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2013-2014 US Youth Soccer National League Girls play continues in Wilson, N.C.

 
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2013-2014 US Youth Soccer National League Girls play continues in Wilson, N.C.

 
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WILSON, N.C. (Dec. 6, 2013) — The 2013-2014 US Youth Soccer National League Girls season is in full swing after two days of play at the Gillette Athletic Complex and Rocky Mount Sports Complex in North Carolina. The season is shaping up to be a long fight for the divisional titles and automatic entries to the US Youth Soccer National Championships, and Saturday’s games should play a big role in separating some teams in the standings.
 
The depth of the league began to show its strength on Friday, as two defending US Youth Soccer National Champions dropped close matches. After going 6-0-1 in last year’s National League, Under-17 DMCV Sharks Elite (CA-S) conceded a late goal to fall, 1-0, to National League veterans NSA Jaguars (IL). In Under-15 play, Futura Academy Forte (MO) defeated defending National Champions Eastside FC 98 Red (WA), 2-1.
 
Futura head coach Brad Childers said his team was excited to defeat the defending champions, and he knows it’s difficult for any squad — despite past success — to get through the National League with an unblemished record.
 
"I just got done mentioning to the girls after the match that it’s hard to stay on top. I have an unbelievable amount of respect for Eastside and their program," Childers said. "The format in National League, every game is a monster. Every game is something that challenges us and creates accountability to provide motivation to be able to reach your best. When it’s done like it has been so far, with the class of the coaches and the organization, it’s just an awesome environment to help these kids reach their best."
 
In Under-16 Girls play, Michigan Jaguars 98 Green (MI) defeated last year’s National finalist, Ambassadors FC (OH-N), in another hard-fought game. The Jaguars’ head coach, Michael Scobie, said getting to compete against teams with excellent resumes is one of the top reasons his team enjoys playing in the league.
 
"The National League shirt says right on the shirt, ‘Earn your spot,’ and I think that’s perfect. That’s what it’s all about," Scobie said. "It means more to them because they’re not here because they play for a certain club. They’re not here just to get out in front of college coaches. They’ve earned it through Regional Leagues. They’ve earned it through State Cups. Everything here means a little bit more than anywhere else that we play."
 
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.
 
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.

Some highlights from Friday's matches…

Under-14 Girls
In the Under-14 Blue Division, three teams — Legends FC 99 (CA-S), Tophat 18 Gold (GA) and Exiles Black (CA-S) — have each won their first two games while conceding just one goal. In the Red Division, Carlsbad Elite 99 (CA-S) is the only squad to have won its opening two contests, while every team in the tightly-packed group has earned a point after two days of play.
 
Under-15 Girls
Region II Champions NSA Rockets (IL) ran into a tough Surf Academy 1 (CA-S) squad, as both sides looked to notch their first win in Under-15 Blue Division play. Surf took the lead in the 17th minute when Julia Kappes volleyed a cross into the net for the game’s opening goal. NSA nearly tied the game midway through the second half, but the Surf keeper made a nice save in a one-on-one situation to preserve her team’s lead. The California side wrapped up its win in the 72nd minute when Jayda Hammermeister’s shot hit the post — allowing Jasmyn Gordon to put the ball into an open net to seal a 2-0 victory for Surf.
 
Behind two second-half goals, Futura Academy Forte (MO) was able to defeat the defending US Youth Soccer National Champions, Eastside FC 98 Red (WA), 2-1, in an entertaining Under-15 Blue Division matchup. Eastside took an early lead behind a Natalie Weidenbach goal in the 19th minute. Futura pressured the Washington side’s net looking for an equalizer, and it was rewarded for its hard work in the 51st minute. A Futura corner kick skimmed off a couple of players before falling to Nina Stine at the back post, and Stine tapped the ball home to tie the game. The Missouri squad kept its momentum going, and Tess Rellihan scored in the 77th minute off of another corner kick. The late goal helped Futura to the 2-1 win and a position at the top of the group after two days of play.
 
Under-16 Girls
Michigan Jaguars 98 Green (MI) earned a key Under-16 Red Division win, as they took down 2013 National runners-up Ambassadors FC (OH-N). The Jaguars grabbed the lead in the 31st minute on a Devyn Brough goal, but Sarah Krause responded shortly after for Ambassadors when she beat the keeper to level the score at 1-1. The teams went back and forth before Madison Pogarch gave Michigan the momentum with a go-ahead goal in the 56th minute. The Jaguars defense held off the remaining attacks from Ambassadors, as the Michigan side walked away with a 2-1 win.
 
It appeared the matchup between Boise Nationals Italia (ID) and Tophat 16 Gold (GA) would result in a tie, but Tophat scored a late game-winner to stay near the top of the Under-16 Blue Division standings. Neither side could break through in the game’s first hour, and the teams entered the contest’s final stretch in a scoreless tie. However, Grace Jackson found the back of the net in the 75th minute to help her team earn a 1-0 victory. The win marked the Georgia side’s second straight to open the season, putting Tophat in good position to make a run at a division title.
 
Tennessee SC 16 (TN) and AC Milan Detroit Waza 98 Jrs. (MI) each earned a point Friday, as the two sides settled for a 1-1 tie in a back-and-forth contest. Waza grabbed a first-half lead when Maria Broecker beat the keeper in the 19th minute. Tennessee’s Karlie Paschall, a U.S. National Team pool player, responded shortly after halftime when she tapped a floating ball into the goal to equalize the score. Tennessee had several good looks at goal in the final 40 minutes, but it couldn’t find the right final touch to score a go-ahead goal. Waza withstood the pressure and had its own scoring chance in the game’s closing seconds, but the shot was saved and the contest ended in a 1-1 draw.
 
Under-17 Girls
A strong offensive effort helped NEFC Elite (MA) claim a 4-2 win over 97 Norcross Fury Premier (GA) in the Under-17 Blue Division. NEFC jumped in front early when Lane Cronin scored in the second minute, but Norcross Fury’s Alex Probst responded just three minutes later to level the score. The Massachusetts side regained the lead in the 13th minute on a Stephanie Lund strike, and Amber Gustafson made it 3-1 when she scored just before halftime. Cronin added her second goal of the match in the 68th minute to extend the NEFC lead to 4-1. Grace Packer added a late goal for Norcross, but it was not enough as NEFC got the three points for the win.
 
NSA Jaguars (IL) kept their momentum going on Friday by defeating defending National Champions DMCV Sharks Elite (CA-S), 1-0. DMCV had a chance to take the lead in the 35th minute, but a good attempt on goal following a corner kick was cleared off the line by an NSA defender to keep the game scoreless. Both defenses held strong until Alyssa Kovatchis scored an 88th-minute goal to give the Jaguars the win. The victory was NSA’s second in as many games, while DMCV is still in the mix for the Under-17 Blue Division title.
 
VSA Heat 96 Blue (VA) is one of four teams in the Under-17 Blue Division with one win after narrowly defeating Beach FC 17 Academy (CA-S), 1-0, on Friday. Neither team could break down the opposing back line in the opening half, as the squads went to halftime with the game scoreless. Ava Roth gave VSA the lead in the 62nd minute when she found the back of the net, and the Virginia side’s defense kept Beach FC off the scoreboard to seal the 1-0 win. VSA will take on fellow one-win squad NEFC Elite (MA) on Saturday in a game that could create separation in the group standings.
 
Under-18 Girls
Defending National Champion Cleveland United White (OH-N) moved to 2-0-0 after a 4-3 comeback win in a tight game with MI Gators FC 96 Orange (MI). Beach FC Ingrassia (CA-S) and PDA Ginga (NJ) join Cleveland atop the Under-18 Blue Division, as both squads have won their opening two games without conceding a goal. Last year’s National runner-up, Match Fit Beat (NJ), and former National Champion BRYC 95 Elite (VA) are the lone 2-0-0 teams in the Red Division after two days of play.
 
National League action will continue Saturday, Dec. 7, as the girls play their third game of the season. 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.
 
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/
Twitter: @nationalleague
Facebook: Facebook.com/usyouthsoccer
Instagram: Instagram.com/usyouthsoccer
YouTube: YouTube.com/usyouth
 

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