US Youth Soccer National League Season Preview: 17U Girls
(Via US Youth Soccer) – The US Youth Soccer National League 2017-2018 season kicks off November 30 with the start of the girls’ event in North Carolina. Continue reading for a season preview of the 17U girls age group.
Coming off another very successful season, Nationals Union 01 Black (MI) should be a top contender to win the 17U Girls Black Division. The Michigan side claimed the 2017 US Youth Soccer National Championship, and for several of its players, that marked the third straight year they lifted the trophy at Nationals.
Focusing on only last season, Nationals Union provided consistent performances at a high level, as it also won the US Youth Soccer Region II Championship and its US Youth Soccer Midwest Regional League division, while finishing second in the National League. Having shown it knows how to get results, Nationals Union will be a tough matchup for any Black Division side this season.
Much like Nationals Union, EGA 01 Maroon (NE) just missed out on a National League division title last season. The Nebraska side finished second in the 2016-17 White Division due to a goal differential tiebreaker. Knowing the value of each and every goal throughout the league season, EGA should be focused and ready to go as it begins its Black Division campaign this season.
Rebels 2001 Elite (CA-S) has also shown it can handle a league format, as it won the US Youth Soccer Far West Regional League’s California Regional League. That experience could come into play as it pursues the Black Division title.
A fast start helped Michigan Jaguars 01 Green (MI) win its National League group a year ago, and it will hope to do the same this season in the 17U Girls Blue Division. The Jaguars went on to advance to the National Championship semifinals, where they fell, 1-0, in overtime to the eventual National Champs. The Michigan side should be motivated to get back to that stage and can do so with a Blue Division title.
The Jaguars picked up 10 points from four games in North Carolina last year to position themselves well heading into their second weekend of play. With three wins in Florida, they managed to wrap up the division title. As the reigning Blue Division champs, Michigan should get each opponent’s best shot, so it won’t be easy to repeat.
A couple of teams who performed well in their respective US Youth Soccer Regional Leagues could challenge for the Blue Division title. Sting East Dunstan (TX-N) went 11-1-0 to win its US Youth Soccer Southern Regional Premier League division, while conceding just four goals. Meanwhile, Arizona Arsenal Teal (AZ) went undefeated, with seven wins and two draws, in the Far West Regional League’s Desert Premier League to finish on top. With those runs of success under their belts, either team could get on a roll and challenge for the National League Blue Division title.
CDA Premier 01 (OH-S) used a title-winning National League campaign to jumpstart a deep run at the National Championships this past season, and it will look to do the same this season in the 17U Red Division. The Ohio South team came up one goal short of the National final, and now it will join the rest of the National League field in fighting for a berth back to the National Championships in Frisco, Texas.
CDA, formerly known as CUP Gold, used stout defense to go 5-1-1 and win the Red Division in 2016-17. The team allowed just three goals in its seven National League games and used that same style of play to make it to the National Championship semifinals. If it can repeat that defensive success, CDA will be a tough team to beat in this year’s Red Division.
Another team looking to earn a trip back to Frisco is BC United 01 (NY-W). The New York West side outscored its opponents, 14-to-1, to claim the US Youth Soccer Region I Championship. On top of that success, BC United also compiled a 4-1-2 mark in last year’s National League, as it finished second in the Blue Division. That familiarity with what it takes to pick up points in the league should help BC United contend for spot at the top of the Red Division this season.
When going through a league season, it’s vital to be able to focus on one game at a time. Fever United 01 Guerra (TX-N) did just that in going 11-1-0 to win its Southern Regional Premier League division, and it will look to carry that success into the National League season.
Coming off solid performances in the National League and at the National Championships in the 2016-17 season, Legends FC 01 Academy II (CA-S) will be the team to beat in the 17U Girls White Division. The Cal South side finished on top of a very tight White Division last season, and it followed that performance with a runner-up finish at the National Championships. Legends will need to continue to play at a high level in order to hold off the other contenders in the division.
Utah Celtic FC 01 (UT) is one of the teams that could challenge for the White Division crown. Celtic won the 2017 US Youth Soccer Region IV Championship, as it displayed an ability to earn results in close matchups. Utah earned a 2-1 semifinal win with an overtime goal, and it followed that up with even more dramatics in the Region IV final. With the last kick of overtime, Celtic tied the game, and it claimed the regional title in penalties. Those heroics will need to take place in regulation during the National League season if Celtic wants to string together enough victories to finish at the top of the White Division.
A team that has shown it can go on a winning streak in league play is FC Frederick 01 (MD), which went 6-0-1 in US Youth Soccer Eastern Regional League action — finishing first in its group and winning the league playoff. FC Frederick also advanced to the US Youth Soccer Region I Championship semifinals, so it has shown it can hang with the top teams in multiple competitions.
Mollie Griswold (Arizona Arsenal) – U.S. Under-16 Girls National Team
Keely Monroe (CDA) – Golden Glove at the National Championships
Katie Houston (USA) – Best XI at the National Championships (with Celtic FC Premier SA)
Morgan White (CDA) – Best XI at the National Championships
Olivia McKnight (BC United) – Best XI at the National Championships
Danielle Wolfe (Michigan Jaguars) – Best XI at the National Championships
Brooke Harden (CDA) – Tied for leading scorer at the Region II Championships with six goals (with Kings Hammer Academy)
Nicole Ray (Celtic FC) – Leading scorer at the Region IV Championships with seven goals (with La Roca Premier)
Lili Farkas (FCKC) – Leading scorer in the 2016-17 National League season with 14 goals
2017 US Youth Soccer ODP Girls Thanksgiving Interregional – 2002 Roster
West Region – Alexandra Sampson (Arizona Arsenal)
2017 US Youth Soccer ODP Girls Thanksgiving Interregional – 2000/2001 Roster
East Region – Lauren Ashman (BC United); Phoebe Canoles (Premier Navy); Victoria McKnight (BC United)
South Region – Nicole Vernis (FC Florida)
West Region – Haven Empey (Celtic FC); Ariana Fresquez (Arizona Arsenal)