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ORLANDO, Fla. (Jan. 1, 2012)
– The US Youth Soccer National League
Under-15, Under-16, Under-17 and Under-18 Girls celebrated the new year by showcasing their talents in meaningful and competitive matches today at ESPN's Wide World of Sports in Orlando, Fla., in conjunction with the Disney Soccer Showcase.
Each division is represented by four of the league's eight teams per division age group this weekend, with the exception of all 12 U-18 teams who have finalized their division standings and will play the same seed from the opposite division Monday for outright league standings. This weekend of play will finalize league standings for the U-15, U-16 and U-17 groups until the remaining four teams per division age group compete in Las Vegas, Nev., March 23-25.
With one day of play still remaining in Orlando, no division championships other than the U-18's can be determined until play resumes in Las Vegas in March, a testament to the level of competition of each and every team who earned their spot to compete in the National League.
The Under-18 Girls group finalized division standings today with FC Pennsylvania Strikers (E-PA) claiming the Blue division and Toro Bravo (NE) the Red. Both teams have made prior National Championships appearances, with Toro Bravo claiming a Region II Championship and FC Pennsylvania claiming a National League slot in the 2008-2009 season, as well as the Region I Championship last year.
FC Pennsylvania has qualified for the National League in each season since their U-15 year, and coach David Shaw expressed his feelings when asked about the experience of playing in the league.
"Fantastic. National League is a collection of the best teams in the country. If you look at the teams that are playing in the National League this year and look at the ones that were playing in the National and Regional Championships last year, they're pretty much all the same teams. It's great competition up and down the line, great coaching, you can't beat it."
"In order to develop as a player and as a team you have to measure yourself by playing against the best competition out there. Playing in the National League gives you that opportunity to go out and play against the best, and if you're on top of your game you'll have success and if you're not you won't, and that's what it should be all about. It teaches you that success comes from hard work and that's the way life is too."
"This team has won the Eastern Pennsylvania State Cup for five years in a row, they've won regionals twice, been a National League representative at Nationals once, and I think that comes from teaching them things even outside of soccer. Learn to try your best and you earn success from hard work and trying your best."
National League teams are club soccer teams with an individual proven track record of success in US Youth Soccer regional and national competitions, and are among the nation's best. Games are being played in conjunction with the Disney Soccer Showcase, creating another significant opportunity for the nations collegiate and National Team coaches to see National League players in an environment of meaningful play, citing the competitive level of each game as every team has to earn their spot in the competition, regardless of hometown or club affiliation.
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. In addition to recruiting opportunities, National League teams compete for the league title and two slots to the annual US Youth Soccer National Championships
for the U-15 through U-17 age groups.
Some highlights from today's matches…
VSA Heat 96 Blue (VA)
jumped Sunrise-Weston Sting (FL)
into third place in the division with a 2-0 victory. Kristin Schnurr netted twice in the second half with 43rd
minute and stoppage time goals to not only put VSA into the third spot, but place Schnurr into a tie for second among all scorers with four.
JB Marine Wipke (MO)
was making a charge for the top spot in the Red division, but PWSI Courage 96 Red (VA)
had something to say about that, coming out with a 2-0 win. Allison Turner scored the eventual winner nine minutes after the restart and Annie Boros clinched the game nine minutes from time to give PWSI their first victory of the season.
KCFC Futura Academy (MO)
is putting the rest of the division under heat as they extended their lead atop the Red division after a 4-2 victory over AHFC 96 (S-TX)
, who was looking to make a run for the title as well. KCFC standout Savannah Trujillo exploded for four goals in the game, giving her top spot among scorers with seven total. Trujillo netted twice in the first 10 minutes, and again in the 21st
for a 3-0 KCFC lead, but AHFC showed their resolve with goals by Michaela Abam and Shaylee Ward to get within one before Trujillo grabbed her fourth to seal the win for KCFC.
Only one team could make a realistic charge for the Blue championship, and VSA Heat Blue (VA)
overcame JB Marine Wipke (MO)
3-2 to take first place in the division and stay in contention for a National Championships berth. The importance of the match was obvious as VSA twice came back from a goal down to eventually get the winner six minutes before time. Brianne Ebenroth scored first for JB Marine in the 15th
and the lead lasted until the 50th
when Vanessa Kovar leveled for VSA. Jade Klump put JBM back on top nine minutes later, but Ashley Herndon again equalized in the 69th
before VSA completed the comeback when Christina Corbin scored in the 79th
Both Michigan FC 95
and Herndon Firecats (VA)
were trying to stay in the hunt for the division, but a 1-1 tie mathematically eliminates Herndon. Cassandra Smith put Herndon in the lead two minutes after the restart, but Elizabeth Abro drew level for Michigan six minutes later as Michigan will face Eclipse Select 94/95 (IL)
tomorrow for a possible spot in Nationals.
National League action continues Monday, Jan. 2, at ESPN's Wide World of Sports Soccer Complex with games at 8:30 and 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. ET. For complete standings, scores and schedules, click here
or go to /National_League/
. Follow National League on Twitter (@nationalleague
About the United States Youth Soccer Association (US Youth Soccer)
– US Youth Soccer - "The Game for ALL Kids!®"
is the largest youth sports organization in the country and largest member of the United States Soccer Federation, the governing body of soccer in the United States. US Youth Soccer registers more than 3 million players annually, ages 5 to 19, and over 900,000 administrators, coaches and volunteers in 55 member State Associations. US Youth Soccer programs provide a fun, safe and healthy environment for players at every level of the game. For more information, visit www.USYouthSoccer.org
When referring to the United States Youth Soccer Association, the largest youth sports organization in the United States, please refer to the association only as US Youth Soccer, and never as USYS or USYSA. We appreciate your cooperation.
About US Youth Soccer National League -
Formed in 2007, the US Youth Soccer National League was developed as a path of advancement for the top teams from the US Youth Soccer Regional Leagues. In addition to meaningful matches, development and identification, the league created a direct path to the annual US Youth Soccer National Championships. League play features the Under-15, Under-16, Under-17 and Under-18 age groups for boys and girls who are seeking to advance their college, professional and U.S. National Team aspirations. Learn more at /National_League/