The US Youth Soccer National League competition is for the nation's top teams in the 14U, 15U, 16U, 17U, 18U and 19U boys and girls age groups. The 14U through 18U divisions consist of up to 32 teams per gender age group, while the 19U age group features up to 16 teams for each gender. The National League offers additional exposure to collegiate, professional and U.S. National Team coaches and offers the highest level of competition in the country as each team must earn their place in the league.
Teams play a seven-game schedule over two weekends, facing each team within its age group division one time. The League consists of three weekends of play per gender, with each team playing two of the three weekends.
The top teams from each division advance to the US Youth Soccer National Championships, the oldest and most prestigious youth soccer national championship in the country. The four National League representatives will join the four Regional Champions in the 14U through 19U age groups to play for the National Championship. The top teams in each 14U through 18U division also secure a spot to return to National League play the following season.
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, the UEFA Champions League and the FIFA Women’s World Cup.
The National League, which held its inaugural season in 2007-08, is the national tier and highest level of competition in the US Youth Soccer National Leagues program. Following a restructuring of the National Leagues program in 2018, the program also features 13 Conferences (formerly Regional Leagues) that offer multi-state competition across the various geographical areas of the country.
For the 2018-19 season, the National League will feature the following age groups:
- 14U (up to 32 teams per gender)
- 15U (up to 32 teams per gender)
- 16U (up to 32 teams per gender)
- 17U (up to 32 teams per gender)
- 18U (up to 32 teams per gender)
- 19U (up to 16 teams per gender)
There are three means to earning automatic qualification into the National League:
- 72 Regional Championship winners/finalists/representatives
- 96 returning National League division top finishers
- 168 Regional League qualifiers