Day 2 of 4 complete
Scores and Standings [link]
Daily video updates [link]
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (Dec. 9, 2011) – A cool and overcast day welcomed the Under-15, Under-16 Under-17 and Under-18 US Youth Soccer National League Boys to day two of games at Sports Blast and Sicard Hollow Athletic Complex in Birmingham, Ala.
The U-15 and U-16 teams from GSA Phoenix of Georgia earned their place in the league this season, joining one boys' team and one girls' team from the club to previously earn a spot in the league.
""We've had a chance to be here in the past and it's really second to none. What I love about National League is that you have to earn your way to get here, it's not something that's given, so I think this is the league you look forward to being in because now you know you're going to be playing the top teams throughout the country, and there's nothing an elite athlete looks for more than that. That's the real thing about this,"" said GSA Boys Director of Coaching Nuno Piteira.
""I think if you're a real athlete you measure yourself against the best, and we know what we are in Region III in terms of competition and how we play, so to have that feel for what happens in the Northeast, the West Coast, the Midwest, it's a great thing because it gives players that great insight and that great confidence for where they are not only regionally, but more importantly where they are nationally.""
""It gives you the chance to compete against the best but not only that, if you're a college coach, what you want is to be in a position to evaluate, look at players and measure them against the very best. So we've put ourselves in a position to really showcase our athletes. There are college coaches here out of the Northeast, Midwest and so-forth that don't have the chance to see kids out of our region every day and they have a chance now to watch the best of the best and say 'There's someone that might make a difference in our program'.""
Under-16 GSA Phoenix 96 Red gave up a last minute goal to Region III rival West Pines United Black (FL) yesterday to draw 1-1. Today they finished off the game to come out 1-0 victors and claim a tie for the second spot in the division.
""Ultimately, when you're in this type of event you've got to get points. We played a great Beachside team out of Connecticut today; very competitive, very athletic and they really pressured us and didn't allow us to do what we like to do. So, to come out of here with three points is massive. Now we look forward to tomorrow because now we know we kind of have an opportunity to be in the mix and look for that thing that all these teams are looking for, which is a bid into the National Championships.""
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. Close to 300 collegiate, professional and National Team coaches are expected to attend this 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 hometown or club affiliation.
The first place team from each division (blue and red) in the U-15, 16 and 17 age groups will earn a ticket to the 2012 US Youth Soccer National Championships
, making each match valuable to the team's fate as it could make or break their chance at competing for a National Championship.
Some highlights from today's matches…
The second day of U-17 Boys play featured two teams from last summer's National Championships as Albion SC White
(CA-S), National League division winner and National Championships runner-up in each of the last two seasons, met Region I Champion Beadling SC 94/95
(PA-W). 2010-2011 National League division scoring leader and '11 National Championships Golden Ball winner Ariel Lassiter stepped up again as he finished off a low cross with a one-time shot in stoppage time to give Albion the 1-0 win.
Galaxy 94/95 Blue
(IL) took an early lead over AC Bethesda
(MD) with Jack Patrick's 2nd
minute goal. But last year's division runner-up, Bethesda, finally grabbed an equalizer in the 83rd
from Region I ODP member Christopher OdoiAtsem to save a point with a 1-1 draw.
Region III finalist GSA 96 Phoenix Red
(GA) defeated Connecticut state champ Beachside SC
1-0 to move into the top three of the Under-16 Red. Georgia ODP player Joseph Sandres scored the game winner for GSA in the 18th
minute as they improve to 1-0-1.
West Pines United Black
(FL) joined GSA and division leader Michigan Jaguars
atop the group after their 2-1 come from behind victory over AHFC 96
(TX-S). Geraldo Arriaga scored first for AHFC in the 12th
minute, but Jamar Campion Hinds equalized in the 32nd
before Jon Ross Walker put in the game winner for West Pines with nine minutes to play.
Region II semifinalist CUP Crew Jrs. Gold 95
(OH-S) and, National League returnee and Eastern Pennsylvania state champ Lehigh Valley United 95
(E-PA) could not be separated as they ended 0-0. CUP now has two draws while Lehigh drops to the bottom of the table with a tie and a loss.
Region I champion Smithtown Arsenal
(NY-E) jumped into the win column with a 2-1 comeback victory versus Region III semifinalist, Concorde Fire Elite
(GA). Andrew Deltac struck first for Concorde just before the break, but two goals in four minute from Matthew Aprile in the 60th
and Steven Braccioforte in the 64th
lead Smithtown back for the win.
Missouri state champion St. Louis Scott Gallagher Academy
knocked off Pennsylvania East state champ Lehigh Valley United 96
3-1 to stay unbeaten. Ryan Ebert notched the first goal for SLSG in the 23rd
and Youth National Team member Logan Panchot doubled the lead in the 31st
. LVU's Cade Harmon cut the lead in half with a goal just after the restart, but Jessie Messerly extended the lead back to two in the 65th
to close out the win for SLSG.
Maryland state champion MSC Magic Green
settled for two draws in its first two games, drawing 0-0 with GSA Phoenix 97 Red
(GA). GSA gained their first point in the tie.