DIVISIONS: BLACK | BLUE | RED | WHITE
PLAYER NOTES | SCHEDULE | HISTORY & RECORDS
With just one berth to the US Youth Soccer National Championships available per division, there is little room for error in the 16U age group. A team with experience in the National League should have an advantage in the hunt for the 16U Girls Black Division title, and La Roca FD 02 (UT) fits that description.
The Utah side used a fast start in North Carolina to go 5-2-0 and finish second in the Red Division last season. La Roca’s runner-up finish earned it a spot at Nationals, where it put on a strong showing and advanced to the semifinals. The team will now aim to get back to that stage, and another fast start would go a long way in its pursuit of the Black Division title.
Another team with aspirations of returning to the National Championships is Sporting OFC 2002 Elite (NE). Sporting finished one point behind La Roca in last year’s National League, but the Nebraska side earned a berth to Nationals at the US Youth Soccer Region II Championships, where it won a play-in game after an overtime loss in the semifinals to the eventual National Champion.
After posting an 8-1-0 record to win the US Youth Soccer Far West Regional League’s California Regional League, Beach FC DPL 02 (CA-S) is another team to watch in the Black Division. A loss by penalties in the US Youth Soccer Region IV Championships quarterfinals stopped Beach FC’s bid for Nationals, but a similar performance in league action this season could help it finish at the top of the Black Division and earn the automatic berth.
It may have a target on its back, but defending National Champion Nationals Union 02 Black (MI) will certainly be a favorite to win the 16U Girls Blue Division. The Michigan side claimed plenty of accomplishments last season, as it finished first in the National League, US Youth Soccer Midwest Regional League and Region II Championships, in addition to winning the National title.
Nationals Union had to overcome a loss in its season opener to win the National League Blue Division last year. It did so by winning six straight games and outscoring its opponents, 18-to-2, during that span. The side has shown it can succeed in all types of competitions, and it should be in contention to defend its title in the Blue Division.
A couple of teams with good track records in league play could make it difficult for the rest of the division. Solar 02 Naizer (TX-N) went 9-1-0 to finish second in the US Youth Soccer Southern Regional Premier League last season. The North Texas side followed that up by making a run to the US Youth Soccer Region III Championships final, where it came up just short of a berth to Nationals.
Meanwhile, New Jersey Rush 02 Grey (NJ) posted a 5-1-1 record in the US Youth Soccer Eastern Regional League while allowing less than a goal per game. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see Rush or Solar near the top of the standings when the dust settles on the Blue Division.
After posting a perfect 7-0-0 record in the National League last year, CDA Premier 02 (KY) is a team to beat in the 16U Girls Red Division this season. If not for Nationals Union 02 Black, it may have been CDA (formerly known as CUP 02 Gold) that would have had a historical season, as it earned runner-up finishes at Nationals and the Region II Championships.
CDA still made some history in the National League, as it posted a plus-33 goal differential in its seven games. The team includes several new faces, so the amount of time it takes them to build chemistry may determine if CDA can repeat as Red Division champs.
After competing at the National Championships as the US Youth Soccer Region I Champion, Loudoun 02 Red (VA) has shown it has the ability to contend in the Red Division. The Virginia side averaged nearly four goals per game at Regionals, as it overpowered opponents to take the title. If it can carry that offensive firepower into National League play, Loudon will have a chance in every game.
Another team to keep an eye on will be Sting Austin 02 (TX-S), which went 9-0-1 to finish first in the Southern Regional Premier League. Meanwhile, Nationals Union 02 Red (MI) made a run to the Region II Championships semifinals and showed it can compete with some of the nation’s top teams.
After finishing second in its National League group last season, Legends FC 02 Academy (CA-S) looks to be a top contender in the 16U Girls White Division. The Cal South side went on to advance to the semifinals at the National Championships, but it fell in overtime to the eventual champion. Now, Legends will aim to get back to Nationals by finishing on top of the White Division.
The experience Legends gained last season should benefit the team as it goes through the 2017-18 National League season. The Cal South side started strong a year ago — picking up 10 points from four games in North Carolina — and a similar opening weekend this season would put it in good position to contend for the group title.
Solar 02 Grado (TX-N) also brings past National Championship experience to the White Division. Solar proved to be a difficult side to break down en route to winning the Region III Championship, as it registered a clean sheet in four of its six games in Greensboro, N.C. A similar defensive effort this National League season will put the North Texas side in position to pick up points in every game.
Meanwhile, Beach FC 02 Red (VA) will aim to continue the offensive firepower that helped it advance to the Region I Championship final. The Virginia side averaged four goals per game during its run at Regionals, and a similar scoring rate would put it in the thick of the White Division race.
Gabriela Green (Nationals Union) – Golden Glove at the National Championships
Samantha Ruelas (Legends FC) – Best XI at the National Championships
Sophia Maltese (Loudoun) – Best XI at the National Championships
Sydney Schnell (Loudoun) – Best XI at the National Championships
Alyssa Judkins (Sporting OFC) – Best XI at the National Championships
Allison Napora (Sporting OFC) – Best XI at the National Championships
Amanda Attanasi (SJEB) – Leading scorer at the Region I Championships with seven goals
Nicole Rojas Lemus (CSA) – Tied for leading scorer at the Region III Championships with four goals
Caroline Stringfellow (La Roca) – Leading scorer at the Region IV Championships with eight goals
Megan Donnelly (North United) – Tied for leading scorer in the 2016-17 National League season with 12 goals
2017 US Youth Soccer ODP Girls Thanksgiving Interregional – 2003 Roster
East Region – Jayden Sharpless (North United)
West Region – Samantha Gordon (USA)
2017 US Youth Soccer ODP Girls Thanksgiving Interregional – 2002 Roster
East Region – Hannah Antonick (Beach FC); Sunni DiElmo (PDA); Megan Donnelly (North United); Madisyn Neundorfer (Century); Gabrielle Oudin (LVU); Sophie Wilson (Beach FC)
Midwest Region – Piper Biziorek (Eclipse); Tara Tesmond (Eclipse); Victoria Lyncha (Cleveland FC)
South Region – Sarah Dieffenderfer (UFA)
West Region – MaKayla Wetsel (USA); Erin Bridges (USA)