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40 teams to earn direct path to 2016 US Youth Soccer National Championships
33 of 55 US Youth Soccer State Associations represented
FRISCO, Texas (Aug. 3, 2016) — US Youth Soccer is proud to announce the 256 teams that have earned their place for the 2016-17 US Youth Soccer National League season. The league, entering its 10th season, is home to the nation’s top Under-15 through Under-19 Boys and Girls soccer teams, with each team having an individual proven track record of continued success in US Youth Soccer programs.
The National League’s alumni have gone on to prove themselves at the collegiate and professional levels, with former players competing in NCAA Division I, II and III, Major League Soccer, National Women’s Soccer League, English Premier League, the UEFA Champions League and the FIFA Women’s World Cup. The top pick in the 2016 MLS SuperDraft (Jack Harrison) and the 2016 NWSL Draft (Emily Sonnett) are both former National League players.
2016-17 US Youth Soccer National League teams [Link]
National League competition will be held for the Under-15 (2002), Under-16 (2001), Under-17 (2000), Under-18 (1999) and Under-19 (1998-plus) Boys and Girls age groups. An expanded field for the 2016-17 season will see 16 teams earn their place in the National League in the Under-15 and Under-19 age groups, while 32 teams will qualify to compete in the Under-16 through Under-18 age groups.
The top two finishers from each Under-15 and Under-19 division, as well as the division winners in the Under-16 through Under-18 age groups, will earn an automatic berth to the 2017 US Youth Soccer National Championships, the oldest and most prestigious youth soccer national championship competition — to be held July 25-30, 2017 in Frisco, Texas. The four National League representatives will join the four Regional Champions for a total of eight qualifiers per age group at the National Championships in the Under-15 through Under-19 divisions.
The 2016-17 National League field includes 64 of the 72 Under-13 through Under-17 teams that qualified for the 2016 National Championships, 16 of the 20 finalists and nine of 10 champions.
As is the case with the US Youth Soccer National Championship Series events and the US Youth Soccer Olympic Development Program, the National League creates another significant opportunity for the nation's collegiate, professional and national team staffs to see players in an environment of meaningful play.
Last season, several National League players were invited into youth National Team camps, and many of the U-17 and U-18 players have committed to play collegiate soccer at some of the top programs in the country.
"The US Youth Soccer National League is expanding this season to continue to provide the top competition in the country for boys and girls, as each team must prove itself to gain entry into the league," said Paul Luchowski, National League commissioner. "National League teams have claimed 27 of 38 possible National Championships in the past four years, which speaks to the quality of the teams in the league and the value of the competition. Hundreds of collegiate, professional and national team scouts attend each National League date for just that reason."
The National League is an extension of the highly successful US Youth Soccer Regional Leagues (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. 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.
The 2016-17 National League will consist of teams from 33 of the 55 US Youth Soccer State Associations. From Region I (East): Delaware, Eastern New York, Eastern Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Jersey, New York West, Pennsylvania West and Virginia; from Region II (Midwest): Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio North, Ohio South and Wisconsin; from Region III (South): Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, North Texas and South Texas; from Region IV (West): Arizona, California North, California South, Nevada, Oregon, Utah and Washington.
Cal South has 29 teams in the league, while nine other State Associations have at least 10 teams competing in the National League in the upcoming season. Region II and Region III have the most teams in the league with 67 apiece, followed by Region I and Region IV with 61 each.
The seven-game season will begin with the National League Fall Showcase, as all 256 teams compete in Wilson, N.C. The girls will play their first Fall Showcase Dec. 1-4, and the boys will play Dec. 8-11. Half of the teams will participate in one of two other events, the first being in Orlando, Fla., alongside the Disney Soccer Showcase, Dec. 27-29 for the boys and Dec. 31-Jan. 2 for the girls. The final play date will be held in Las Vegas, alongside the Player’s College Showcase, March 10-12 for the boys and March 17-19 for the girls. The complete 2016-17 National League schedule will be announced in the fall.
Since its inception, National League teams have captured a combined 47 of 68 possible National Championships. In 2008, seven of the eight championship finals slots in the Under-15 and 16 age groups were won by National League teams, which resulted in the League's first four national championships. Since that inaugural year for the league, National League teams have continued to excel each year at the National Championships. Most recently in Frisco, National League teams took 32 of 40 possible semifinalist spots, represented 17 of 20 finalists and won eight of 10 possible National Championships.
For a list of past National League champions and history, click here.