2013-14 US Youth Soccer National League Boys begin final weekend of play
Day 1 of 3 complete
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LAS VEGAS, Nev. (March 14, 2014) — The US Youth Soccer National League Under-14, Under-15, Under-16, Under-17 and Under-18 Boys resumed league play Friday at Heritage Park in Henderson, Nev., alongside the 2014 Players College Showcase. All Under-14 squads are competing this weekend, while half of the field is represented in the Under-15 through Under-18 age groups.
When the National League Boys’ standings are finalized on Sunday, March 16, the top two finishers from each age group division will earn a spot in the 2014 US Youth Soccer National Championships, July 21-27 in Germantown, Md., and the top-two finishers in the Under-14, Under-15, Under-16 and Under-17 age groups will secure their place in the league next season. All teams were focused when they kicked off their weekend in Las Vegas on Friday, as many entered play with division titles and berths to the National Championships on the line.
The National League competition has been tight all season, and Friday saw just one team punch its ticket to the National Championships. Scorpions SC - Boston (MA) secured a top-two finish in the Under-14 Red Division, but it didn’t come easy as the Massachusetts side dropped its first points of the season — tying, 2-2, with Concorde Fire 99/00 (GA).
Several teams took advantage of their chances on Friday to come away with wins and move up in their division standings, while other squads settled for valuable ties against stiff competition. FC Golden State Platinum (CA-S) had a chance to take firm control of second place in its division, but it tied, 1-1, with Libertyville FC 1974 (IL). While the draw still keeps the California side in position to likely move on to Nationals, Golden State coach Henry Cabral said his team aimed to win all three games in Las Vegas.
“A tie today, even though it keeps us on track, it’s unfortunate on the way it happened. It tells you how competitive the National League is,” Cabral said. “We let up one single moment, and they found the back of the net.”
While a tie wasn’t the result his side was looking for, Cabral said his players are still excited about the opportunity they have in the National League. A win Saturday would secure a second-place finish and punch their ticket to the National Championships.
“We fell just short last year in getting in through our own region in Cal South,” Cabral said. “So, for us to earn our spot through National League and get in that way would be a blessing.”
2014 US Youth Soccer National Championship Qualifiers
Red: Scorpions SC - Boston (MA)*
Blue: Loudoun 98 Red (VA)
Blue: Sunrise Elite 97\98 (FL)
Red Champion: Dix Hills Elite (E-NY)
Red Champion: Smithtown Arsenal (E-NY)
Red Runner-up: CUP Gold 96/97 (OH-S)
Red Champion: CUP Gold 95/96 (OH-S)
National League Boys action continues Saturday, March 15 at Heritage Park with games at 8 a.m., 10 a.m. and 12 p.m. PT.
The National League is an extension of the highly successful US Youth Soccer Regional Leagues (US Youth Soccer Region I Premier League, Midwest Regional League, Region III Premier League and Far West Regional League). The National League provides an avenue for teams to play in meaningful matches against top competition from across the country for continued development and opportunities for exposure at the national team, collegiate and professional levels.
National League teams earn their place in the league based on a proven track record of success in US Youth Soccer regional and national competitions and are among the nation's best. Competing for a league title and a spot in the US Youth Soccer National Championships, each and every game will play into who represents the National League this summer in Germantown, Md.
Some highlights from Friday’s matches…
GSA 00 Premier (GA) recorded a key 3-1 win over previously unbeaten Raiders FC (IL) to remain in contention for the Under-14 Blue Division championship. Eric Garcia put GSA up in the opening moments of the game, and Andrew Donehoo doubled the lead in the 56th minute when he beat the wall and keeper on a free kick from 25 yards out. Ben Davis made it 3-0 when he slid his shot inside the right post before Flavio Terrazas added a goal for Raiders on a well-taken free kick. Friday’s results left five teams within three points of first in the division.
United FC Gold 98 (CA-S) came one step closer to clinching a spot in the National Championships thanks to a 2-1 win over Blast FC Red (OH-S) in Under-15 Blue Division play. Following a scoreless first half, Juan Sebastian Olivares and Kenneth Higgins netted a quick pair of goals for United shortly after the break to put their side in control. Travis Moore added a 75th-minute goal for Blast FC, but the California side held on for the victory. United is now one win away from securing a second-place finish and still has a shot at the division title.
A 1-1 tie against Libertyville FC 1974 (IL) in its Under-16 Red Division matchup helped FC Golden State Platinum (CA-S) inch closer to a second-place finish and spot in the 2014 National Championships. Joshua Arevalo opened the scoring for Golden State when he slid a shot past the keeper in the 50th minute. Libertyville responded, as Alex Fratila scored off of a free kick in the 71st minute to level the score. Golden State threatened to score a game-winner, but a last-second shot hit the crossbar and the teams finished in a tie — leaving the California side one win away from punching its ticket to Nationals.
In a physical Under-16 Blue Division contest, Sereno 98 White (AZ) and Alliance Academy 98 Black (MI) played to a scoreless draw. Each team generated some good looks at goal, but both goalkeepers did well to smother those chances and keep the game level. With Sereno and Alliance splitting the points, OP Eagles Dublin G1 (OH-S) — which won on Friday — is now in the best position to secure the second National Championship berth in the division.
Alliance Academy 97 Black (MI) earned its third win of the season with a 3-1 victory over CCV Stars 97 Black (AZ) in the Under-17 Red Division. Salvador Aldama put Alliance up late in the first half and P. Gaston Aubert made it 2-0 when he scored in the 60th minute. Alliance took a 3-0 advantage on a Niccolo Capotosto goal before Musa Morris added a late tally for CCV.
In a back-and-forth contest, FC Golden State White (CA-S) picked up an important 2-1 win against Grand Rapids Crew Jrs. (MI). Golden State took a first-half lead thanks to an Edgar Esquivel goal, but Crew equalized in the 56th minute when Jared Timmer found the back of the net. After Grand Rapids went down to 10 men, Golden State scored the game-winner, as Jonathan Suarez directed the ball into an open net. The win sets up a key Under-17 Blue Division matchup between Golden State and Fullerton Rangers 96 White (CA-S) on Saturday.
Scottsdale 96 Blackhawks Burke (AZ) beat SC Waukesha 95/96 Blue (WI), 2-1, Friday to help the Blackhawks jump the Wisconsin side in the standings. Adam Mosharrafa and Alexis De La Rosa each scored for Scottsdale late in the first half to give their side a 2-0 advantage at the break. Waukesha broke through in the 77th minute when Brody Kraussel found the back of the net, but the Scottsdale defense held on to secure the 2-1 win. The Blackhawks are now tied with West Coast FC (CA-S) for first, but they are just one point ahead of Waukesha.
A trio of first-half goals helped propel Waza FC East 96 Jrs. (MI) to a 3-1 win over Santa Clara Sporting 95 (CA-N). Robert Longo and Benjamin Richter scored first-half goals for the Michigan side, and Waza benefited from an own goal to head to halftime with a 3-0 lead. Javier Ceballos made it 3-1 when he scored for Sporting, but Waza held on for the 3-1 win — putting it in prime position to secure a second-place finish.
Keep up with the National League all season:
National League Home: USYouthSoccer.org/National_League
Schedule and results: http://tournaments.usyouthsoccer.org/events/2013-2014-National-League/