WILSON, N.C. (Nov. 24, 2013) — After four days of play, the US Youth Soccer National League Under-14, 15, 16, 17 and 18 Boys have solidified their spots in the standings until nearly half the field meets again Dec. 27-29 in Orlando, Fla., where they will continue competing for a league title and a ticket to the 2014 US Youth Soccer National Championships in Germantown, Md., July 21-27.
Just two teams — Under-14 Scorpions SC Boston (MA) and Under-17 CUP Gold 96/97 (OH-S) — made it through the week in Wilson, N.C., with wins in each of their four games, as the field of 80 boys teams proved to be very competitive.
After winning its first three contests, defending National Champion Smithtown Arsenal (E-NY) tied on Sunday to drop its first points. The other defending National Champion in the field, West Coast FC (CA-S), also finished its game with a level score, as it tied for the second time in four matches.
"It doesn’t matter who you play. Last year, we played Concorde and beat them, 5-1. This year, we tied 0-0 with them," West Coast FC head coach Neil Armour said. "Teams don’t want to lose to you anymore. Everybody’s got a point to prove. The National League is a fantastic tournament. It’s a great competition, and you’ve got to come to play every single game."
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 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 Sunday's matches…
Raiders FC (IL) dropped its first points of the season after a 3-3 tie with CSA 00 Lobos Rush Premier (TN), but the Illinois squad still holds a two-point lead over Lobos on top of the Under-14 Blue Division. Meanwhile, Scorpions SC Boston (MA) is a perfect 4-0-0 and leads the Red Division. Scorpions have scored 15 goals through four games, which puts them on pace to break the National League team scoring record set twice by OBGC Rangers (MD) with 22 goals.
With both teams entering Sunday’s play near the top of the Under-15 Blue Division, the match between United FC Gold 98 (CA-S) and Solar Chelsea Red 99 (TX-N) had significant implications on the title race. United jumped out to an early lead on a 13th-minute goal from Kenneth Higgins. The California side had a couple chances to double its advantage midway through the first half. A United shot hit the crossbar in the 28th minute and a well-placed Charlie Wehan shot was deflected wide by the keeper a few minutes later. After avoiding going down by two goals, Solar capitalized on a chance of its own when Carlos Flores tied the contest in the 53rd minute, and the match ended in a 1-1 tie.
It looked like Penn Fusion 98 (E-PA) was going to hand Ohio Galaxies FC 98 Elite (OH-S) their first loss of the week, but Philip Cruz scored a 65th-minute goal to help Ohio come away with a point in a 1-1 tie. Frankie DeRosa put Penn Fusion on top in the 11th minute, and that goal stood for a majority of the match. However, Cruz was able to head in a loose ball off of a corner kick to level the score. With the tie, Galaxies leave North Carolina with a slim lead on top of the Under-15 Red Division.
After the first week of play, FC Golden State Platinum (CA-S) sits in second place in the Under-16 Red Division thanks to a 2-1 win over previously unbeaten FC Dallas 98 Premier (TX-N) on Sunday. FC Dallas jumped out in front in the 26th minute when Gerber Chavez gathered a loose ball following a free kick and found the back of the net. Lucas Rodriguez leveled the game in the 67th minute when he scored following a scramble in the box. Five minutes later, Golden State scored what proved to be the game winner when Manuel Chavez got behind the defense and calmly chipped the keeper. Dix Hills Elite (E-NY) is currently in first in the division, but both Golden State and FC Dallas are in contention for the title.
Alliance Academy 98 Black (MI) jumped Arlington Impact Red (VA) in the Under-16 Blue Division standings by defeating the Virginia side, 2-0, on Sunday. Neither team could break through in the first half, but shortly after halftime Anthony Bowie found the back of the net to give Alliance Academy the opening goal. Daniel Burian doubled the lead in the 67th minute and the Michigan side’s defense kept a clean sheet to clinch the 2-0 victory. Both squads are still very much alive for the title in a tightly packed division with three games remaining.
CCV Stars 97 Black (AZ) got its first win of the year by defeating Concorde Fire Elite (GA), 3-0. In the 43rd minute, Musa Morris cut inside a defender and slipped his shot past the keeper to give CCV the lead at halftime. That was the start of a big game for Morris, as he added two more goals late in the second half to register a hat trick. That was all the scoring CCV needed, as it shut out Concorde to get the victory.
CUP Gold 96/97 (OH-S) is 4-0-0 and on top of the Under-17 Red Division, while FC Golden State White (CA-S) has three wins and a tie to lead the Blue Division.
Defending National Champion West Coast FC (CA-S) had to overcome an early two-goal deficit to earn a 2-2 tie against OBGC Rangers (MD) in its final game in North Carolina. Arion Sobers-Assue and Agwie Chunga scored in the 13th and 15th minutes to give the Maryland side a comfortable early lead. However, West Coast responded quickly as Ivan Canales cut the OBGC lead to one with an 18th-minute goal before Nicolo D'Amato evened the score just a minute later. West Coast pressured the OBGC goal for much of the second half and nearly found a winner just before the final whistle, but the shot rolled inches wide. The draw leaves West Coast tied with Scottsdale 96 Blackhawks (AZ) in second place of the Under-18 Blue Division.
SC Waukesha 95/96 Blue (WI) finished the week at the top of the Blue Division thanks to a narrow 2-1 win over local side TUSA Gold (NC). First-half tallies by Brody Kraussel and Kai Bottum gave Waukesha a two-goal advantage heading into halftime. Triangle United’s Zachary Compton cut into the deficit in the 51st minute when he found the back of the net. Despite Triangle’s efforts to come up with a tying goal, Waukesha held on to get the three points for the win — moving the Wisconsin side into first place in the group.
In a matchup of familiar Eastern Pennsylvania foes, Penn Fusion 95 (E-PA) used a trio of second-half goals to secure a 3-1 win over Lehigh Valley United 95 (E-PA). After a goalless first half, Colten Habecker gave LVU the momentum with a goal in the 52nd minute. That lead didn’t last long, as Jerome Patrick Murphy tied the game 10 minutes later. Fusion’s James Crowley followed that up with a 67th-minute go-ahead goal, and Anthony Daniele gave Penn Fusion some insurance with a tally in the 74th minute.
National League Boys action continues when 32 of the teams meet Dec. 27-29 in Orlando, Fla., alongside the Disney Soccer Showcase, while the remaining 48 squads play March 14-16 in Las Vegas, Nev., alongside the Players College Showcase. 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.