Day 2 of 3 complete
5 of 16 division champions to be decided on final day of the season
Schedules, scores and standings [link]
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LAS VEGAS, Nevada (March 24, 2012)– The US Youth Soccer National League Under-15, Under-16 and Under-17 Boys and Girls, and Under-18 Boys completed their second match of the weekend today at Bettye Wilson Soccer Complex in Las Vegas alongside the Players Showcase.
After three titles were determined yesterday, another six teams locked up a division championship today, meaning five of the 14 league championships will be decided on the final day of the season. Besides earning an automatic ticket to the 2012 US Youth Soccer National Championships, teams are also vying for a top-2 finish to earn their return to the league in the 2012-2013 National League season.
2011-2012 National League Champions
U-15 Blue: Kings Soccer Academy (OH-S)*
U-15 Red: Legends FC (CA-S)*
U-16 Red: KCFC/Futura Academy (MO)
U-18 Blue: FC Pennsylvania Strikers (E-PA)
U-18 Red: Toro Bravo (NE)
U-15 Blue: Chicago Magic (IL)
U-15 Red: CUP Crew Juniors Gold 96/97 (OH-S)*
U-16 Blue: Scottsdale 96 Blackhawks (AZ)*
U-16 Red: GSA 96 Phoenix Red (GA)
U-17 Red: Eastside FC 94 Red (WA)*
U-18 Red: Grand Rapids Crew Juniors (MI)*
*clinched title today
The US Youth Soccer National League also provides opportunities for players to showcase their talents as over 500 collegiate programs are present this weekend to scout 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 location or club affiliation.
Under-17 Boys Eastside FC 94 Red (WA) let a National League title slip away last season on the final day of play. They went on to win the Region IV Championships to earn a place in the National Championships, but after a four-way tie after group play, they were left out of the title game. The Washington side will return to Nationals after clinching their division today, and Coach Dan Strom expressed how the National League has helped Eastside take the next step in their development.
"Well first of all, the National League is a great opportunity for top level teams to play against phenomenal opponents. The teams we’ve played in the National League have all given us a challenge and been a great opportunity to develop as a team and as individual players, and also to show for college coaches. So we are really fortunate and lucky to be a part of this."
"I think the National League is about learning how to play in this league a little bit. I think if you come in one year it’s tough to win it because you don’t understand that every game requires you to play your best and be effective. This year we’re a much better defending group, a much more balanced team and we’ve learned how to win the close games."
Eastside have had two players commit to college programs already, Stanford and Seattle Pacific respectively, and Strom explains how playing the National League has helped open doors for his players to showcase their talents to colleges from all over the country.
"The National League provides the opportunity for the players to be seen by college coaches. The Alabama event had a lot of college coaches and there are quite a few here as well. We’ve had a lot of response, a lot of players receiving contacts and being recruited. We’ve had some players commit and it’s a great opportunity and we’re lucky to be a part of it. It’s an important part of what we do as a team."
"We won the regional title in Region IV and came up just shy of the national title game last year, and we were determined that we wanted to get back. I’m proud of them. Their work ethic, their ability to play, and we haven’t lost a game all year. It’s a great group of players, great personality, character and they train consistently, so I’m a fortunate coach to be able to work with this level of players. Clearly every team wants to win a national title. We’re excited, very excited."
Some highlights from today’s games…
Kings Soccer Academy (OH-S) made a statement with their 5-0 victory over Match Fit Chelsea Colchesters (NJ) yesterday, and the Region II finalist took care of business today as they defeated Farmingdale United (NY-E) 1-0 to capture the Blue division title. Katie Murray punched KSA’s ticket to Nationals with a 4th minute goal that stood to deliver the championship.
Legends FC (CA-S) defeated Region II semifinalist Javanon 97 Black (KY) 5-0 to claim the Red crown and book their trip to South Carolina in convincing fashion. Kayra Dollas grabbed the momentum for Legends with a 4th minute goal and Michelle Alozie doubled the lead just before the break. Mikayla Flores grabbed a second half double before Alozie struck for her brace in the 87th to finish the game.
Legends FC 95 (CA-S) wanted to wrap up the Blue title today, but they will have to play one more day to earn their trip to South Carolina despite defeating Cleveland United White (OH-N) 1-0. Match Fit Chelsea Beat (NJ) kept their chances alive with a win also, meaning Legends need a victory or anything other than a Match Fit win tomorrow for the championship. It looked as if Legends might drop two points and hand the advantage to Match Fit today, but Amanda Ball moved into a tie for second in the scoring charts with a stoppage time goal to keep Legends in control of the group.
Among all the standout players in the 2011-2012 National League season, it would be hard to find a player who’s had a better run than Luke Treadway. After leading CUP Crew Jrs. Gold (OH-S) to the Red division title with two goals in a 3-0 win over Albion SC White (CA-S), the forward has now scored in every game of the season, with 10 total. Treadway put CUP in front in the 20th minute and JJ Iroh scored the insurance goal in the 53rd before Treadway finished things off in the 72nd to send CUP on to Nationals.
Scottsdale 96 Blackhawks came up just shy of a title last season, but they’re headed to the National Championships this year after taking down Concorde Fire Elite (GA) 3-0 for the Blue crown. Brian Booker Jr. netted the game winner in the 25th minute and Sam Gleadle scored in the 46th and 67th to clinch the division for the Blackhawks.
Last season, Eastside FC 94 Red (WA) had a chance to win their division on the final day of the season, but dropped a 1-0 decision to Albion SC White (CA-S) who took home the title. Eastside earned a trip to the National Championships anyway by claiming the Region IV title, but even though they avenged that loss to Albion, Eastside ended up on the wrong side of a four-way tie and outside of the National Championship game. They’ve made no mistake this year, as Eastside claimed the Red title with a 5-0 victory over 94 HFC Red (NC) on two goals each from Beau Blanchard and Stanford commit Jordan Morris, and one from Madison Heck . Eastside can make history tomorrow as they are 6-0 on the season and have yet to be scored on. In the five year history of the National League, a total of just three teams have finished the season with a perfect record, but no team has been able to do so without conceding a goal.
Grand Rapids Crew Jrs. (MI), the defending National Champion, capped off an impressive four years of National League play with their second title today, knocking off Dallas Texans Red (N-TX) 4-1. Grand Rapids also won the league in 2009-2010 and finished second in 2008-2009. They had their worst finish in National League play last season, but claimed the Region II Championship to move on and take home their only National title. Today, Oakland commit Jacob Vanderlaan put Grand Rapids in front in the 41st minute before Texans’ Jared Beiermann leveled in the 61st. Michigan State signee and 2011 National Championships Golden Ball winner Sean Conerty put Grand Rapids back in front for good two minutes later, and Butler commit Caleb Postlewait and Detroit Mercy commit Matthew Harkema added insurance goals for the title.
The final day of National League action continues Sunday, March 25 at Bettye Wilson Soccer Complex with games at 8 a.m., 10 a.m. and noon PST.
Keep up with the National League all season:
National League Home: USYouthSoccer.org/National_League
Schedule and results: http://tournaments.usyouthsoccer.org/events/2011-2012-National-League/
You Tube: YouTube.com/usyouth
Signup for news: http://www.usyouthsoccer.org/Kwik_Kicks_e_Newsletter/