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LAKEWOOD RANCH, Fla. (Jan. 10, 2020) — The 2019-20 US Youth Soccer National League season resumed play Friday, as half of the girls teams in the 15U through 19U age groups competed at the Premier Sports Campus in Lakewood Ranch, Fla. In addition to the National League matches, 24 US Youth Soccer Conference teams are competing in showcase games at the event.
The battle for positioning in the standings remains close, and there is still little clarity at the top of most of the divisions.
One such division that entered the weekend with a very close race in the standings is the 15U Black Division, where six teams left the opening event with at least two wins. After seeing his team battle for a draw on Friday, 15U PSC Coppa Rage (PA-E) coach Tom DeGeorge said any team in the league is capable of beating any other, and nothing can be assumed entering a match. That competition level provides an environment for his players to develop.
“This is my first year doing the National League, and I’m a big fan,” DeGeorge said. “The level you’re playing at, the speed of the game. I tell the girls all the time, ‘This will take you to the next level, whether it be playing in school or going to college.’ In this environment, when everything is on the line all the time and you need to perform, I think it helps them.”
Following his team’s shutout win on Friday, 18U Team Chicago Academy 2002 Elite (IL) coach Phil Nielsen offered a similar sentiment, as he said the National League helps the players familiarize the standards that are needed at the next level of play.
“Playing these games is huge for the players’ development. Everything around the game is high level,” Nielsen said. “That just makes players give an extra 5 or 10 percent. The more games you play where you’re giving an extra 5 or 10 percent, it just makes you a more complete player.”
The National League Girls teams that do not compete in Florida will continue their season at the Players College Showcase in Las Vegas — with games played March 20-22.
The National League provides an avenue for teams to play in meaningful matches against top competition from across the country for continued development and opportunities for exposure to coaches at the next levels of play. In addition to recruiting opportunities, the top finishers from each division will earn a ticket to the 2020 US Youth Soccer National Championships, making each match valuable to the teams’ fate as it could make or break their chance at competing for the National Championship.
The teams competing in Lakewood Ranch will continue play with games on Saturday. Complete standings, scores and schedules, including goal scorers and match information, can be found at the results page here. Click on the score of each game for more information.
Some highlights from Friday’s matches…
Six of the eight teams in 15U Black Division had at least six points in the standings after the North Carolina weekend, and the matchup between LFA Geerling 05 (MO) and PSC Coppa Rage (PA-E) on Friday epitomized the competitiveness of the group. Isabel Montileone put LFA in front in the 27th minute, but Taylor Mays equalized just before halftime for PSC. The Missouri side regained the lead in the 53rd minute on a Morgan Struttmann tally, but Emma Levin provided another response for PSC to force a 2-2 draw. Century Gold (PA-W) now leads the group after a shutout win on Friday, as it has 10 points from its first five matches of the season.
SC Wave Juniors 05 (WI) continued its undefeated season in the 15U Red Division with a 3-0 win over STA 2005G USYS (NJ). SC Wave jumped out to a great start when Taylor Gordon and Claire Tracy scored back-to-back goals in the 10th and 11th minutes. Camryn Ries got in on the action when she hit a lofted shot that went beyond the keeper’s reach and put SC Wave up 3-0 going into the second half. SW Wave held on to the lead to get the win and moved into sole position of first place in the 15U Red Division.
In a matchup of two of the top teams in the 16U Black Division standings, Pacesetter 04 Girls Red (OH-N) fought back from a goal down to win, 2-1, against FC Revolution Dynamo (PA-E). The Eastern PA side struck first when Emily Vishio found the back of the net in the 17th minute. However, Pacesetter quickly responded a few minutes later with an equalizer from Paige Radel. Early in the second half, Meredith Greeley gave the Ohio North side the lead with a left-footed blast that flew just under the bar. The proved to be the winning goal, as Pacesetter moved past FC Revolution and into the top spot in the division.
Libertyville FC 1974 Elite (IL) held on to first place in the 16U Red Division with an exciting win over Philadelphia SC Coppa Swarm 04 (PA-W). After a first half packed with strong defensive efforts on both sides, the teams went into halftime scoreless. Meghan Mrowicki gave Libertyville the lead in the 55th minute when she was able to dribble around the keeper and put the ball in the back of net. Libertyville held the lead until the end to get the victory and are now four points ahead of the second place team in the 16U Red Division.
The top four teams in the 17U White Division standings are all playing in Florida, and the group is led by defending National Champion Lou Fusz 03 Blue - McKee/McVey (MO). The Missouri side came away with a big win on Friday to move to 5-0-0 on the season. Meanwhile, Peyton Gilmore hit a blast late in the first half to help FC Copa Academy 03 NL Black (NJ) to a tight 1-0 win against previously unbeaten Cleveland FC 03 Royal (OH-N).
Team Chicago Academy-2002 Elite (IL) climbed toward the top of the 18U Blue Division standings with a 4-0 win against HMMS Eagle FC Impact 02 (PA-E) on Friday. The Illinois side jumped out in front with a strike from Abigail Dellamorte in the 17th minute. Hannah Bradley-Leon doubled the lead with a 33rd-minute goal, and Ava Hensley finished at the back post just a minute later to give Team Chicago a comfortable lead heading into the break. Bradley-Leon capped the scoring with a 71st-minute goal to seal the 4-0 victory for Team Chicago, moving it into a tie atop the standings with idle Legends FC 02 Academy II (CA-S).
Friday saw a matchup between the first and second place teams — PSA National 02 (NJ) and North Shore United 2002 Blue (WI) — in the 18U White Division. PSA’s Julia Eichenbaum came to play as she scored PSA’s first two goals within the first 24 minutes. PSA scored two more goals in the second half with one coming from Eichenbaum, as she completed the hat trick. With a strong defensive stand throughout, PSA was able to get the 4-0 win. PSA moved past North Shore into first place in the 18U White Division with the win.
In the 19U Blue Division, 1776 United FC 01 Xtreme (PA-E) took on Sunrise Prime FC 2001 X1 (FL) looking for its fifth win in a row. Gabriella Curry struck first for 1776 United with a goal in the 2nd minute, and the Eastern PA side went into halftime with a 2-0 lead after Sophia Muetterties found the back of the net in the 36th minute. A late goal by Sunrise wasn’t enough, as Calista Courtney and Alivia Hamilton both scored for 1776 United in the second half to give their side a 4-1 victory and continue their winning streak.
Keep up with the National League all season:
National League Home: USYouthSoccer.org/National_League
Schedule and results: USYouthSoccer.org/tournaments/2019-20-National-League/