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WILSON, N.C. (Dec. 7, 2019) — Just one more day remains in the opening week of the 2019-20 US Youth Soccer National League 15U-19U Girls season, with Sunday’s matches solidifying team standings in the age group until half of the field of teams meets again at the National League Winter Showcase in Lakewood Ranch, Fla.
The third day of league play in North Carolina tends to separate the field as teams settle in after an anxious start to the season. While several teams have begun to make strides in the group standings, no division has a clear favorite to claim the title. Two points or less separate the top two teams in 14 of the 18 divisions, and 10 of the divisions contain ties atop the standings.
All teams competing for National League division titles also have a chance to secure a spot in the 2020 US Youth Soccer National Championships if they finish atop their group standings — adding meaning and intensity to each and every match during the season.
In 2019, National League teams claimed 12 of a possible 12 National Championships. Five defending National Champions are competing in North Carolina, and just two — SC Wave 04 Girls Blue Juniors (WI) and Lou Fusz 03 Blue McKee/McVey (MO) — have won all three games to open the season.
On Saturday, defending National Champion Cleveland FC 02 (OH-N) needed a late winner to secure its second win of the week after beginning the season with a tie. Fullerton Rangers 02 White (CA-S) keeper Sage Strohman saved a powerful 80th-minute Haley Anspach header, but Anspach converted a later counter attack chance to give Cleveland the 2-1 win.
“The past couple of years, we’ve actually got to play the former National Champions in our National League division. It was always like, ‘Let’s get them. They just won. We’ve got to get on top of them,’” Cleveland FC 02 defender Madi Snyder said. “We know exactly how other teams are feeling coming into games playing us. So, there’s definitely a target on our back, but I think we’ve handled it well so far.”
Each year, the competition in the National League provides teams with a look at the level of play they could face should they advance to the National Championships. For DKSC 05 Black (TX-N), which won the 14U National Championship this past summer, playing in the National League last season showed the team the standard it would need to meet in order to win the National title.
“I think the National League certainly surprised us last year in terms of the quality of the teams we were up against,” DKSC coach Adam Flynn said. “This year is no different, if not better. That’s what we want for our girls, to have competition at that level and improve as players and be tested.”
In addition to berths to the annual US Youth Soccer National Championships and recruiting opportunities, National League teams in the 14U-18U age groups are also competing for a chance to re-qualify for the National League’s 2020-21 season.
National League action will continue Sunday, Dec. 8, as the 15U-19U Girls teams each play their fourth game of the season. 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 notes from Saturday’s matches…
- TFA Elite 05 (OH-S) has yet to concede a goal and leads the 15U White Division with nine points.
- SC Wave Juniors 05 Girls (WI) is the lone team in the age group to have reached 10 goals scored through three games. It is tied at the top of Red Division with defending National Champion D'Feeters 05 Black (TX-N).
- Five teams are tied with six points each at the top of the Black Division.
- Taylor Gordon of SC Wave scored four goals on Saturday, while Isabel Montileone added a hat trick for LFA Geerling 05 (MO).
- Kathleen O’Fitzgerald of Empire United Elite Academy 05 (NY-W) scored one of the fastest goals of the day, as she scored in the first minute on Saturday.
- Nine of the 16 games were decided by one goal or less on Saturday.
- There were strong defensive efforts by eight teams who did not concede a single goal on Saturday.
- Libertyville FC 1974 Elite (IL) edged out MN Eclipse 04 Girls (MN), 3-2, and now leads the Red Division with 9 points.
- Jordynn Dudley of GA Rush 2004G (GA) scored two more goals today in Rush’s 3-1 win, taking her to six goals total. Dudley and Meghan Mrowicki of Libertyville FC 1974 Elite (IL) lead the age group with six goals each over three games.
- Eleven of the 16 games were decided by one goal or less.
- Samantha Sophonia of Impact MN (UT) scored her second hat trick in as many days and is currently tied as the age group’s top scorer with Chloe Netzel of Lou Fusz 03 Blue (MO) and Jenna Lang of Indy Premier 03G Elite I (IN).
- Impact MN (UT) and Sunrise Prime 2003 X1 (FL) both got wins today and lead the Black Division with 9 points each after three games.
- Lou Fusz 03 Blue (MO) and Cleveland FC 03 Royal (OH-N) both got wins today and are at the top of the White Division with perfect records through three games.
- Sparta FC 02 Elite (TX-N) has yet to concede a goal and is tied with Legends FC 02 Academy II (CA-S) at the top of the 18U Blue Division.
- North Shore United 2002 Blue (WI) has outscored opponents, 14-to-0, to build a small advantage in the 18U Red Division with a 3-0-0 record.
- Emma Bundy netted a hat trick to help Beadling 02G Showcase (PA-W) to its third win of the weekend.
- Kiana Tulloch of Sunrise Prime X1 (FL) netted one of the fastest goals of the day, as she scored in the first minute on Saturday.
- Five of the eight games in the 19U age group were decided by one goal or less on Saturday.
- 1776 United FC 01 Xtreme (PA-E) and Kentucky Fire Juniors G01 Premier Red (KY) are both 3-0-0 and tied atop the 19U Blue Division standings.
- La Roca PO (UT) is 3-0-0 and leads the 19U Red Division.
- Caitlin Donovan of 1776 United FC 01 Xtreme (PA-E) netted two goals on Saturday to add to her age group-leading scoring mark. She now has six goals.
Keep up with the National League all season:
National League Home: USYouthSoccer.org/National_League
Schedule and results: https://www.usyouthsoccer.org/tournaments/2019-20-national-league/