased its lead early in the second half but a shot from Hannah Rittenhouse managed to hit both posts before bouncing to the Celtic Keeper. Campton kept on the pressure and got its third goal after a scrum in the box from a corner kick saw Rachael Lutter finish from close range. Celtic’s Chelsea Peterson kept her team in fighting range, making a great one-handed save on an equally impressive blast from Celeste Wahlberg. Campton’s Caludia Najera added Campton’s final goal of the game and then the Illinois keeper made sure she did her part in keeping the teams separated as she made a great two-handed diving save late in the game.