Black Blue Red WhitE
Several teams who had strong league performances at the regional and national level in the 2017-18 season are set to compete for the 18U Girls Black Division title. Among them is last year’s Black Division champion, Premier Navy 2001 (MD), which will look to replicate its 19-point performance that helped it finish in first place as a 17U side. Premier Navy advanced to the semifinals at the US Youth Soccer National Championships but dropped a 1-0 decision to the eventual champion — leaving the Maryland side with some unfinished business entering this season.
PacNW 01 Maroon (WA) is coming off an 8-0-0 first-place campaign in its Far West Regional League division, as well as a strong showing in last year’s National League. The Washington side closed last year’s National League season with three wins and finished just one point out of first place.
After winning its Southern Regional Premier League division, 01 Lady Lobos Rush Premier (TN) advanced all the way to the final of the US Youth Soccer Southern Regional Championships. Lobos came up a goal short in that match, but it will now have a chance to earn a berth to Nationals if it can win the Black Division.
Both CDA Premier 01 (OH-S) and Lonestar FDL (TX-S) won their respective Regional League divisions, and that experience should prove valuable as they each attempt to string together some wins in the Black Division this season.
Looking to follow up a season full of success, KC Athletics Academy Elite 01 (MO) will have its initial sights set winning the 18U Girls Blue Division. KC won the Blue Division last year, in addition to claiming the US Youth Soccer Midwest Regional Championship. It capped its season by advancing to the championship final at Nationals, but dropped a 1-0 final on a last-minute goal. After coming so close to the National title, the Missouri side should be anxious to start its climb back to that point.
Meanwhile, 01 CSA North/Hville Elite (NC) compiled a 10-0-1 record in its Southern Regional Premier League division — showing it can maintain a high level of play throughout a league season. The North Carolina side also advanced to the Southern Regional Championship semifinals, where it had the eventual regional champs on the ropes before conceding a couple of late goals.
At the US Youth Soccer Eastern Regional Championships, 1776 United FC 01 Xtreme (PA-E) won its group by outscoring opponents, 9-1. The Eastern PA side dropped a close 1-0 semifinal to a National League winner and eventual regional champion. However, that performance showed it can compete with some of the top teams in the country and will be a team to watch in this year’s Blue Division.
Entering the season with the title of defending National Champion attached to its name, Rebels 2001 Elite Marquez (CA-S) will be the team to beat in the 18U Girls Red Division. The National title capped a strong season for Rebels that included the US Youth Soccer Far West Regional Championship, as well as a second place showing in its National League division. The Cal South side will now look to repeat that success while getting the best shot from each Red Division foe.
One of the teams Rebels defeated at Nationals, Mandeville SC Lakers Elite (LA), will be among those looking to overtake the Cal South side in the Red Division race. The Lakers won the Southern Regional Championship while conceded just one goal in six games. A similar defensive effort in the National League will keep MSC in any game.
JB Marine Schneider (MO) also had a strong showing in tournament play, as it advanced to the semifinals at the Midwest Regional Championships. Meanwhile, FC Boulder Elite (CO) won its Far West Regional League division and will look to build on that performance when it begins Red Division play in North Carolina.
The 18U White Division features several teams with experience at the national level, including National Championship semifinalist TFA Elite 01 (OH-S). The Ohio South side advanced to Nationals by winning last season’s White Division, as it scored 16 goals while allowing just two. With knowledge of the level of competition at both Nationals and in the National League, TFA will be aware of what is needed to defend its White Division title.
TFA needed two last-minute goals to defeat Pacesetter Villa Red (OH-N) on the last day of group play at Nationals. The Ohio North side will have a chance to reverse that result when the two sides meet on the last day of this year’s National League season. After earning a second-place finish at the Midwest Regional Championships and trip to Nationals, Pacesetter has the experience to make a push for the White Division title and add intrigue to that final match.
FC Florida 2001 Elite Blue Predators (FL) is another team to watch, as it enters the season after a semifinal appearance at the 2018 Southern Regional Championships. FC Florida also had a solid showing in last year’s National League, going 5-2-0, so it knows what it takes to compete for a league title. The same can be said for PDA Shore Fusion (NJ), which won its Eastern Regional League division last season. The New Jersey side will aim to continue that success in a league format as it begins the White Division schedule in North Carolina.
- Caroline Stringfellow (La Roca PO) – Golden Ball, Best XI and tied for leading scorer (four goals) at the National Championships (as 16U)
- Lily Farkas (KC Athletics Academy Elite 01) – Golden Ball, Best XI and leading scorer (eight goals) at the National Championships; Leading scorer at the Midwest Regional Championships with eight goals
- Gabriella Pool (Pacesetter Villa Red) – Best XI at the National Championships
- Emily Sexton (TFA Elite 01) – Best XI at the National Championships
- Madelyn Pittman (TFA Elite 01) – Best XI at the National Championships
- Jenna Snead (Premier Navy 2001) – Best XI at the National Championships
- Kloee Grubb (KC Athletics Academy Elite 01) – Best XI at the National Championships
- Phoebe Canoles (Premier Navy 2001) – Best XI at the National Championships
- Mickayla Kowalski (TFA Elite 01) – Golden Glove, Best XI at the National Championships
- Erin Healy (Rebels 2001 Elite) – Best XI at the National Championships
- Julia Patrum (CSA North/H’Ville) – Leading scorer at the Southern Regional Championships with nine goals