Soccer America's Top 5 Boys Clubs
1 Baltimore Casa Mia Bays. The Bays, part of the Baltimore Bays program, have won U.S. Youth Soccer national championships in each of the last three years. In addition, they won the inaugural U.S. Soccer Development Academy championship in the U-17/18 age group with a dramatic overtime win. Chris Agorsor, now at Virginia, was named the U-17/18 Player of the Year, and teammate Andrew Bullis won Academy Goal of the Year. The Bays had teams in each of the 2008 U-13 to U-15 Maryland state finals, so there's more talent on the way.
2 Dallas Texans. The Texans kept up their record of having won a U.S. Youth Soccer national championship in each of the last four years when they captured the U-16 national championship only months after winning the inaugural U.S. Youth Soccer National League title in the same age category. The depth of the wide-ranging Texans program was evident at the Disney's Soccer Showcase, where three Texans teams were crowned champions and 11 teams competed in placement games.
3 Andromeda. The Plano-based club became only the third club - after FC Delco in 2001 and the Dallas Texans in 2005 - to win two U.S. Youth Soccer national championships in the same year when they won the 2008 U-17 and U-18 titles. For the U-18s, it was the second year in a row they won their age group. Like the Texans, Andromeda is competing this season in the Development Academy's new Texas division.
4 Arsenal FC. The Alta Loma, Calif., club celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2008. Its best finish at the National Championships was second in the U-14 division, but it marked the fifth straight year it had at least one team reach the final. Arsenal (with no direct affiliation to the English club of the same name) finished second in its U-17/18 division in the Development Academy.
5 Chicago Magic. For the first time in more than a decade, the Magic didn't win a regional title in an age group that now sends its winner to the National Championships. Still, it was a good year for the Magic. It finished fifth in the U-15/16 age group at the Development Academy's Finals Week. It topped the annual Super Y-League "First 11" Rankings.
Soccer America's Top 5 Girls Clubs
1 Dallas Texans. The Dallas Texans made history when they won three girls titles at the 2008 U.S. Youth Soccer National Championships in North Little Rock, Ark. In a battle of the titans of girls soccer, the Texans defeated Eclipse Select, last year's No. 1, to capture the U-17 and U-16 crowns. Between their five boys and five girls titles, the Texans hold the record with 10 national championships. Ryan Higginbotham, the Texans' girls director of coaching, was named 2008 NSCAA/adidas National Youth Girls Coach of the Year
2 Eclipse Select. The Chicago area club almost matched its achievement of sending four teams to the 2006 U.S. Youth Soccer National Championships when it qualified three teams for the 2008 finals in North Little Rock. Its four national titles (all won in the last five years) put in a tie for fourth place among girls clubs. The program has quickly evolved from two teams in 1997 to more than 60 across five parts of Illinois.
3 So Cal Blues. The club began almost a quarter a century ago with one team, the U-19 Harbor City Bluejacks. The Blues have become a national powerhouse, winning U.S. Youth Soccer national titles in 2000, 2005 and 2007. Program director Tab Bobak is the U.S. U-15 national team coach.
4 Slammers FC. The Slammers, another Southern California giant, sent six teams to the '08 US Youth Soccer Region IV championships and came away with three regional titles, one more than they won in 2007. Four seniors are ranked among the top 30 recruits in the country: Courtney Garcia (USC), Mariah Nogueira (Stanford), Zakiya Bywaters (UCLA) and Kylie Bono (Tennessee).
5 Sting SC. The Dallas club, winner of the first national girls championship in 1980, has sent four teams to the U.S. Youth Soccer National Championships in the last three years and won its eighth title when it beat the Slammers, 2-1, in the 2007 U-14 Elmer Ehlers Cup final. The club has expanded out of Dallas to operate programs in East Texas.