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LAS VEGAS, Nevada (March 17, 2013)
– The US Youth Soccer National League
Under-15, Under-16, Under-17 and Under-18 Boys and Girls completed their third and final day of matches today at Bettye Wilson and Kellog Zaher Soccer Complexes in Las Vegas, held in alongside the Players Showcase. Today marked the final day of the 2012-2013 season, and standings are finalized with division titles, berths to the US Youth Soccer National Championships and guaranteed spots in the league next year decided.
With half of the teams in each division completing their season in Orlando at the start of the year, 11 of the 16 division titles had to wait until the final weekend in Las Vegas to be decided, including five divisions coming down to the last day of play. The top two finishers per division earned a place at this summer’s US Youth Soccer National Championships
, July 22-28 in Overland Park, Kan., and those in the U-15, U-16 and U-17 age groups earned an automatic spot to compete in the league again next season. With so much on the line, games in Las Vegas carried significant meaning toward the outcome of the season.
Under-18 Girls Legends FC (CA-S) were the only team to defend their division championship this season, and the 2012 National finalists are just the third team to ever win multiple National League Girls titles. The U-18’s gave Legends FC its fifth Girls league title as a club, putting Legends in a tie with the Dallas Texans (N-TX) for most Girls championships. GSA Phoenix (GA), with the Under-16 Boys Red title, is now tied for the most Boys championships of all time, also with the Dallas Texans.
Two girls clubs; Legends FC (CA-S) and Match Fit Academy (NJ), and three boys clubs; Concorde Fire Elite (GA), GSA Phoenix (GA) and West Coast FC (CA-S), qualified multiple teams for the 2013 National Championships through league play this season.
Two teams completed the 2012-2013 season with perfect 7-0 records. Under-18 Girls Team Chicago Academy Botafogo (IL) became the third girls team in the six year history of the league to accomplish the feat, and Under-15 Boys Sunrise Elite 97/98 (FL) became the fourth boys team to run the table.
There were some notable goal scoring performances this season as Under-17 Boys OBGC Rangers (MD) matched their league best output set last year, and now hold the two best Boys scoring seasons in league history with 22 goals each of the last two years. Under-15 Girls Carlsbad Elite (CA-S) scored 25 times this season and Under-16 Girls Match Fit Academy Colchesters (NJ) netted 23 times. The only girls team to tally more goals in a season was Scorpions Elite (MA), set in 2009-2010.
There were some impressive defensive efforts put forth as well. Under-16 Girls Legends FC (CA-S) conceded just one goal all season, putting them with three other girls teams for the fewest goals allowed all-time. Under-16 Boys Fullerton Rangers 97 White (CA-S) let in only two goals, and Under-15 Boys Sunrise Elite 97/98 (FL) allowed just three, putting them in the top-10 boys defensive efforts in a season.
The 32 teams that will advance to the National Championships will now be eyeing the ultimate prize, as National League teams have won 20 of the last 30 possible National Championships, including seven of eight in 2012.
2013 US Youth Soccer National Championship Qualifiers
Some highlights from today’s matches…
Beadling SC Thunder (PA-W) had a chance to move into a four-way tie in points for second place in the Red Division to end the season, but defending Region I Champion PDA Ginga (NJ) decided to take things into their own hands with the game winning goal just nine minutes before the final whistle to move into sole possession of the second spot with a 1-0 win. PDA locked up their second straight trip to the National Championships on the back of George Washington commit Brittany Cooper’s 81st minute goal.
Defending National Champion Legends FC (CA-S) will move on to defend their crown after a top-two finish, but came up just short of repeating as National League champions after a 0-0 draw with Carlsbad Elite (CA-S). Holding the head-to-head tiebreaker over Match Fit Academy Colchesters (NJ), Legends needed a win on the final day to pull even in points and claim the Red Division title. After posting four shutouts at the National Championships last July, Legends gave up just one goal this National League season en route to a second place spot.
Defending National Champion MSC Coyotes took the Blue Division title away from Tampa Bay United 97 Premier (FL) with a 1-0 win over Region II Champion Ambassadors FC (OH-N). Needing a win to move into first place, Amanda Wilson scored the winner for Coyotes with a minute to play. MSC also defeated Ambassadors in the final preliminary game of the 2012 National Championships to advance to the final, and will have the chance to defend that title this year.
Everest SC Black (OH-N) were looking to complete a highlight weekend with their third straight come from behind victory to claim second place in the Blue Division, but their final hurdle was just too much as Lexington FC 95 White (KY) went on to win 3-1. The Everest loss means defending National Champion Galaxy SC (IL) will hang onto the second spot. After coming from behind to win by one goal in their last two games, Everest leveled the score with LFC at 1-1 just after halftime through Shane Wiedt. Cincinnati commit Tyrus Sciarra had put LFC ahead in the 7th, and Everest’s final comeback was cut off by Kentuckey commit Sam Miller’s 71st minute goal and Northern Kentucky commit Ben Rossoll’s 77th minute addition for LFC.
West Coast FC (CA-S) took down defending National League title holders Scottsdale 96 Blackhawks (AZ) 1-0 on the final day to jump the Arizona side and into second place of the Blue Division. After winning the Cal-South State Championship last year, West Coast fell in the Region IV final to miss out on the 2012 National Championships. A draw was good with Scottsdale as they held the advantage in goal differential, but Nicolo D’Amato converted a 6th minute penalty kick and the goal West Coast needed to head on to Overland Park.
CCV Stars 97 Black (AZ) took the top spot in the Blue Division after they stormed through their first National League season with a 6-1 record. Stars clinched a berth to Nationals and a spot in the league next year yesterday, but weren’t content with second spot as the defeated Albion SC White (CA-S) 3-0 to close the season. Tate Schmitt grabbed the brace with goals in the 10th and 70th minutes and Manuel Garcia added one just after halftime.
Dix Hills Elite (E-NY) defeated Empire Revolution Buffalo (NY-W) 1-0 on the final day of the season to jump Concorde Fire Elite (GA) and into second place, punching their ticket to the National Championships. Richie Mastrangelo delivered the goal Dix Hills needed in the 13th minute, and the defense held on the rest of the way as Dix Hills is planning for Overland Park.
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.