US Youth Soccer National League Season Preview: 14U Boys
(Via US Youth Soccer) – The US Youth Soccer National League 2017-2018 boys season kicks off December 7 in North Carolina. Continue reading for a season preview of the 14U boys age group.
After claiming the 2017 US Youth Soccer Region I Championship, Real Jersey FC 04 (NJ) looks to be a leading contender to capture the 14U Boys Blue Division title. Along with the rest of the teams in this age group, Real Jersey will be making its first appearance in the league and is one of a few teams with experience on the national stage.
The New Jersey side finished third in the group stage at the 2017 US Youth Soccer National Championships, as it came up just short of advancing on the final day of preliminaries. Real Jersey will use the experience it gained in Frisco, Texas, to jump out to a fast start in North Carolina and put itself in position to compete for the division crown.
While Real Jersey is the lone Regional Champion in the Blue Division, it’s certainly not the only one with experience in big games. Sporting Omaha FC Elite 04 (NE) advanced to the 2017 US Youth Soccer Region II Championship final, where it jumped out to an early lead before falling, 2-1, to the eventual National Champion.
Two other Regional finalists join the group, including Oklahoma Energy FC 04 (Central) (OK), which showcased a stingy defense on its way to the US Youth Soccer Region III Championships final. FBSL Tuzos Academy 04 (AZ), the US Youth Soccer Region IV Championships finalist, also narrowly missed out on a spot at Nationals after a one-goal loss to close out its run in Seattle, Wash.
Meanwhile, Potomac Soccer Association (MD) was dominant during US Youth Soccer Eastern Regional League action and could finish near the top of the Blue Division standings if its play carries over to the National League.
With the 2017 US Youth Soccer National Championship and US Youth Soccer Region II Championship already on its resume, it’s clear St. Louis Scott Gallagher Elite (MO) is one of the favorites to compete for the 14U Boys Red Division title. The Missouri side will have to withstand the best shot from each of its division opponents, as SLSG will enter the season with a target on its back after its string of successes earlier this year.
Whether at Regionals or Nationals, SLSG showed it can earn results in a variety of ways, as it showed a balance of timely scoring and sound defense from game to game. That will need to translate over and be sustained for all seven matches for the team to continue its winning ways in its first National League season.
A couple of teams in the Red Division already showed an ability to do well in a league format. LMSC Invictus (PA-E) went 7-0-0 in the Eastern Regional League Red Division while using an explosive attack to compile a plus-37 goal differential. Bethesda Blue 04 (MD) also put together an impressive Eastern Regional League campaign, as it went 5-1-1 in the Blue Division.
Sporting BV SKC Academy 04 (KS), GPS Lexington SA 04 Gold (SC) and NM Rush 04 (NM)each advanced to their respective Regional Championship knockout rounds, so they’ll also bring some big-game experience to the division.
Thomas Napoli (Real JFC) – Best XI at the National Championships
Joey Cino (Real JFC) – Best XI at the National Championships
Alebachew Stubbs (USA/MP) – Leading scorer at the Region III Championships with eight goals
2017 US Youth Soccer ODP Boys Thanksgiving Interregional – 2004 Roster
Midwest Region – Jack Sartino (Sporting BV SKC); Blake Craig (Sporting BV SKC); Dalton Visconti (Sporting BV SKC); Jeremy Sharp (Nationals Union); Richie Ludwig (Nationals Union)
South Region – Daniel Gutierrez (OFC); Kabl Kahkesh (OFC); Federico Palacios (OFC)