Six teams solidify berths to the 2017 US Youth Soccer National Championships
Day 3 of 3 complete
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ORLANDO, Fla. (Jan. 2, 2017) — The US Youth Soccer National League Girls teams competing this week wrapped up their 2016-17 seasons on Monday at the ESPN Wide World of Sports and ChampionsGate Sports Complex in Orlando, Fla., as they played alongside the Disney Soccer Showcase. The 64 remaining girls teams will finish their seasons and solidify the league standings March 17-19 in Las Vegas, Nev.
National League teams earn their place in the league based on a proven track record of success in US Youth Soccer regional and national competitions and are among the nation's best. Competing for a league title and a spot in the US Youth Soccer National Championships, each and every game will play into who represents the National League this summer in Frisco, Texas.
Just four division titles and six total berths to Nationals were secured during the girls’ week in Orlando — leaving a lot to play for when the remaining teams meet in Las Vegas to determine the final 14 sides who will earn a place in the National Championships.
In the 16U Blue Division, Michigan Jaguars 01 Green (MI) became the first team from its club to win a National League division title. Head coach Andy Richards said that is not an accomplishment that the team and club takes lightly.
“The National League is such a high standard of play. You have to work very hard to get here,” Richards said. “We’ve been together for a while leading up to this level. We did well in North Carolina, won two games and tied two, so we had quite a task in front of us coming into this weekend — we really had to win all three to get to Texas in July.
“We’re very proud, very excited. It hasn’t quite sunk in for all of us just yet.”
One side that is used to success in the National League is defending National Champion 17U Midwest United FC 00 Royal (MI), which completed a rare 7-0-0 season a year ago. The Michigan side started 4-0-0 this year, but a Day 1 loss in Orlando meant it took a win on Monday for Midwest to secure its second straight division title.
“Repeating as division winners is huge. We told them last year that what they did was incredible — to go 7-0,” Midwest head coach Lewis Robinson said. “To come back and do it again this year, with the target on their back being a little bit bigger, is a huge achievement for them. I’m really proud of the group.”
2017 US Youth Soccer National Championship Qualifiers via the National League
Blue: Nationals Union 02 Black (MI)
Blue Champion: Michigan Jaguars 01 Green (MI)*
Red Champion: CUP Gold 01 (OH-S)*
Blue Champion: Midwest United FC 00 Royal (MI)*
White Champion: FC Pennsylvania Strikers (PA-E)*
Red: 98 CR Academy (NC)*
The National League is an extension of the highly successful US Youth Soccer Regional Leagues (US Youth Soccer Eastern Regional League, Midwest Regional League, Southern Regional 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 and opportunities for exposure at the national team, collegiate and professional levels.
National League Girls action continues March 17-19, at the Players College Showcase in Las Vegas, Nev. 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 Monday’s matches…
Nationals Union 02 Black (MI) picked up its third win in as many games in Orlando to extend its lead at the top of the 15U Blue Division. Legends FC 02 Academy 1 (CA-S) will need to win all three of its games in Las Vegas to catch the Michigan side for the division title.
After finishing play in Orlando, North United Rush (PA-W) has as a one-point lead in the 15U Red Division. However, all four teams playing in Las Vegas are within four points or less of the Pennsylvania side — meaning the division winner will be decided when those sides meet in March.
Michigan Jaguars 01 Green (MI) wrapped up an undefeated season and 16U Blue Division title with a 1-0 win against LFSA Select (IL). The Jaguars took a 34th-minute lead with a nice bit of team play. Gabrielle McCaslin worked a give-and-go with Jessica Bandyk and put a shot on goal that forced a nice save from the LFSA keeper. McCaslin stayed with the play and finished the rebound to put Michigan up, 1-0. The Jaguars earned a couple of dangerous free kicks in the second half, but LFSA did well to defend each effort. The first-half strike proved to be enough, however, as the Jaguars earned the shutout victory — giving the club its first National League division title.
CUP Gold 01 (OH-S) claimed a 2-0 win over Midwest United FC 01 Royal (MI) to take the 16U Red Division title and earn its way back to the National Championships for a second time. CUP took an early lead in the fifth minute, as Jenna Kralik’s shot at the top of the 18-yard box skimmed the underside of the crossbar and landed in the goal. The only other goal of the match was scored after a corner kick was sent into the box for Elise Le to poke the ball in. In the second half, Midwest United nearly cut into CUP’s lead when a free kick near the corner flag sent the ball into the mix and Midwest United took three shots, but each one was blocked by the CUP defense. CUP walked away with the victory along with the division title.
FC United Select 1 2000 (IL) moved into first place in the 17U Red Division with a 3-0 win over North Shore United Blue (WI). Makayla Stadler headed home a 14th-minute corner to put FC United in front. The Illinois side earned an opportunity to extend its lead in the 32nd minute when a player was taken down in the box. Hannah Lapeire stepped up to the penalty spot and slid her shot past a frozen keeper to double the lead. Stadler added a late goal to cap the 3-0 win, which pushed FC United’s point total to 13. The Illinois side will need a lot of help in Las Vegas to remain at the top of the group.
The 2016 US Youth Soccer National Champion, Midwest United FC 00 Royal (MI), earned a spot in the 2017 National Championships after defeating FC Kansas City Academy Blues Elite 2000 (MO), earning the 17U Blue Division title. Midwest United took control of the game from the beginning, which ultimately helped it to improve to a 6-1-0 record. Jennifer Blitchok achieved a hat trick for the day, including the first goal of the match in the fourth minute. While the first half score showed 1-0, Khloe Hayes increased the advantage early in the second half when she cut the ball across a defender and placed a left-footed shot into the goal. Stephanie Currie scored her first of two goals for the day as she fought off pressure to break herself free and slot into the corner of the goal. The last three Midwest goals came within five minutes of each other, and Midwest United ended the game with the significant advantage.
Campton United 1 (IL) moved into first place of the 17U White Division, as it earned a 2-1 victory over previously first-place Nationals Union Black (MI). Campton took the lead when Chantel Carranza received the ball in the 18-yard box, trapped it and placed it in the left side of the net. In the 34th minute, Campton made it a 2-0 game with a penalty kick by Carranza. Nationals Union remained calm, building plays of its own, and the team was rewarded as a corner kick resulted in a scramble that eventually led to a Betsy Lueck goal. A third goal for Campton nearly occurred in the second half when Hannah Rittenhouse ran the ball down the sideline and hit her shot at the left post. Jordan Karom followed up the shot, but the ball landed over the goal. The score remained 2-1 through the second half for the Campton win.
A strong finish helped FC Pennsylvania Strikers (PA-E) come away with a 2-0 win over Kings Hammer Academy Red (OH-S) and claim the 18U White Division title in a winner-take-all matchup. Needing a win to take the crown, the Strikers had a slight share of the chances in the first half but couldn’t break through. A flurry of FC Pennsylvania shots in the 65th minute nearly resulted in the key goal, but Camryn Lexow’s effort flew off the right post. However, Lexow made sure to finish her 75th-minute chance, as she struck a low drive from 22 yards out that flew just inside the left post — giving the Strikers a 1-0 lead. The game stretched a bit as Kings Hammer looked for the equalizer that would give it the title via goal differential, but it turned out to be the Strikers who found the back of the net in the final minutes. Emily McNesby got free down the right flank and cut inside a defender before sending a left-footed effort off the inside of the far post and into the net. That strike sealed the 2-0 win for the Strikers, as the Pennsylvania side punched its ticket to the National Championships.
Although Midwest United 99 Royal (MI) came out victorious over UFA 99 Premier (GA), UFA still stands on top of the 18U Red Division by two points. As Sophia Terzes sent a diagonal ball over the defensive line, Morgan Otteson ran onto it and cut the ball to her right foot for a finish in the bottom left corner and to put Midwest United up, 1-0. UFA responded immediately after the goal with a driven shot by Natalie Allen, but the Midwest United goalkeeper read the ball well for a save. In the second half, Sophia Terzes added onto the lead as she put the ball in the net, and UFA got on the board with a goal from M.E. Craven in the 68th minute. Midwest United held onto the lead for the 2-1 win.
A late goal helped 98 CR Academy (NC) earn a 3-2 win against NTH Tophat 98 Gold (GA) to claim the 19/20U Red Division title. It appeared CR Academy was well on its way to the win after Molly McGarry scored twice in the opening 54 minutes to put the North Carolina side in front, 2-0. However, Reagan Smith and Kathryn Schreck each found the back of the net in the 60th and 71st minutes for NTH to level the score. CR Academy regrouped and created the game-winner, as Naomi Powell netted the game-winner in the 82nd minute to give her side the victory and division title.
Keep up with the National League all season:
National League Home: USYouthSoccer.org/National_League
Schedule and results: Tournaments.usyouthsoccer.org/events/2016-17-National-League/