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PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (Dec. 12, 2019) — The 2019-20 US Youth Soccer National League Boys season continued Thursday with the second day of 17U-19U games and opening matches for the 15U and 16U Boys teams. Games are taking place at the Panama City Beach Sports Complex and Frank Brown Park in Panama City Beach, Fla.
Whether playing their first or second game of the season on Thursday, all teams knew the importance of these early matches in helping determine the eventual National League division champions and the accompanying automatic berths to the 2020 US Youth Soccer National Championships.
After dropping a close opening match of the season, 18U Club Ohio 2002 Green 1 (OH-S) bounced back to secure a victory on Thursday. By playing in the National League for the last few years, the Club Ohio players have come to realize the value of each point in the division title races.
“We know every game matters. We can’t take a day off,” Club Ohio forward Matthew McLaughlin said. “Yesterday we had a little slip-up, and we knew that made this game even more important.”
With each game holding meaning in influencing the league standings, every National League match provides college coaches in attendance with a prime opportunity to see players perform in a competitive environment. That fact leads to each National League event featuring players committed to play college soccer, as well as many more preparing to determine where they’ll play at the next level.
“I’m committed to play at the University of Notre Dame,” McLaughlin said. “The main place where they’ve seen me play is at the National League the last couple of years.
“This is my third year playing in the league. Every year we’re here, we see the sidelines lined up with coaches in the double digits. I have a lot of buddies who have gotten college exposure just from playing here.”
In addition to recruiting opportunities, National League teams compete for the National League title and one of four slots from each gender age group to the annual US Youth Soccer National Championships. Teams in the 14U-18U age groups are also competing for a chance to re-qualify for the National League’s 2020-21 season.
Following this National League Boys Fall Showcase event in Florida, the 14U Boys teams will play their first games Dec. 27-30 in Tampa, Fla. All National League Girls teams previously played their first four games of the season in November or early December.
National League action will continue Friday, Dec. 13, with the 15U-19U Boys teams in action. 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 notes from Thursday’s matches…
- Twelve teams displayed stout defenses on Thursday, as they held their opponents scoreless.
- Raiders FC - 2005 (IL) was the only one of the four returning National League division champs in the age group to start its season with a win. The other three sides played to ties in their openers.
- Defending National Champion Libertyville FC 1974 Elite (IL) started its season with a 1-1 draw against Future SA 05 (NJ).
- Trevor Walk of USA Premier 05 Angeletti (UT) netted a hat trick to help his team to a 3-0 win to open the season.
- Thirteen of the 16 games in the 16U Boys age group were decided by two goals or less, including every game in the Red Division and White Division.
- Defending National Champion Real Jersey FC (NJ) earned a 1-0 win against Team Challenger FC 04 Black (OH-N).
- Thursday showed the difficulty in repeating as a National League division winner, as three returning division winners dropped their opening match. Real Jersey FC (NJ) was the lone returning National League winner to begin its season with a win.
- Kyle Allen, Matthew Brucker and Ethan Jonassen were the only players in the 16U age group to score multiple goals on Thursday, as they each netted two.
- Eleven of the 16 games in the 17U Boys age group were decided by two goals or less on Thursday.
- SLSG 2003 Elite (MO) is the only team in the age group to have not conceded a goal through two games. The Missouri side is tied at the top of the Black Division with Midwest United FC 03 Royal (MI) at six points each.
- No team in the 17U White Division has more than four points, and four teams have tied each of their first two matches. PPA KSA 03 Pro-Profile (GA) and Nationals Union 03 Black (MI) each have four points to lead the division.
- Michigan Jaguars 02 Green (MI) and Westside Timbers 02B Copa Red NLNC (OR) are the only teams in the age group to have not conceded a goal after two days. Along with Arlington SA 2002 Red (VA), they top currently top the Red Division with six points.
- The Blue Division and the White Division each feature six of eight teams who have picked up at least one win through two days of play.
- Defenses in the 18U White Division have proven difficult to break down, as no team has scored more than five goals through two days of play.
- Jake Stump of PSA National 02 (NJ) netted a hat trick on Thursday. He is one of seven players in the age group with three goals after two games.
- LGN United (NY-E) is the lone team in the 19U Red Division to start its season with two wins, as it sits alone atop the standings with six points.
- OC Surf Armour 2001 (CA-S) and FC Dallas 01 Premier (TX-N) have each won their first two games and are tied atop the 19U Blue Division with six points apiece.
- All four 19U Boys teams who won their National League division a season ago have dropped points after two days of play this season.
- Carson Kendall of OC Surf Armour 2001 (CA-S) and Jose Ortiz of FC Dallas 01 Premier (TX-N) each scored twice on Thursday and are co-leaders in the age group with three goals each through two games.
Keep up with the National League all season:
National League Home: USYouthSoccer.org/National_League
Schedule and results: https://www.usyouthsoccer.org/tournaments/2019-20-national-league/