2017-18 US Youth Soccer National League Girls season kicks off in North Carolina
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WILSON, N.C. (Nov. 30, 2017) — The top teams in the country showcased their talent Thursday as several energetic matchups got the 11th season of US Youth Soccer National League Girls play underway in Wilson, N.C., and Rocky Mount, N.C. All of the teams in each of the 14U, 15U, 16U, 17U and 18U Girls age groups began the 2017-18 National League season at the Wilson Gillette Soccer Complex and Rocky Mount Sports Complex.
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.
More than 200 college coaches lined the sidelines on Thursday and many more are expected to attend this National League weekend to scout some of the top teams and players in the country. The competitive level of each game adds to player evaluation, as every team has to earn their place in the league, regardless of location or club affiliation.
“It’s great to start off the National League with a win,” 16U FC United coach Craig Snower said after his team’s 1-0 victory. “It’s always competitive. The moniker, ‘earn your place,’ is always well deserved and that’s what makes the league great. Any team in the country can get in here as long as they get the wins and earn their place in.
“It’s something we focus on with our top teams — National League is the place you want to play. That’s the goal every year, to qualify for National League. You want to get those quality games for your team but also for the players to get in front of the college coaches who are here each year.”
The strength of the competition was on display on Thursday, as multiple defending National Champions dropped points. The four returning National title winners combined for two wins, a draw and a loss on the season’s opening day.
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 action will continue Friday, Dec. 1, as the girls teams play their second 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 highlights from Thursday's matches…
Beadling Elite 2004 (PA-W) came back from being down 1-0 early to tie the 2017 National Championship runner-up SDFC Yellow (NJ), 1-1, on the opening day of 14U Blue Division play. SDFC’s Katherine Scott scored in just the first minute of play to give the New Jersey side the lead. SDFC played in a cross from the right side and Scott got her foot up to knock it out of the air for the goal. After a slow start, Beadling started to settle in and battle back. Beadling’s first chance came when Tessa Dellarose dispossessed a defender and pulled her chance just wide. Beadling kept knocking late and almost leveled the score as Isabella DaPra beat her defender and whistled a cross through the box. The chance went through untouched, as it was just out of reach of a sliding attacker. Beadling finally equalized in the second half when Paige Kuisis got a touch off a corner kick. The ball spun awkwardly and rolled across the line before SDFC’s keeper could bat it out of goal. SDFC battled in an attempt to regain the lead, but Beadling’s Emma Van Meter tipped a great opportunity over the bar late in the half. The tie earns both team a point on the opening day of play.
Legends FC 03 (CA-S) battled back from an early deficit to earn a 2-1 win over Lady Lobos Rush Premier (TN). Lobos took the lead in the 16th minute thanks to Haleigh Watson. Lobos worked its way down the field and found Watson with a cross. She received the ball, turned and finished her chance from close range. Legends began to control the game and nearly leveled the score when Jessica Davila spun beyond her defender but missed just wide from the top of the box. Legends got the equalizing goal in the 25th minute when Aniya Brown headed in a Kaylee McClellan corner kick. Legends took the lead just six minutes later when Aspen Souther sidestepped a defender and laced a shot from outside of the box that hit the right post and went in. Lobos had a great chance to tie the game up when Catherine Dukes got in on goal but Emily Rice slid out to smother the ball at her feet. Neither team could find the back of the net in the second half, but Lobos were close to tying it up late. Watson almost scored her second of the game but Legend’s Haley Slouka tipped the chance over the bar. The win sets Legends off on the right foot in the 15U Red Division.
Elsewhere in the 15U Red Division, defending National Champion LVPSA 03 Red (NV) battled back to earn a point against CSA Impact United 03 Black (OH-N). CSA’s Mackenzie Muir put her team up in the 17th minute. LVPSA settled in after going down and had a great chance soon after but it got deflected up and over the goal from close range. The Nevada side kept pressing and, in the second half, had a great chance in the center of the box, but Liviya Fain saved an Alexis Pashales attempt. LVPSA equalized in the 53rd minute when a long ball into the box bounced over the first line of defenders and found Jacqueline Hillegass open on the far side. Hillegass boomed her chance into the upper right corner to level the score at 1-1. LVPSA had a great chance late to take the lead, but Alexis Blue’s floating shot over the keeper hit the inside of the post and bounced out before it was cleared by CSA. The tie earns both teams one point heading into day two of play.
A full team effort helped USA 02 Premier (UT) open its season with a 2-0 win against Solar 02 Naizer (TX-N) in 16U Blue Division play. Sage Stott put USA in front when she beat the keeper in the 23rd minute, and the Utah side held onto that lead going into the break. Solar pushed for an equalizer, but Erin Bridges gave USA some breathing room with a 66th-minute strike. The Utah side made those two goals stand up, as it held on for the clean sheet and started its season with a 2-0 victory.
Sporting OFC 2002 Elite (NE) started its 16U Black Division campaign with a dominant 4-0 victory over YMS Premier 2002 (PA-E). Sporting’s Maranda Kavan finished a corner kick in just the second minute of play for a 1-0 lead. That advantage extended to 2-0 just six minutes later when a YMS defender unluckily deflected a ball into her net for an own goal. YMS had a great chance from deep to pull one back but the shot went just wide. Sporting’s Gwenyth Lane added a goal in the 18th minute to finish the first-half scoring. Sporting continued to pressure through the second half, and Lane added her second goal in the 62nd minute when she got onto the end of a free kick before the YMS keeper could punch it out. The win gives Sporting an important three points to start its National League season.
In 17U Red Division action, BC United 01 (NY-W) and CDA Premier 01 (OH-S) played to a 1-1 draw and split the points to open up their seasons. The New York West side jumped in front in the 23rd minute when Angelina Fahrenkrug found the back of the net. However, CDA equalized just before halftime from the penalty spot. After a hand ball in the box, Brooke Harden stepped up and sent her attempt just inside the left post to tie the game at 1-1. BC United generated sustained pressure in the attacking half throughout the second half, but it couldn’t find a winner as the teams finished level.
Both defenses held strong in the 17U White Division match between NJ Stallion Freedom (NJ) and Lonestar 01 TCL Composite (TX-S), as the teams played to a scoreless draw. Lonestar looked likely to score in the second half, as its attacking players continuously worked their way into the NJ box. Jami Anderson came close to putting Lonestar in front in the 62nd minute, but NJ keeper Nicole Kwoczka, a Maryland commit, was quick to make a save at the near post. The New Jersey side held off the remaining Lonestar attacks to earn the draw and split the points.
A stoppage-time winner helped defending US Youth Soccer Region I Champion HBC Impact 00 (NY-E) to a 2-1 win over SSA Chelsea 00 Elite (GA) to open 18U White Division action. HBC went in front just before half on a Julianna Kissane strike, but SSA fought back and equalized when ShaNya Stephens found the back of the net in the 80th minute. It appeared the teams were heading for a draw, but Lauren Mastandrea netted a 91st-minute goal to give HBC an important opening day victory.
Keep up with the National League all season:
National League Home: USYouthSoccer.org/National_League
Schedule and results: http://tournaments.usyouthsoccer.org/events/2017-18-National-League/