GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (May 19, 2021) — With the Spring 2021 US Youth Soccer Great Lakes Conference winding down, teams from across the conference continue to chase promotion, avoid relegation, clinch National League P.R.O. slots and secure qualification for the 2021 USYS Midwest Regional Championships.
Close to 100 games were played this past weekend, with each game shaping the standings as we near the end of another conference season.
Only eight automatic qualifying slots for the 2021-22 season of National League P.R.O. remain, as 40 teams have already clinched their spots based on their Spring 2021 performances.
With just 50 games left to be played across the 54 divisions in the Spring 2021 Great Lakes Conference season, teams will be aiming to join the list of 40 teams that have already won their division.
Some notes from the weekend’s Team vs. Team action:
- Nationals Union 08 Boys Red (MI) won both of its games on Saturday on its trip to the Ohio-Kentucky border to win the 13U Boys Premier II Division, which included a winner-take-all game versus KHA B08 Red (KY) — a match Nationals won, 1-0.
- While it already clinched first place in the 14U Boys Premier I Division — meaning it has qualified for both National League P.R.O. and the 2021 USYS Midwest Regional Championships — Michigan Tigers FC 2007 Boys Gold (MI) capped off a perfect record of 9-0-0 with a win over Liverpool Central 07 B Academy (MI).
- The results from the weekend in 14U Boys Premier II leaves the division title race wide open, with three teams able to claim the top spot. While Beadling 2007 Boys Showcase (PA-W) is in first place now, both Nationals Union 07 Boys Black (MI) and Michigan Rush Northville 07B (MI) have games in hand and have the chance to leapfrog Beadling into first place.
- Despite dropping points for the first time this season in a 1-1 tie, BG Elite FC 06 (KY) clinched a first-place finish in the 15U Boys Premier II Division with a game left to play.
- Liverpool FC Central 05 B Academy 1 (MI) played well under pressure, winning both of its games by 1-0 score lines to finish atop the standings in the 16U Boys Premier II Division by a single point.
- A close race in the 17U Boys Premier I Division came to an end with two teams tied on 18 points. Hotspurs 2004B Blue (PA-W) won, 3-1, on Saturday to finish atop the table courtesy of its 3-0 win over runners-up SCS United 2004 Boys Black (PA-W) earlier in the season.
- SCOR Meulensteen 04 Black (MI) won both of its games over the weekend, results which saw it finish in first place in the 17U Boys Premier II Division.
- In a winner-take-all game against Century Boys 2004 Gold (PA-W), Sporting Michigan 2004 Boys (MI) came out with a 3-1 win, which means the Michigan side finishes in first place in 17U Boys First Division Blue.
- First place was secured in 15U Girls First Division Blue with a narrow 1-0 victory for Alliance FC IN 06 Girls (IN) over Carmel FC 06 Gold Girls (IN).
- Hotspurs 2005G Blue (PA-W) secured first place in the 16U Girls Premier I Division with a 4-0 victory in the last game of the season. Hotspurs finished tied on 18 points with Tonka Fusion Elite 05 Girls (MN), but their 3-0 win over Tonka Fusion saw Hotspurs win the tiebreaker, meaning they've qualified for National League P.R.O.
Some notes from the weekend’s Girls Club vs. Club action:
- Kings Hammer Academy (KY) played Empire United (NY-W) on Saturday, with the Kentucky side winning the 15U and 17U matchups.
- GTFC Impact (OH-N) won the 16U and 17U matchups against FC Evolution (OH-N), with the teams drawing in the 15U and 18U matchups — the latter of which denied FC Evolution the chance to win the division, as a win would’ve put it atop the standings.
- Kings Hammer Academy (KY) played again on Sunday, winning two games and drawing the other against Century United (PA-W). The wins in the 15U and 17U divisions means the KHA teams can win their respective divisions with a single point in their last game this weekend.
Some notes from the weekend’s Boys Club vs. Club action:
- Michigan Jaguars (MI) won the series against Beadling SC (PA-W), winning in the 15U, 16U and 17U matchups and drawing the 19U game. The draw in the 19U matchup lifted the team to first place, meaning a win in its final game will secure first place and a spot at the 2021 USYS Midwest Regional Championships.
- Team Challenger FC (OH-N) won two of its three games against Nationals (MI), with the Michigan side claiming victory in the 15U matchup. While TCFC had already secured first place in the 17U division, its win on Saturday means it finishes the Spring 2021 season with a perfect 7-0-0 record.
- Michigan Jaguars (MI) took on Team Challenger FC (OH-N) on Sunday, with the clubs splitting the series. They tied their 15U matchup, while TCFC won the 17U matchup. The Jaguars win in the 16U matchup kept them within reach of first place in the standings, needing only a tie in their final game to leapfrog Beadling SC (PA-W).
- Nationals (MI) won two of the four games played Sunday against Beadling SC (PA-W), with Nationals winning the 15U and 17U matchup and drawing the 18U matchup. The 18U matchup was the most pivotal, as a Beadling win would have meant they finished first in the standings. However, the draw means that Nationals has clinched first place with a game in hand.
What they’re saying:
With so many teams clinching berths for the USYS Midwest Regional Championships and 2021-22 National League P.R.O., excitement is building across the league in anticipation of more competition.
“Our team is extremely excited to not only have won Premier I and qualified for Regionals, but also to have qualified for National League P.R.O. next season,” said Andy Pritchard, coach of the 14U Boys team and Club Director at Michigan Tigers FC (MI). “These events allow us to continue to test ourselves against the best teams in the region and country and play against different styles, as well as exposing our players to college coaches.”
“This team wants to win every time they step on the field, and that doesn't change, regardless of what we have already won. We focus on the next game and go again,” Pritchard said. “We are excited for Regionals and our goal is to extend our season into July [for the USYS National Championships] in Florida.”
With two teams winning their respective Premier I Divisions on the head-to-head tiebreaker, Pittsburgh Hotspurs (PA-W) are eager to make the leap into National League P.R.O.
“Both teams are really excited to get he recognition and raise the club’s profile,” said Tom Ovenden, Director of Youth Development at Pittsburgh Hotspurs. “These groups are the first of many coming through the pipeline at the club and all the players can see the success and the buzz it’s creating.”
The Great Lakes Conference is one of 13 Conferences under the USYS National League in the multi-state tier, and it consists of teams primarily from New York West, Pennsylvania West, West Virginia, Ohio North, Ohio South, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota and Kentucky.
To follow the Great Lakes Conference results and standings this weekend, click here.
Click here for more information on the Great Lakes Conference. For more information on all of the National League Conferences, the National League Showcase Series, and National League P.R.O., click here.