US Youth Soccer National League Season Preview: 17U 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 17U boys age group.
The 17U Boys Black Division is highlighted by defending US Youth Soccer National Champion Tampa Bay United (FL), which overcame an opening day loss at Nationals and won four straight games to lift the trophy.
Tampa Bay showed it can find ways to come out on top in tight matches, as each of its games at the National Championships was decided by a one-goal margin. Prior to that, it followed a similar path in claiming the US Youth Soccer Region III Championships, though it punctuated that week with a 4-0 victory in the final.
In order for Tampa Bay and the rest of the field to finish on top of the group, they’ll have to get by last year’s Black Division winner, Raiders FC 2001 (IL). The Illinois side went 6-1-0 to win the division and just missed out on a semifinal berth at Nationals when it was the odd team out of a three-way tie at the top of Group A.
Solar 01 Sawyer (TX-N) showed well at the Region III Championships before falling to Tampa Bay in the final, and it wouldn’t be a surprise if the North Texas side made a run at this year’s Black Division title. Meanwhile, SC del Sol 01 (AZ) finished on top of the US Youth Soccer Far West Regional League DPL, so it could do well in the league format.
A couple of teams that met up at the 2017 National Championships could be two of the top contenders to win the 17U Boys Blue Division. CUP Gold 01 (OH-S), which won the Blue Division a year ago, may be the favorite. The Ohio South side finished on top of its group at Nationals before falling by one goal in the semifinals.
Philadelphia Ukrainian Nationals 01 Black (PA-E), which tied CUP in group play in Frisco, Texas, will also be a dangerous team. If the defending US Youth Soccer Region I Champions can maneuver through the tough slate of National League games, they will be able to earn a berth back to Nationals.
A 2016 National Champion and 2017 US Youth Soccer Region IV finalist, Valparaiso United FC 01 JG (AZ), certainly has the experience to contend for the Blue Division title. The Arizona side will be a difficult matchup for any team in the group.
2017 US Youth Soccer Region II finalist St. Louis Scott Gallagher SC Elite 2001 (MO) and US Youth Soccer Eastern Regional League winner Pipeline Pre Academy (MD) could also build off those past successes to make a run at the division crown.
Among the teams fighting to win the 17U Red Division will be Lobos Rush 01 Premier (TN), which enters the season as the age group’s reigning Red Division champion. Lobos Rush conceded just three goals in the National League last year, as it went 6-1-0 to win its division.
WCFC 2001 Armour (CA-S) will be another team to watch out for after it advanced to the National Championship final this past summer. The Cal South side defeated Lobos, 2-1, on its way to the final, where it came up one goal short of the National title. With several tight games in its run to the Region IV Championship, WCFC knows the type of tests it can expect to face in the National League.
Finding success in league play would be nothing new to Beadling 2001 (PA-W), which compiled seven wins and one tie while finishing first in the Eastern Regional League. Beadling will look to build off of that success and improve on its fifth-place finish in the National League last season.
Sporting Omaha FC 01 Elite (NE) will enter the year with a similar mindset to Beadling, as the Nebraska side looks to finish on top of the White Division. Sporting wasn’t far off a year ago, as it finished tied for second in its division with a 3-1-3 record.
After advancing to the semifinals at Nationals by winning its group, Javanon 2001 Black (KY) is ready to make some noise in the 17U Boys White Division. The Kentucky side used a combination of offensive firepower and stout play from its back line to win all five games in Sioux Falls, S.D., and win the 2017 Region II Championship.
Javanon enjoyed similar success at the National Championships but came up one goal short in the semifinals against eventual title-winner Tampa Bay United. Getting back to that stage will certainly be a goal for the team in 2017-18, and winning the White Division will help it achieve that.
In order to finish on top of the group, Javanon and the rest of the field will have to get past defending White Division champion LVSA 01 Red (NV). The Nevada side went 6-1-1 last season, and overpowered opponents while playing locally in Las Vegas to secure its division title.
A couple of other sides could make a breakthrough after solid league performances a year ago. Galaxy 2001 Blue (IL) finished second in the US Youth Soccer Midwest Regional League and third in its National League division last year. KSA 01 Pro-Profile (GA) also finished third in its National League group in 2016-17, and both teams will try to take the next step and claim the White Division title this season.
Bryson Najarian (CUP) – Golden Glove at the National Championships
Brennan Callow (CUP) – Best XI at the National Championships
Angelo Oquendo (Raiders FC) – Best XI at the National Championships
Case Cox (Javanon) – Best XI at the National Championships
Sam Kunkemoeller (CUP) – Best XI at the National Championships
Logan Stoltenborg (Lobos Rush) – Best XI at the National Championships
Brandon Brackett (Lobos Rush) – Best XI at the National Championships
Gustavo Jimenez-Guzman (Lobos Rush) – Best XI at the National Championships
Angel Franco (WCFC) – Best XI and leading scorer (four goals) at the National Championships
Deedson Vixamar (KSA) – Leading scorer in the 2016-17 National League season with 10 goals; Leading scorer at the Region III Championships with six goals
Brandon McManus (Javanon) – Leading scorer at the Region II Championships with seven goals
2017 US Youth Soccer ODP Boys Florida Interregional – 2001 Roster
South Region – Ian Miller (Solar Stricker); Logan Stoltenborg (Lobos Rush)
West Region – Lincoln Aquino (LVSA); Jesus Ubario (LVSA)