2014-15 US Youth Soccer National League Girls season set for exciting final day
Seven National League division titles and six berths to Nationals to be decided Sunday
Day 2 of 3 complete
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LAS VEGAS, Nev. (March 21, 2015) — The US Youth Soccer National League Under-14, Under-15, Under-16, Under-17 and Under-18 Girls continued league play Saturday at Bettye Wilson Soccer Complex in Las Vegas, alongside the 2015 Players Showcase. The girls will wrap up their season on Sunday, as the standings will be solidified and the final tickets to the US Youth Soccer National Championships will be secured.
After just one berth to the National Championships was determined Friday, nine teams secured their ticket to Tulsa, Okla., on Saturday. However, the top of several group standings are still in question, as six tickets to the National Championships are still to be punched, and seven National League division titles will be decided on the season’s final day.
Aside from earning an automatic ticket to the 2015 US Youth Soccer National Championships, teams in the Under-14, Under-15, Under-16 and Under-17 age groups are also vying for a top-two finish to earn their automatic return to the league in the 2015-16 National League season.
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A pair of Cal South clubs saw multiple teams secure top-two finishes on Saturday, as Carlsbad United F.C. had three teams qualify for Nationals, while Beach Futbol Club punched two tickets to Tulsa. Under-18 Beach FC Academy (CA-S) was the lone team to claim a division title on Saturday, as it moved to the top of a crowded Under-18 Blue Division.
“It’s an unbelievable experience. I’m super proud of the kids,” Under-18 Beach FC coach Anton Arrache said. “The National League is special and to be a division champion shows that you are one of the elite teams in the country.
“You’re facing truly the best teams in the country. They’re all battle-tested and the quality of the competition is unbelievable. We couldn’t ask for a better league to see where we stand. The preparation and the games are going to prepare us for the National Championships.”
The depth of the league was on display on Saturday, as several teams at the top of their group standings couldn’t manage to create a large enough gap from the pack to pull away and claim division titles. With so little dividing the teams from the top to the bottom of each National League group, it’s no surprise that seven of the 10 division titles will be decided on the season’s final day.
The atmosphere surrounding the National League games has attracted college coaches and Youth National Teams scouts to see how the players perform in an intense environment. U.S. Soccer scout Jeff Pill said he has enjoyed the excitement of the games, and he believes the National League environment provides a good correlation of how players will perform at the National Team level.
“There are four or five scouts here, and we’re scouting for all of the different age levels for the Youth National Teams,” Pill said. “We’re trying to find the best players to be placed in some of those pools and see how they do at the national level.
“I think the National League has provided a good format. The players are actually playing for something, so it adds a little bit more intensity to the games. At the same time, I’ve been impressed by the level of play. Players are free to experiment within the game and solve problems placed in front of them, and there have been a lot of players we are interested in.”
2015 US Youth Soccer National Championship Qualifiers via the National League
Blue: Dallas Kicks SC (TX-N)*
Blue Champion: Tophat 18 Gold (GA)
Blue Runner-up: La Roca Premier PO (UT)*
Red: Legends FC 99 (CA-S)
Red: Carlsbad Elite 99 (CA-S)*
Blue: Tophat 17 Gold (GA)
Blue: YMS Premier Xplosion 98 (PA-E)*
Red Champion: JFC Storm 98/99 (FL)
Blue: Tampa Bay United 97 Premier (FL)
Blue: Carlsbad Elite 97/98 (CA-S)*
Red: Beach FC Academy 97 (CA-S)*
Blue Champion: Beach FC Academy (CA-S)*
Red: VSA Heat 96 Blue (VA)*
Red: Carlsbad Elite (CA-S)*
National League Girls action concludes Sunday, March 22 at Bettye Wilson Soccer Complex with games at 7:30 a.m., 9:20 a.m. and 11:10 a.m. PT.
The National League is an extension of the highly successful US Youth Soccer Regional Leagues (US Youth Soccer Region I Champions 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 Tulsa, Okla.
Some highlights from Saturday’s matches…
PSG Michigan Gators 01 Orange (MI) picked up a key 3-0 win over Greater Binghamton United FC (NY-W) to move into second place in the Under-14 Blue Division. Chloe Woodbeck put Michigan in front in the 32nd minute when she received a pass at the top of the box and tucked her shot inside the right post. The Gators doubled the advantage shortly after halftime thanks to an Ashton Cassel strike, and Cassel added a late insurance goal to wrap up the 3-0 victory. Michigan will play group leader Dallas Kicks SC (TX-N) on Sunday, with the winner taking the division title.
A matchup between the top two teams in the Under-14 Red Division saw South Shore Select Elite (MA) jump into first place with a 2-1 win over CUP Gold 00/01 (OH-S). CUP, which entered the day alone in first place, grabbed a 15th-minute lead when Becky Dean hit home a loose ball after a set piece. The Massachusetts side managed to build some momentum heading into halftime, as Eve Montgomery hit a shot from distance that dipped under the crossbar to level the score at 1-1. South Shore took the lead shortly after half thanks to Kira Maguire’s 38th-minute goal. That proved to be the difference, as South Shore picked up a key three points in the standings.
A 2-1 win over Tennessee SC 18 (TN) helped Carlsbad Elite 99 (CA-S) punch its ticket to Nationals by clinching a top-two finish in the Under-15 Red Division. Kayleigh Webb opened the scoring for Carlsbad with an 11th-minute strike, and that advantage held until Juliette Garst equalized for Tennessee in the 67th minute. However, Sierra Enge immediately responded with a goal for Carlsbad to help the Cal South side to the 2-1 victory. A tie on Saturday by group leader Legends FC 99 (CA-S) means the two Cal South teams will play Sunday for the division title.
La Roca Premier PO (UT) punched its ticket to the National Championships by clinching a second-place finish in the Under-15 Blue Division. Anna Escobedo, Olivia Wade and Kendell Petersen each scored in La Roca’s 3-0 win on Saturday to help the Utah side secure the top-two finish.
Kings Hammer Academy Red (OH-S) missed out on a chance to remain in second place in the Under-16 Red Division, as it played to a 1-1 draw Saturday against Pride Predators 99 (CO). The Ohio side came out with some early pressure and took a 2nd-minute lead when Ally Brown found the back of the net. Kings Hammer couldn’t manage to score a second goal, which proved costly when Alexandria Samuels equalized for Pride in the 73rd minute to force a tie. The Kings Hammer draw allowed Beach FC 98 Academy (CA-S) to move into second place entering the season’s final day.
YMS Premier Xplosion 98 (PA-E) is heading back to the National Championships after getting the point it needed in a 2-2 draw against Arsenal FC-S Bowers (CA-S). YMS controlled the Under-16 Blue Division matchup in the early minutes, but Arsenal struck first when Emma Vanderhyden netted a 9th-minute goal. The YMS defense and goalkeeper did well to deny Arsenal from adding to its lead before Murphy Agnew found the back of the net to pull YMS level. Maddie Elwell gave the Pennsylvania side a lead shortly after halftime, but Arsenal responded with an Isabella Bowers goal in the 70th minute to seal the 2-2 tie. The point from the draw was enough to help YMS earn at least a second-place finish, and it can win the division with a victory on Sunday.
A dominant effort on Saturday helped Carlsbad Elite 97/98 (CA-S) punch its ticket to Nationals by securing a top-two finish in the Under-17 Blue Division. The Cal South side pulled away in the second half to post a 4-0 win over JFC Storm (FL). Kyle Levesque put Carlsbad in front with a 32nd-minute goal, and Pascale Dumesnil added two more just minutes after halftime to extend the advantage to 3-0. In the 57th minute, Hayley Mayne placed her shot around the keeper and inside the left post to cap Carlsbad’s 4-0 win. The Cal South side can win the division title with a win or tie on Sunday.
Beach FC Academy 97 (CA-S) will get a chance to defend its National Championship after it punched its ticket to Tulsa with a 2-0 win Saturday against MRM Coyotes (MD). The Under-17 Red Division matchup was even in for much of the first half, but Kaitlin Fregulia lofted a shot that fell inside the far post in the 37th minute to give Beach a 1-0 lead. U.S. Under-20 and Under-18 Women’s National Team midfielder Savannah DeMelo doubled the Beach lead with a strike in the 65th minute, and the Cal South side held on for the shutout victory. The division title will be on the line Sunday when Beach meets in-state foe Legends FC 97 (CA-S).
Beach FC Academy (CA-S) captured the Under-18 Blue Division championship thanks to a 4-1 win Saturday against YMS Premier Wildcats (PA-E). The Cal South side struck twice in the first half, as Kelly Kessloff and Senna Brennan each found the back of the net. Haley Noble extended the Beach advantage to 3-0 before YMS pulled a goal back when Rebecca Davey beat the keeper. Beach’s Ashli Villalobos put the game out of reach when she slid home her 81st-minute attempt to cap the 4-1 win that punched her side’s ticket to Nationals.
Carlsbad Elite (CA-S) played its way to a top-two finish in the Under-18 Red Division with a 2-0 win on Saturday. The other results in the division helped VSA Heat 96 Blue (VA), which went 3-0 in Orlando, also clinch a top-two finish in the group. Sunday’s results will determine whether VSA or Carlsbad claim the division title.
Keep up with the National League all season:
National League Home: USYouthSoccer.org/National_League
Schedule and results: http://tournaments.usyouthsoccer.org/events/2014-15-National-League/