Day 2 of 3 complete
5 of 16 division champions to be decided on final day of the season
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LAS VEGAS, Nevada (March 16, 2013)
– The US Youth Soccer National League
Under-15, Under-16 and Under-17 and Under-18 Boys and Girls completed their second match of the weekend today at Bettye Wilson Soccer Complex in Las Vegas alongside the Player’s Showcase.
After three titles were determined yesterday, another three teams locked up a division championship today, meaning five of the 16 league championships will be decided on the final day of the season. Besides earning an automatic ticket to the 2013 US Youth Soccer National Championships
, teams in the U-15, U-16 and U-17 age groups are also vying for a top-2 finish to earn their automatic return to the league in the 2013-2014 National League season.
Six of last year’s eight National Champions have earned a top-two finish in the league this season to ensure a chance to defend their title, and a seventh could be added pending tomorrow’s results. Among them is the Under-16 Boys’ two-time defending National Champion, Fullerton Rangers 96 White (CA-S), who are playing their first season in the National League this year. Today, Fullerton clinched at least a top-two finish in the division after a 1-1 draw with Libertyville FC 1974 (IL), and will play for a third consecutive National Championship this July in Overland Park, Kan.
"I would say the competition has been exceptional (in the National League)," said Fullerton Rangers Director of Coaching, Jimmy Obleda. "We knew coming in this weekend, with the quality of Manhattan Paris Saint-Germain, Sereno and Libertyville, they’re the top teams in the nation. So, for us the National League has provided that competition throughout the country which is allowing us to continue to have a measuring stick of where we’re at, what we need to continue to do to be successful, and to not think that we’re at the top of the food chain, because we’re not. There are so many teams who are as good or better than us, so it just keeps us motivated. I couldn’t be happier with what the National League has brought to the team and the club."
2013 US Youth Soccer National Championship Qualifiers
Some highlights from today’s games…
Defending Region II Champion Cleveland United White (OH-N) clinched a return trip to Nationals yesterday, and today claimed the Blue Division title with a 2-0 defeat of OFC 96 (OK). Briana Steward carried the scoring load for Cleveland, netting twice within three minutes starting in the 19th and a Cleveland defense that has let in just one goal on the season did the rest for the top spot.
Defending National League and National Champion Legends FC (CA-S) will return to defend their National title and play tomorrow for their second straight National League title after a 4-0 victory over Javanon 97 Black (KY). After a scoreless first half, Legends went off for four goals in the second on two from Madison Stark and one each from Birkley Sigband and Madeline Haro. A victory tomorrow will give Legends the Red Division title.
After clinching a top-two spot with their win yesterday, Carlsbad Elite 97/98 (CA-S) claimed the Red Division title with a come-back victory over Oklahoma FC, 2-1 today. Oklahoma grabbed the lead in the 39th minute on a Jaci Jones goal and held the lead at halftime. But with just 13 minutes left in the game, Carlsbad leveled through Shelby Cormier, who then struck the winner with a minute left to deliver the crown to Carlsbad.
Defending Region II Champion Raiders FC Premier (IL) have played in the National League all four years they were eligible and will take home their first league championship this year after defeating SC del Sol 95 Armstrong (AZ) 2-0. Last year’s league leading scorer Alexis Monteon hit the game winner in the 11th minute and Qudus Lawal added a cushion in the 56th as Raiders can complete a rare perfect record with a win tomorrow.
Everest SC Black needed three wins to move into second place of the Blue Division, and they picked up their second comeback victory to play for a spot in Nationals tomorrow. Two-time National League champ Albion USA (CA-S) took the lead in the 15th minute from Ricardo Martinez, but Shane Wiedt and James Haupt each scored for Everest before halftime for the 2-1 lead and neither team could break through in the second half.
The Blue Division was a crowded mess coming into Las Vegas, with all four teams still alive for a top-two spot. But just two remain for the last berth to Nationals as Scottsdale Blackhawks momentarily assumed second place after taking down SDFC Gauchos (NJ), 6-2. The defending National League title holders took a two goal lead from Grant Galan and Samuel Gleadle heading into the break, but Gauchos’ Alexander Patel pulled one back five minutes after the restart. Blackhawks turned up the pressure to take a 4-1 lead through Connor Follett and Adam Mosharrafa goals, but Gauchos hung around with Patel’s second goal in the 67th. Blackhawks put the game away late however, as Gleadle grabbed his second and Alexis De La Rosa finished things off as a draw tomorrow will be good enough to send them back to Nationals.
CCV Stars 97 (AZ) would assure themselves of a top-two finish with a win in either of their last two games, and they pulled off a stunning second half comeback from two down to defeat KCSC Blackstars 96/97 (KS) 3-2, and will play for the Blue Division title tomorrow. KCSC took the lead in the 10th minute from Matthew Martel, and doubled it in the 36th through Ethan Bowman heading into the break. The second half was all CCV though, as Musa Morris scored the first of his double in the 57th to make it a one goal game before Alen Duvnjak equalized with four minutes to play. Morris completed the comeback with a stoppage time winner to send his team on to Nationals.
To stay alive for a top-two finish, Albion SC (CA-S) needed two wins in their final two games and anything but a CCV victory today. They got neither as 2012 National Finalist Challenger Crew Juniors Black (OH-N) defeated Albion 2-0 today. Ben Locke gave Challenger the lead in the 18th minute and Lawrence Karpeh added a cushion four minutes after halftime in the win.
The final day of National League action continues Sunday, March 17 at Bettye Wilson and Kellog Zaher Soccer Complexes with games at 8 a.m., 10 a.m. and noon PST.
The National League is an extension of the highly successful US Youth Soccer Regional Leagues (Region I Premier League, Midwest Regional League, Southern 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 per division to the annual US Youth Soccer National Championships, the oldest and most prestigious youth soccer national championship.
Teams that earn their spot in the National League have a proven track record of success in US Youth Soccer regional and national competitions, and are among the nation's best. Hundreds of college scouts attend each National League weekend, 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 club affiliation or location.