2015-16 US Youth Soccer National League Girls continue play in Las Vegas
6 division titles and 8 berths to Nationals to be determined Sunday
Day 2 of 3 complete
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LAS VEGAS, Nev. (March 19, 2016) — 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, Nev., alongside the 2016 Players Showcase. The girls will wrap up the season on Sunday, as the standings will be solidified and the final tickets to the US Youth Soccer National Championships will be secured.
After three berths to the National Championships were determined Friday, another four teams secured their ticket to Frisco, Texas, on Saturday. However, the top of most group standings are still in question, meaning six National League division titles will decided on the season’s final day. Aside from earning an automatic ticket to the 2016 US Youth Soccer National Championships, teams in the Under-14, Under-15, Under-16 and Under-17 age groups are also vying for a chance to earn their automatic return to the league in the 2016-17 National League season.
The combination of the highly competitive level and meaningfulness of each game makes the National League an ideal environment for players to display their ability to perform in pressure-filled situations. That hasn’t gone unnoticed, as hundreds of college coaches, along with U.S. Soccer scouts, have watched the National League teams compete during the first two days in Las Vegas.
Saturday saw Cincinnati United Premier (OH-S) become the first club this season to have two girls teams earn berths to Nationals. Under-15 CUP Gold 00/01 joined Under-14 CUP 01/02, who wrapped up the Red Division title on Saturday.
Under-14 CUP coach Kurt Fischer said the teams at the club realize what it takes to make it into the National League, which acts as a motivating factor throughout their seasons.
“We needed to earn our place, and it’s a source of pride for us throughout the club when we know, ‘Hey, you’re going to North Carolina and Vegas for National League,’” Fischer said. “People notice that, even outside of the club — the fact we earned the right to be here based upon our play and our successes. It’s great our girls know that, and hopefully we build from that and it carries on to the rest of our season.”
With eight berths to Nationals and six National League division titles still to be decided, the season’s final day should be an exciting one — filled with great games from the youngest age group to the oldest.
Six of the eight teams in the Under-14 Blue Division are within three points of first place and still alive for top-two finishes. Meanwhile, some veteran National League teams — KHA Red (OH-S) and Carlsbad Elite 97/98 (CA-S) — are each one point behind idle Syracuse Development Academy 97/98 (NY-W) in a tight Under-18 Blue Division race.
Those are just a couple examples of several key matchups on Sunday that will determine the field of 20 teams representing the National League this summer at the National Championships in Frisco, Texas. While teams have their eyes on that ultimate prize, many, like Under-16 Albion SC White (CA-S), are focused on their first goal — securing a National League division title.
“Winning the National League title would be huge for us. That’s been our goal since when we set forth for the season,” Albion coach Ernie Romero said. “It’s at the forefront of everything. That’s our driving factor and we want to come home with it.”
2016 US Youth Soccer National Championship Qualifiers via the National League
Red Champion: CUP Gold 01/02 (OH-S)
Blue Champion: Midwest United FC 01 Royal (MI)
Blue Runner-up: CUP Gold 00/01 (OH-S)*
Red: Sunrise Sting 00/01 (FL)
Blue: Albion SC White (CA-S)*
Blue: Carlsbad Elite 99 (CA-S)*
Red: FCKC Pink Panthers Elite (MO)
Blue: Team Chicago Academy-Brasilia (IL)
Blue: Legends FC 98 (CA-S)*
Red Champion: YMS Premier Xplosion 98 (PA-E)
Red Champion: MD United Coyotes (MD)
Red Runner-up: NJ Stallions Dynamite (NJ)
National League Girls action continues Sunday, March 20 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, Southern Regional 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 Frisco, Texas.
The National League’s alumni have gone on to prove themselves at the collegiate and professional levels, with former players competing in NCAA Division I, II and III, Major League Soccer, National Women’s Soccer League, English Premier League, the UEFA Champions League and the FIFA Women’s World Cup. The top pick in the 2016 MLS SuperDraft (Jack Harrison) and the 2016 NWSL Draft (Emily Sonnett) are both former National League players.
Some highlights from Saturday’s matches…
CUP Gold 01/02 (OH-S) secured a 2-0 win over Greater Binghamton United FC (NY-W) to remain perfect on the season and secure the Under-14 Red Division title. The Ohio South side struck 10 minutes into the game when Ellie Podojil slid her shot past the keeper to put her side on top. Morgan White doubled the CUP advantage in the 30th minute when she made a near post run and sent her first touch into the back of the net. The CUP back line recorded its sixth clean sheet of the year to help the team secure the title and punch its ticket to the National Championships.
The Under-14 Blue Division contains a traffic jam at the top of the standings. Legends FC 01 (CA-S) remains on top with 11 points after it lost to Tennessee SC 20 (TN) on Saturday. Tennessee and TFA Elite 01 (OH-S) are each just one point back of Legends, while defending National Champion PSG MI Gators 02 Orange (MI) are two points back of first place.
FC Pride 01 Elite (IN) picked up an important point in the Under-15 Red Division, as it tied Legends FC 00 (CA-S), 1-1, on Saturday. The Indiana side jumped out in front by netting the game’s opening goal in the ninth minute. After the Legends keeper came off her line to make an initial save, Pride’s Abby Isger hit the rebound into an open net for the breakthrough. The Cal South side bounced back in the second half when it equalized on an Angela Morales strike. The game ended with the score level at 1-1, giving Pride a crucial point in the standings. The Indiana side now faces a must-win game on Sunday for a chance to win the division and punch its ticket to Nationals.
In the Under-15 Blue Division, CUP Gold 00/01 (OH-S) secured second place with a 3-0 win against HBC Impact 00 (NY-E). Anna Podojil put the Ohio South side up early when she found the back of the net in the ninth minute. Jordyn Rhodes doubled the CUP lead shortly after halftime, and Paige Elliott capped the 3-0 victory with a 70th-minute strike. The win helped CUP 00/01 jump into second place and secure its second straight top-two finish in the National League, which means CUP is heading back to the National Championships.
Albion SC White (CA-S) clinched a top-two finish in the Under-16 Blue Division with a 1-1 tie against CUP Gold 99/00 (OH-S). Albion took an early lead when Jalyn Lupo found the back of the net in the 13th minute. However, CUP, which needed a win to stay in contention for a berth to Nationals, responded with a 32nd-minute strike from Taylor Nuncio. The second half remained even until CUP generated sustained pressure for the final 15 minutes. The Albion defense managed to fend off the continued CUP attacks and earned the key point — setting up a Sunday match with Carlsbad Elite 99 (CA-S) to decide the division title.
La Roca Premier PO (UT) entered Saturday’s game needing a win to clinch the Under-16 Red Division title, but Legends FC 99 (CA-S) had other ideas. In a rematch of last year’s National Championship final, the Cal South side took an early lead on Alexandira Jaquez’s second-minute goal. La Roca created some chances to equalize, but Legends doubled its lead just two minutes after halftime when Victoria Cue hit her shot under the bar. Denae Antoine added a pair of goals in the final minutes to cap a 4-0 win for Legends. La Roca can still clinch the division with a win on Sunday, but a loss or tie will leave the Utah side outside of the top two.
Legends FC 98 (CA-S) secured the second automatic berth to Nationals in the Under-17 Blue Division with a 1-0 win on Saturday. Idle Team Chicago Academy-Brasilia (IL) is currently in first, but Legends can claim the title with a win or tie on Sunday.
Three-time National finalist YMS Premier Xplosion 98 (PA-E) has already secured the Under-17 Red Division title. Meanwhile, Beach FC 98 Academy (CA-S) picked up another key win on Saturday and is just one point behind idle FC Kansas City Forte Elite (MO). Beach can move into second place with a tie on Sunday thanks to a win in its December matchup with FCKC.
The winner in Saturday’s matchup between Carlsbad Elite 97/98 (CA-S) and KHA Red (OH-S) would claim the Under-18 Blue Division title and a spot in this summer’s National Championships. Both teams made sure to stay organized defensively in the early going, and the game went to halftime in a scoreless tie. It opened up a bit in the second half, as Carlsbad had the majority of the best chances for a breakthrough goal. However, the KHA defense held firm and the game ended in a scoreless tie. Both sides can still earn a top-two finish with a tie in their matches on Sunday.
The Under-18 Red Division title was decided in Orlando, as the MD United Coyotes (MD) secured the crown. January’s games also saw NJ Stallions Dynamite (NJ) secure second place in the division.
Keep up with the National League all season:
National League Home: USYouthSoccer.org/National_League
Schedule and results: http://tournaments.usyouthsoccer.org/events/2015-16-National-League/