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Greensboro, N.C. (June 27, 2018) — Determination turned into celebration on Wednesday at the BB&T Soccer Complex at Bryan Park in Greensboro, N.C., as one team has already claimed a 2018 US Youth Soccer Southern Regional Championship. By winning the title, the team – 19U Girls AFC Lightning 99 Elite (GA) – has secured a spot in the prestigious US Youth Soccer National Championships, which will take place July 23-29 at the Toyota Soccer Center in Frisco, Texas.
The 13U-18U Boys and Girls finals, as well as the 19U Boys final, will take place tomorrow, Thursday, June 27, starting at 8:30 AM.
As a familiar coach in the US Youth Soccer National Championship Series, Steve Muccillo of the 19U Girls AFC Lightning 99 Elite understands that making it to the finals is just a foreshadowing of what is to come at Nationals.
"This game could have gone either way as the whole game was very even," said head coach Steve Muccillo. "The goal kind of came out of nowhere off of a scramble and then we just kind of hung in there. The type of competition we will face at Nationals is exactly what we got from the Lobos and we were very fortunate to win."
Winning Regionals is a hard task but, by moving on to Nationals, you now face the best of all four Regional Championship events for a chance at becoming the US Youth Soccer National Champion.
"These girls can expect every game at Nationals to be games just like they just played and maybe against even stronger opponents," continued Muccillo. There are only four teams at Nationals in the 19U Girls age group, so I imagine all three of the other teams will be every bit of good as we are and it's going to take some luck and good preparation as well as some quality play for us to win it."
19U Girls Final Recap:
After finishing at the top of their respective groups, AFC Lightning 99 Elite (GA) and CSA 00/99 Lady Lobos Rush Premier (TN) both earned clean sheets in the semifinals to advance to the 19U Girls Southern Regional Championships final. AFC came into the match holding the top three spots on the age groups top goal scorers chart - Molle Belisle (7), Taylor Malasek (4) and Emily Mason (4) – and it was always going to be a tough defensive task for CSA. Facing a daunting attacking force, CSA held its own and played AFC to a scoreless back and forth first half. It was more of the same in the second half as each side looked for opportunities to break down the opposing defense. It took until the 72nd minute to break the deadlock but Abbie Crane’s second goal of the tournament pushed AFC ahead. Lobos pressed for an equalizer and were held from any meaningful chances thanks to some pressure defense and sure hands from the AFC keeper. The score held until the final whistle and AFC lightning claim the first 2018 Southern Regional Championship title and a spot at in the US Youth Soccer National Championships.
See how the teams advanced to the Southern Regional Championships Finals:
Southern Premier League sides – Liverpool 05 Elite (TX-N) and SSA Chelsea 05 Elite (GA) – will be facing off in the 13U Girls final. After claiming the top spots in their respective pools, Liverpool and SSA have advanced by keeping clean sheets through their knockout state games. Each team earned, 2-0, victories in the semifinals. Liverpool defeated its fellow North Texas side - Dallas Texans 06 South (TX-N) - thanks to goals from Kaylee Turner and Theresa McCullough. Goals by SSA’s McKinley High and Giselle Espinoza help lead the Georgia side to a spot in tomorrow’s final. With both teams combining to allow just one goal against all tournament, the game may be decided by who makes the first small mistake first.
Pool A winners, Rise 05 Elite 1 (TX-S) and Pool D winners, CESA 05 (SC) match up in tomorrow’s 13U Boys final. Rise comes into the game having won five straight games while CESA advanced out of group play with a 1-1-1 record. CESA needed kicks from the mark to advance from the quarterfinals and then used a 1-0 victory over OEFC 05 (OK) to earn its spot in the final. Rise defeated Birmingham United (AL), 2-0, in the quarterfinals before a Yael Gonzalez braced helped them earn a, 2-1, victory over Dallas Kicks 05 (TX-N). Rise’s Yael Gonzalez’s two goals give him four on the tournament, which is good enough to tie him for second on the 13U Boys top scorer chart.
FC Dallas Blue (TX-N) and Sunrise Sting 2004 Black (FL) will face off in in the 14U Girls final. After a comfortable, 5-1, victory in the quarterfinals, FC Dallas had to fight from a goal behind and then survive kicks from the mark to outlast D’Feeters 04 Voutier (TX-N). Sunrise Sting earned a, 2-0, victory behind a brace by Emily Thompson to earn its spot in the final match. Thompson’s five goals have her tied at the top of the 14U Girls top scoring chart. FC Dallas will need to figure out a Sunrise defense that has not conceded a goal all tournament.
Oklahoma Energy FC 04 (OK) and VHSC Steamers 04 Black (AL) are advancing after only one goal separated the two teams from each of their opponents in their respective semifinal matches. Oklahoma defeated Arkansas Comets 04 Premier (AR), 2-1, with Fidencio Torres scoring the game winner in the 66th minute. VHSC played a scoreless first half against MS Rush 04 Boys (MS) before Gabriel Russo found the back of the net in the 61st minute to push VHSC to victory. Each team comes into the final undefeated but Oklahoma will come in confident with its perfect 5-0 record.
The 15U Girls final contains two teams – Liverpool 03 Elite (TX-N) and Lady Lobos Rush Premier (TN) – that finished second in their respective pools. After each earning, 2-1, victories in the quarterfinals, both teams pressed forward to earn wins in the semis. Lady Lobos scored early, but had to fight back late to earn a win after 03 NCFC Elite (NC) tied the game early in the second half. Emma Riales came up big in the 62nd minute to send her team through with a 3-1 win. Liverpool took a 2-0 lead into halftime but Murfreesboro FC 03 Storm (TN)’s Delaney Mitchell scored her sixth goal of the tournament to pull one back. Caroline Kniffen scored in the last minute of the game, notching her age group leading eighth goal of the tournament, to push her team into the final.
03 PTFC Black (NC) faces off against United SA Mount Pleasant 03 Premier (SC) in the 15U Boys final. Despite having already qualified for the 2018 US Youth Soccer National Championships via the National League, United SA is on a mission to add a Southern Regional title to its belt. PTFC earned a 3-1 win over NFM GPS in the quarterfinals before securing a tight semifinal victory over MSC Lakers LPDL (LA). After going down in just the third minute, Jair Rivera came alive for PTFC scoring twice. MSC’s Ashton Mouton tied the game but Rivera completed his hat trick in the 80th minute to send PTFC into the final. United SA defeated Energy East 03 (OK) in the quarterfinals before defeating Pool A runners-up, FC Premier 03 Opoku (TX-N), in the semifinals. Fabian-Ramses Avila Gutierrez and Ted Van Thullenar scored two first half goals to push United to victory. PTFC and United have both played close matches so far, so expect a close tight match as the two face each other in the final.
In a rematch of Pool D play, the 16U Girls final tomorrow will be between Rise SC 02 Elite 1 (TX-S) and Sparta FC 02 Elite (TX-N). After coming back to win, 3-2, in the quarterfinals against 02 CSA Charlotte Predator (NC), Sparta defeated UFA 02 Premier (GA), 4-0, in confident fashion. Rise has earned two tight knockout round wins. It earned its first win against Oklahoma Energy Football Club 02 (OK) with a 2-1 victory and then defeated 02 Lady Lobos Rush Premier (TN), 1-0, with a second half goal from Monserrath Gutierrez. The teams played to a 0-0 draw in their first meeting, so expect a tight close match between the two Texas sides.
FC Dallas 02 Premier (TX-N) has earned two big knockout round wins on the road to the final where they will face 02 NCFC Elite (NC). Through the knockout stages, FC Dallas has combined to score 10 goals. The North Texas side first earned a 6-2 victory over 02 Lobos Rush Premier (TN) and then used four different goal scorers to push for a 4-0 win over OK Energy FC Central 02 (OK). After finishing second in Pool A, NCFC defeated Pool A winners Odyssey 02 (TX-N), 4-2 in quarterfinal. In the semifinals, NCFC scored a late goal in regulation to comeback and advance to overtime and eventually a trip to kicks from the mark with Ives Estates Thunder Premier (FL). NCFC outlasted Ives 3-2 from the mark and now advance for a chance at redemption after losing to FC Dallas, 2-1, in the preliminary rounds.
Pool A winners, Mandeville SC Lakers LPDL 01 (LA) will meet Pool C runners-up, 01 Lady Lobos Rush Premier (TN) in the 17U Girls final. Mandeville earned a 1-0 victory over DSC 01 Lady Gold Premier (SC) thanks to an own goal before earning a, 2-0, victory over FC Florida 2001 Elite Blue Predators. Mandeville got goals from Susanna-Jane Mull and Savannah Dixon to push them to victory. Lady Lobos came back from down 1-0 in the quarterfinals to earn a 2-1 victory thanks to two goals from Jenna Kemp. Lobos took the same route in the semifinals, going down early and then getting a goal from Jenna Kemp and a last minute goal from Sydney Ham to push them through to the final.
The 17U Boys final will be between two great teams in Solar 01 Stricker (TX-N) and PPA KSA 01 Pro-Profile (GA). Each team comes into the final with 5-0 records and large goal totals. Solar won 4-1 in the quarterfinals against USA/MP 01 Premier (SC) before earning a 5-1 victory over Rise SC 01 Elite I C (TX-S) in the Semifinals. KSA looked strong in the quarterfinals, earning a 6-0 win over 01 CSA North Cab Predators (NC) but played a tough match in the semifinals against Lobos Rush 01 Premier (TN). The game’s lone goal in the 63rd minute by Deedson Vixamar pushed KSA into the final. It could be a high scoring affair between the two Southern Premier League winners to decide the 17U Boys final.
The two teams coming into the girls semifinals could not have had more opposite knockout round stages. After finishing second in Pool D, Mandeville SC Lakers Elite (LA) scored a second half goal to send its quarterfinal game against SSA Chelsea 00 Elite (GA) into a scoreless overtime and then kicks from the mark. Mandeville outlasted SSA from the spot to earn a trip to the semifinals. Mandeville clearly was not done with the dramatic finishes as it moved on to face UFA Milton 00 Premier (GA) in the semifinals. After going down 3-0 in the first half, Mandeville started battling back. Mandeville scored three goals, between the 73rd and 79th minute, with Jamie Raines scoring and then Brogran Bernandas scoring twice two push the game into overtime. Sydney Vincens completed the miracle, scoring in the 101st minute to send Mandeville into the final. Sunrise Sting comes into the final undefeated, and earned a 2-0 victory over CFC Premier 00/01 (TN) and then a, 4-0, win over 00 NCFC Elite (NG). Evanthia Spryedes opened the semifinal scoring for Sunrise, scoring in the fourth minute before Cydni Turner added another first half goal. Victoria Bubrick added a goal in the second half before Turner scored her second of the match to earn the 4-0 victory.
Pool C winners, FC Dallas Youth 00 (TX-N) will face Pool B winners, Davie United Sharks 2000 Blue (FL) in the 18U Boys final. FC Dallas notched a 4-2 victory over VHSC Steamers 00 Black (AL) before earning a hard fought, 1-0, win against fellow Dallas side, FC Dallas 00 Premier (TX-N). After going up in the second half, thanks to a Logan Moore goal, FC Dallas Youth held off numerous forward presses and attacks from the Premier side to earn the win and advance to the final. Davies cruised through the knockout rounds with a, 4-0, win over 00 NCFC Elite (NC) and then a 4-2 win over LA Fire Jrs Red (LA). Davies took a 2-0 lead in the semifinals but LA Fire answered first in the second half to cut the lead to one. LA Fire could not pull any closer than one back and Abel Caputo added the final goal in the last minute of the game to earn the 4-2 victory.
Tampa Bay United (FL) and South Carolina United FC 99 Elite (SC) are one-step closer to advancing to Nationals to play for the coveted 19 and Under Boys James P. McGuire Cup after earning semifinal victories today. Travis Foster scored in the 61st minute against UFA 99 Premier (GA) to push Tampa Bay to a 1-0 victory and a spot in the final. In the opposite semifinal, South Carolina United FC 99 Elite (SC) notched a 2-0 victory over PPA KSA 99 Pro-Profile (GA). South Carolina’s Wesley Ayen gave United a 1-0 lead in the first half. The goal pushes Ayen’s age group leading goal total to eight on the tournament. Ayen’s teammate, Matthew Benson, added a second half goal to seal the win and to send United through to the final.
The US Youth Soccer National Championships will consist of US YouthSoccer Regional Champions in the 13U through 19U Boys and Girls age groups, as well as the US Youth Soccer National League qualifiers in the 14U through 18U Boys and Girls age groups to complete the field of 96 teams.
Daily reports and complete results from the US Youth Soccer Southern Regional Championships are available on championships.usyouthsoccer.org/South.
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About the US Youth Soccer National Championship Series – The US Youth Soccer National Championship Series provides more than 10,000 teams from US Youth Soccer's 55 State Associations the opportunity to showcase their abilities against the best in the nation while emphasizing teamwork, discipline and fair play. The yearlong competition begins with over 185,000 players in the US Youth Soccer State Championships. These champions and selected wildcard teams, through US Youth Soccer Regional Leagues, advance to compete in one of four US Youth Soccer Regional Championships. Champions (13U through 19U) from each regional event advance to the US Youth Soccer National Championships. The 14U through 18U Boys and Girls age groups have four teams representing the US Youth Soccer National League. Overall, the US Youth Soccer National Championship Series provides the nation's top collegiate coaches with the premier stage to identify and scout the most coveted players in the country. For more information, visit championships.usyouthsoccer.org.
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