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ROCKFORD, Ill. (October 8, 2016) – The US Youth Soccer Midwest Regional League (MRL) Girls Fall Showcase weekend kicked off on Saturday at the Mercy Sportscore II complex in Rockford, Ill.
A total of 80 Premier I and II girls teams in the 15U through 18U age groups, who are competing in the MRL’s fall season, took the fields for competition. The list of teams also included teams from the MRL 18U First Red division as well as from the 19U age group.
Jeremy Harkins, head coach of 16U Nationals Union 01 Black (MI) discussed the MRL competition and said the players work hard in the league to earn advancement to the US Youth Soccer Region II Championships and the US Youth Soccer National League.
"There’s a pretty good comraderie among the coaches in the region," Harkins said. "We do a lot to help each other in matching the competition and finding the right venues. This weekend in particular is great. Having all the best teams here and drawing college coaches. I think the Midwest Regional League has done a great job this weekend in preparing the event."
A few highlights from Saturday’s matches:
15U Premier I: Sporting OFC 2002 Elite (NE) 1-1 Nationals Union 02 Red (MI)
15U Sporting OFC 2002 Elite (NE) and Nationals Union 02 Red (MI) fought to a 1-1 draw. Makenna Shepard-Swett got Sporting OFC on the board first in the first half as she scored a header goal. Nationals Union came back in the second half on a quick counter attack with a goal from Maria Paveglio who put a loose ball into the open net after a cross was sent into the box.
15U Premier II: FC Kansas City Academy Blues Elite (MO) 5-0 Michigan Alliance 02 (MI)
FCKC Academy Blues Elite 02 (MO) moved to the top of the 15U Premier II Division standings with a decisive win against Michigan Alliance FC (MI). Both sides entered the match unbeaten, but FCKC grabbed control of the game in the opening 20 minutes. Shortly after the opening kickoff, FCKC’s Kirsten Wetterstrom gave her side the lead when she hit a half-volley that flew off the underside of the crossbar and over the goal line. The Missouri side doubled its advantage minutes later when Emma Beltz sent in a cross from the right wing and saw the ball float just inside the far post for a second tally. In the 19th minute, Beltz drove into the Michigan box and squared a pass for Wetterstrom, who finished into an open net to push the lead to 3-0. Brianne Severns and Dragana Andonovski added second-half goals for FCKC to cap the Blues’ victory.
16U Premier I: Nationals 01 Black (MI) 0-0 EGA 01 Maroon Omaha (NE)
The matchup between 16U Nationals 01 Black (MI) and EGA 01 Maroon Omaha (NE) resulted in a 0-0 tie. EGA started off the game with a few dangerous opportunities, but the play evened out throughout the remainder of the half. In the second half, EGA came speeding out after the whistle with a breakaway, but the Nationals’ goalkeeper got to the ball just in time. Avery Smith nearly gave EGA the lead when the ball was laid off to her at the top of the box and she had a clear shot, but the ball went wide left. EGA’s Samantha Marek also had a close opportunity when she drove a low shot that skimmed the right goal post. Nationals had one last-minute chance as the ball was sent in for Madison Medalle to run onto, but the ball went safely to EGA’s goalkeeper.
16U Premier II: SLSG Premier 01 (MO) 4-0 Gretna Prima Green 2001 (NE)
16U SLSG Premier 01 (MO) gained a 4-0 shutout against Gretna Prima Green 2001 (NE). The first goal started with Mary Sheridan as she cut the ball back from the end line and into the box for Audrey Brown to pass the ball into the back of the net. Gretna’s Sawyer Elliff earned a close shot for the possible equalizer when she drove the ball toward the left side of the goal, but SLSG’s goalkeeper tipped the ball out. SLSG earned their second goal and as Brown picked up the ball at the top of the 18-yard box and placed the ball into the bottom left corner of the net. SLSG added on two more goals to earn the 4-0 victory.
17U Premier I: FC United 00 Select 1 (IL) 6-2 Lou Fusz M. Elam (MO)
17U FC United 00 Select 1 (IL) came out with a big win over Lou Fusz M. Elam (MO). Within the first five minutes, Ashley Prell scored for FC United as she received a pass across the goal from Annika DeStefano and Prell kept the ball on the ground to slide past the goalkeeper. The rest of the goals didn’t come until the second half. While Lou Fusz’s Jaimie Tottleben nearly scored off of a breakaway, FC United gained some breathing room when Hannah Lapeire chipped the ball into the 18-yard box and Makayla Stadler was there to bring the ball down and score. Stadler and Prell each tallied a second goal later in the second half, and Jolie Carl added two goals as well. While Lou Fusz did manage to cut into FC United's lead with two goals, FC United claimed the victory.
17U Premier II: Gretna Prima Green 00 (NE) 1-2 MI Hawks 00 Black (MI)
17U MI Hawks 00 Black (MI) came back from a 1-0 deficit to defeat Gretna Prima Green 00 (NE), 2-1. Sarah Karloff scored a header goal for Gretna, but the Hawks responded in the 17th minute with a goal from Sierra Nissan. The second half remained even until the 93rd minute when the Hawks’ Angelica Dallas scored the game winning goal.
18U Premier I: NSA Shock (IL) 2-4 Midwest United FC 99 Royal (MI)
18U Midwest United FC 99 Royal (MI) earned a 4-2 victory over NSA Shock (IL). In the first 30 seconds of the match, Natalie Belsito gained the early lead for Midwest United with a goal. NSA’s Sophia Senese obtained the equalizer in the 26th minute as she received a through ball and chipped the ball over the goalkeeper. Raegan Radaz claimed the lead once again for Midwest United as she kept a shot low on the ground to the right side of the goal. In the second half, Midwest United put themselves out of reach with two goals from Madeline Becker and Bailey Korhorn. NSA’s Alyssa Siebers scored a goal in the 88th minute, but Midwest United ultimately claimed the win.
18U Premier II: Team Chicago Academy – 1999 Elite (IL) 2-1 FC United 99 Select 1 (IL)
After enduring an early 1-0 deficit, 18U Team Chicago Academy – 1999 Elite (IL) came back with a 2-1 win over FC United 99 Select 1 (IL). Whitney Hoban put the ball in the back of the net first for FC United. In the 25th minute, Team Chicago’s Kara Blasingame sent a ball to Haley Singer who slot it right past the goalkeeper. Singer later assisted the game winning goal in the 40th minute as she kicked the ball toward FC United’s goal and Sarah Avery followed up for a volley into the net.
The MRL provides an opportunity for the most competitive teams in Region II to play each other on a scheduled basis while also competing for placement in the prestigious US Youth Soccer Regional Championships, as well as the highly-competitive US Youth Soccer National League.
The National League is an extension of the highly successful US Youth Soccer Regional Leagues (Region I Eastern Regional League, Region II Midwest Regional League, Region III Southern Regional Premier League and Region IV Far West Regional League). Each league provides the best localized matchups and an opportunity for advancement to play at the national level – giving players great opportunities for development while offering college coaches a chance to see the top players in the region compete in meaningful games.
- Nationals Union 02 Black (MI) put on a dominant performance on Saturday to pick up a win and remain at the top of the 15U Premier I Division standings.
- With its win on Saturday, FCKC Academy Blues Elite 02 (MO) now sits atop the 15U Premier II Division standings with a game in hand on second-place SLSG Premier 02 (MO).
- EGA 01 Maroon Omaha (NE) played to a scoreless draw with two-time defending US Youth Soccer National Champion Nationals Union 01 Black (MI). The draw allowed EGA to pull within two points of first place in the 16U Premier I Division, while Nationals Union is 2-0-2 and has a chance to make a move up the standings on Sunday.
- The three teams at the top of the 16U Premier II Division standings all lost on Saturday, as Eclipse Select 01 Black (IL), FCX Black (IL) and SLSG Premier 01 (MO) each picked up wins in those matchups to move up the table.
- In the 17U Premier I Division, Nationals Union Black (MI) and FC United Select 1 2000 (IL) each picked up wins on Saturday to move within four points of idle division leader Midwest United FC 00 Royal (MI).
- Hawks 00 Black (MI) used a last-second goal to defeat 17U Premier II Division leader Gretna Prima Green 00 (NE), which allowed SC Waukesha Girls 2000 (WI) to pull within two points of first with its win on Saturday.
- Iowa Rush (IA) recorded a shutout to stay atop the 18U Premier I Division standings, but second-place Midwest United 99 Royal (MI) also moved to 4-0-0 and has four games in hand on Iowa.
- Team Chicago Academy-1999 Elite (IL) picked up a win over 18U Premier II Division leader FC United 1999 Select 1 (IL) to move within three points of first place. MI Burn 99/00 (MI) also remained undefeated and in second place with a win on Saturday.
- KC Blaze Blue Angels (KS) pulled within three points of first in the 18U First Red Division with a win Saturday coupled with group leader Sporting J. B. Marine SC Bozesky 99/00 (MO)’s loss to Chicago Inter Soccer 99/00 Black (IL).
- Alliance 99 Black (MI) picked up a 3-0 win over FC United 98 Select 1 (IL) in the lone 19U Premier I Division matchup of the day.
- Lou Fusz - Wipke (MO) remained perfect and on top of the 19U Premier II Division standings with a 2-0 win over Michigan Jaguars Green (MI).