Competitive matches open 2013-2014 US Youth Soccer National League Boys season
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.
Nearly 300 collegiate coaches are expected to attend this National League weekend to scout some of the top teams and players in the country, citing the competitive level of each game as every team has to earn their spot in the competition, regardless of location or club affiliation.
"The college coaches come to National League because they want to see the best players play against the best. This event and this league provides that for them," said Josh Gray, coach of Under-17 FC Alliance 97 Black (TN). "They don’t just get to see the players have an easy way with things like you see at some showcases. This is very tough. It lets them see players’ character, attitude; all the different intangibles you can’t see from normal showcases."
The 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 Thursday's matches…
The 2013-2014 National League season is the first featuring the Under-14 age group, and Thursday’s action included several competitive games from the league’s youngest players. CUP Gold 99/00 (OH-S) and GSA 00 Premier (GA) couldn’t be separated, as they played to a scoreless tie. GSA put pressure on the CUP defense early in the match, and the Georgia side nearly broke through when a first-half shot beat the keeper but hit the inside of the left post and stayed out of the goal. The defenses stood strong for the rest of the game, as both sides earned a point with the draw.
Defending Region III Champions United FA 00 Elite (GA) got off to a good start in their first National League campaign with a 1-0 win over a tough OP Eagles G1 (OH-S) squad. United nearly broke through just after halftime when a corner kick led to a header that hit the post. Minutes later, Auston Rodriguez dribbled into the box and beat the OP Eagles keeper for the game’s lone goal to give United the narrow victory.
Sereno 99 White (AZ) and Solar Chelsea Red 99 (TX-N) each came away with tight victories in the Under-15 Blue Division, winning 2-0 and 2-1, respectively. In the Red Division, Scottsdale Blackhawks Davidson (AZ) had a big win, while Albion SC (CA-S) and Ohio Galaxies FC 98 Elite (OH-S) each posted 2-0 shutout wins.
After coming up just short in overtime of the National Championship final last year, Under-16 Dix Hills Elite (E-NY) started its National League season with a dominant win over Libertyville FC 1974 (IL). Dix Hills jumped out to an early lead thanks to two goals by Richie Mastrangelo in the opening 20 minutes. Spencer Manus, Nicholas Elkins and James Contino kept the offense rolling, as they each added a goal before halftime. Devon Smith capped a 6-0 win with a goal in the final minutes, as Dix Hills aims to keep its success going in pursuit of a Red Division title.
After finishing second in its division last year, GSA 98 Premier (GA) ran into a tough Alliance Academy 98 Black (MI) side in the teams’ first game in the Under-16 Blue Division. Neither team could break through in the first half, but GSA took the lead in the 69th minute when Jeovanny Trejo found the back of the net. It looked like GSA would come away with the win, but Anthony Bowie scored an equalizer in the 81st minute for Alliance Academy to force a 1-1 tie.
Defending National Champion Smithtown Arsenal (E-NY) started its National League campaign with a decisive 4-0 win against Alliance Academy 97 Black (MI). Casey Abelein led the early attack with a third-minute goal, and he later added a second to make it 2-0 at halftime. Douglas Toledo made it 3-0 in the 50th minute when he struck a powerful shot off the bottom of the crossbar and into the net. Toledo provided the final goal when he received a pass at the top of the box and freed himself for a clean look on goal, which he converted.
Under-17 FC Alliance 97 Black (TN) and Grand Rapids Crew Jrs. (MI) each earned a point in their first National League contest, as they played to a 0-0 tie. The defenders and goalkeepers for each squad made some key plays to keep the opposition off the scoreboard. FC Alliance had some good chances late in the game, including a William DeGuira bicycle kick in the 85th minute that required a diving save from Crew keeper Jay Toric. The Blue Division teams will each attempt to get their first win during another key day of play on Friday.
After staying tight with Princeton Premiere 95/96 (NJ) for much of the early parts of the game, Alliance Academy 96 Black (MI) used some late goals to pull away for a 6-1 win. Alliance Academy’s Marcus Massaquoi took just three minutes to give his team the lead, but Princeton tied the game four minutes later with an Anid Laoui goal. Arnaldo Mazariegos put Alliance Academy up, 2-1, with a tally just before halftime, and that lead doubled on a Bradley Macomber goal in the 58th minute. The match stayed close for a while before Samir Sabanovic scored Alliance Academy’s fourth goal, and Mazariegos added two more to give the Michigan side the big win.
In the Under-18 Red Division, Waza FC East 96 Jrs. (MI) positioned itself near the top of the standings with a 4-0 win over PDA McGeough (NJ). Waza’s Robert Longo caused trouble for the PDA defense, as he recorded a hat trick in the win. Longo scored a pair of goals in the first half to give his team a two-goal lead heading into the second half. Neil Martorana gave Waza a 3-0 lead in the 76th minute and Longo recorded his third goal late in the contest to give Waza a key opening win.
National League action will continue Friday, Nov. 22, as the boys play their second 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.