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LAKEWOOD RANCH, Fla. (Jan. 21, 2019) — The US Youth Soccer National League Girls teams competing this week wrapped up their second event of the season on Monday at the Premier Sports Campus in Lakewood Ranch, Fla. The girls teams that did not play in Lakewood Ranch will resume their seasons March 15-17 in Las Vegas.
Monday’s games in Lakewood Ranch also saw the 22 National League Conference teams wrap up their Winter Showcase, as they competed alongside the National League at the Premier Sports Campus.
The third day of National League play in Florida saw three teams claim division titles, while a four total sides punched tickets to the 2019 US Youth Soccer National Championships. Among the teams to clinch division titles on Sunday was defending National Champion 17U SJEB Rush 02 Academy Blue (NJ), which won its second straight Red Division title.
“Winning the National League title two years in a row feels amazing, and it is all because of these girls,” SJEB defender Emma Bitar said. “We competed in the year before we won last year, and we struggled a bit. But we made it a goal of ours to come back out last year and win it, and it was the same goal this year. This was how wanted to get back to the National Championships, and hopefully win it again this year.”
2019 US Youth Soccer National Championship Qualifiers via the National League
White Champion: Lou Fusz 03 Blue (MO)
Black Champion: Cleveland FC 02 (OH-N)*
Red Champion: SJEB Rush 02 Academy Blue (NJ)*
Black Champion: Premier Navy 2001 (MD)
Red Champion: MI Jaguars 2001 Green (MI)*
Blue: MapleBrook Fury (MN)
Red: Campton United Red (IL)*
All of the teams who have secured berths to the National Championships can now look ahead to preparations for the competition this summer in Overland Park, Kan. Dan Dalzochio, coach of 18U Red Division winner MI Jaguars 2001 Green (MI), said the National League provides great preparation for the National Championships and other future levels of competition for his players.
“Being a part of the National League competition takes us to the highest level of competition,” Dalzochio said. “We had our second player drafted for the MLS this year, and those players have all played in National League since its inception. It has been an incredible league for us being able to prepare for elite competition and preparing our players to go on and play at the next level.”
Despite not yet securing a spot at Nationals, 17U North Shore United 2002 Blue (WI) came away with the best goal differential of any teams competing in Florida. The Wisconsin side scored 30 goals — just the third girls team in league history to hit that mark — while conceding only two goals this season. Meanwhile, 19U MapleBrook Fury (MN) also allowed just two goals, while 18U Premier Navy 2001 (MD) conceded just once during its Black Division-winning campaign.
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 plays into who represents the National League this summer in Overland Park, Kan. The National League division champions in the 14U through 18U age groups advance to Nationals, while the top two teams in each of the 19U divisions move on to Overland Park.
National League play will continue in March alongside the Players College Showcase in Las Vegas. Boys will play March 8-10, while the girls will follow with games March 15-17. 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…
In a matchup of the top two teams in the 15U Blue Division teams, GA Rush 2004 (GA) extended its lead atop the standings with a 1-0 win over Sporting St. Louis Red Devils 2004 (MO). Georgia nearly opened the scoring in the 30th minute, but a curling free kick from the left wing rang off the crossbar. That only delayed the breakthrough, as Jordynn Dudley netted a 51st-minute goal to give Georgia a 1-0 lead. Sporting, needing a win to move ahead of Georgia in the standings, looked to fight its way back into the game and came close to equalizing on a couple of occasions. In the 65th minute, Nina Preusser played in a dangerous corner kick that Meghan Belrose managed to put on frame from close distance. However, Georgia keeper Olivia Barfield smothered the attempt to help preserve the 1-0 win.
Keystone FC Premier 03 (PA-E) drew Arlington 2003 Red (VA) 2-2 in a battle of East Region teams. Keystone’s Jessica Knaub was unable to convert on a pair of scoring chances early in the match, and it was Arlington that struck first when a miscommunication in the Keystone back line led to Brenna Meehan tapping in the first goal of the match. Shortly after the break, Halle Engle sent a cross in that wasn’t fully cleared by the Arlington defense, and it was ultimately Delainey Varela-Keen who took advantage with a goal from the top of the box. Just two minutes later, Varela-Keen found Elena Hinkson, whose shot hit the far post before trickling along the goal line and eventually crossing the line to put the Eastern Pennsylvania team up 2-1. Keystone looked to be on its way to a second win in three days until Nora Green-Orset scored off a penalty kick to knot the match at 2-2. Keystone currently leads the Red Division with a 3-2-2 record.
In the 17U Red Division, SJEB Rush 02 Academy Blue (NJ) defeated Michigan Jaguars 02 Green (MI), 3-1, to claim its second straight National League division title. Isabella Rossetti and Mackenzie Clement each scored in the early going to give SJEB a 2-0 lead after 20 minutes of action. The New Jersey side applied plenty of pressure throughout the opening half, and it added a third goal just before the break when Giovanna Castorina found the back of the net. Avery Fenchel pulled a goal back for the Jaguars in the 73rd minute, as she drove a perfectly placed shot from 25 yards out into the right upper-90. That’s as close as it got, as SJEB held on for the 3-1 win to earn a trip back to Nationals, where it will look to defend the National title it won in 2018.
CDA Premier 02 (OH-S) played the role of spoiler with a 2-1 win against first-place PSA National 02 (NJ). PSA National entered the game needing a win to clinch the 17U Blue Division, but the New Jersey side found itself down 1-0 in the 39th minute when Laurel Desrosiers received a pass on the left side of the box and buried a shot past the PSA keeper. Just four minutes later, a CDA cross bounced around in the middle of the box before Sydney Bacher was able to capitalize on the opportunity and find the back of the net. PSA National created a myriad of scoring chances toward the end of the second half, and in the 85th minute Megan Hsu finally broke through with a goal for PSA, but the Ohio South side was able to hold off the group leaders to secure the victory. PSA remains in first place, but it will need some help in Vegas to earn the division title and a berth to the National Championships.
After a 5-2 win against Team Chicago Academy 2002 Elite (IL), Cleveland FC 02 (OH-N) clinched a spot in the National Championships with a first place finish in the 17U Black Division. Haley Anspach found the back of the net four minutes into the match after getting on the end of a through-ball and sending her shot into the back of the net. Abigail Dellamorte netted an equalizer for Team Chicago in the 19th minute, but Shelby Sallee and Anspach scored before the end of the half to give Cleveland a 3-1 lead. Sallee netted her second goal of the game to extend the Cleveland lead before Kaitlynn Delveaux’s cross deflected off a Cleveland FC defender and into the goal to bring Team Chicago back within two. However, Anspach would complete the hat trick with her eighth goal of the season, which is tied for second in the age group behind Sallee.
With its third shutout of the season, MI Jaguars 2001 Green (MI) earned a 2-0 victory over JB Marine Schneider (MO) to clinch the 18U Red Division title. The Jaguars took control early, as Jessica Bandyk hit a 14th-minute shot from just outside the penalty area that found the back of the net. Michigan doubled its lead in the 39th minute with a Julia Stadtherr goal, as it went into the break with all the momentum. JB Marine held strong in the second half, as it looked to get back in the game. However, the Jaguars prevented any hint of a comeback, as they held on for the 2-0 victory — giving them the division title and a place in the National Championships.
Hometown side FC Florida 2001 Elite Blue Predators (FL) moved to the top of the 18U White Division with a 3-0 win against North Shore United 01 Blue (WI). The result created a three-way tie at the top of the division between FC Florida, North Shore and FC Frederick 01 (MD), which won 4-2 against PDA Shore Fusion (NJ). Nicole Vernis began the scoring in the 29th minute, and Tianna Hogan doubled the Florida side’s lead right after halftime. Just three minutes later, Vernis added a second goal to her tally to give her seven on the season. FC Florida took advantage of playing in its home state, winning each of the weekend’s games by three goals, including shutouts in the final two matches.
Defending National Championships finalist Campton United Red (IL) will make a return trip to Nationals after securing a top-two finish in the 19U Red Division with a 2-1 win over CDA Premier 00 (OH-S). Just four minutes into the battle of first and second place teams, Campton’s Saydie Holland found herself all alone before volleying home a cross into the back of the net. In the 23rd minute, it was Holland again scoring her age-group leading eighth goal when she flicked a free-kick from the middle of the field over the keeper and into the goal to double the Illinois side’s lead. CDA would refuse to go away, and their persistence paid off in the 38th minute when Morgan White raced across the right side of the field before burying a shot past the Campton keeper. CDA’s best opportunity to equalize came late in the second half when Nicoletta Anuci got past the Campton back line and sent her shot past the keeper, but it went past the wrong side of the post. CDA remains in second place with a 4-3 record and will need some help to qualify for the National Championships.
In the 19U Blue Division, MapleBrook Fury (MN) won all three games in Florida to clinch a top-two finish and a spot in the National Championships.
Keep up with the National League all season:
National League Home: USYouthSoccer.org/National_League
Schedule and results: USYouthSoccer.org/tournaments/2018-19-National-League/