Competing in the US Youth Soccer National League is not earned by individual accomplishments. The league is about great teams — the best in the country at a single point in time. But for several players, the hard work to get into the National League, the continued development required to keep up with the competition, and the ability to take advantage of the opportunities presented at the next level can lead to great things. These individuals followed that path and have competed at the highest level on the professional and international stage.
Morgan Gautrat (née Brian)
Before joining the U.S. Women’s National Team, Gautrat competed with Ponte Vedra Storm (FL) in the National League and US Youth Soccer National Championship Series. Following her youth career, she starred at the University of Virginia, where she captured back-to-back MAC Hermann Trophies before being selected No. 1 overall by the Houston Dash in the 2015 NWSL Draft. Gautrat was a key part of the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup Champion U.S. Women’s National Team and the youngest member of the squad at just 22 years of age. She became a two-time World Cup champion while part of the winning U.S. team in 2019.
Colaprico was a member of the PDA Tsunami (NJ) side that competed in the inaugural National League season. She went on to have a standout career at the University of Virginia, where she finished as the Cavalier’s all-time leader in assists and appearances. After being selected with the ninth pick in the 2015 NWSL Draft, Colaprico led the Chicago Red Stars in minutes played during her first season and was selected as the 2015 NWSL Rookie of the Year. She was called into the U.S. Women's National Team in December 2015.
Lavelle played in multiple National League seasons with CUP Crew Jrs. 94/95 (OH-S), tallying a single goal in each of the 2011-12 and 2012-13 seasons. The skillful midfielder played collegiately at Wisconsin, where she earned Big Ten Freshman of the Year honors, was twice named Big Ten Midfielder of the Year and garnered First-Team All-American recognition. In 2014, she earned tournament MVP while helping the U.S. Under-20 Women’s National Team win the CONCACAF U-20 Women’s Championship. The Boston Breakers selected Lavelle with the No. 1 pick in the 2017 NWSL Draft, and she earned her first cap with the U.S. Women’s National Team a couple months later. In 2019, Lavelle earned Bronze Ball honors while helping the U.S. win its second straight FIFA Women's World Cup.
Before a standout college career at UCLA, Mewis competed in the National League as a member of Scorpions Elite (MA). A two-time team captain at UCLA, she helped the Bruins to the 2013 NCAA National Championship, finished sixth in program history with 94 career points and captured Pac-12 Player of the Year honors as a senior. While in college, Mewis earned her first caps with the U.S. Women’s National Team. The Western New York Flash selected Mewis fourth overall in the 2015 NWSL Draft, and she was a finalist for 2015 Rookie of the Year honors. In addition to her success in the NWSL, Mewis helped the U.S. win its second straight FIFA Women's World Cup in 2019.
Sonnett and NASA 12 Elite II (GA) played three years in the National League — capturing a division title in 2009-10 and finishing second in 2010-11. Sonnett continued on to the University of Virginia, where she garnered numerous honors, including 2014 College Cup Most Outstanding Defensive Player, 2015 ACC Defensive Player of the Year and 2015 ESPNW National Player of the Year. During her senior season at Virginia, Sonnett earned her first cap for the U.S. Women’s National Team and has been a regular contributor since that time — winning the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup with the U.S. At the 2016 NWSL Draft, Portland Thorns FC selected Sonnett with the No. 1 overall pick, and she has been a regular starter during Portland’s run as one of the most successful teams in the NWSL.
Harrison played in the 2013-14 National League season with Manhattan SC PSG 96 (NY-E), as the New York side narrowly missed out on a top-two finish in the league. However, Manhattan later qualified for the 2014 National Championships and Harrison won the Golden Ball while helping his side claim the National title. He followed that up with a standout freshman season at Wake Forest, which saw him earn 2015 ACC Offensive Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year honors. His breakout year at Wake Forest led to Harrison being selected with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2016 MLS SuperDraft.
Twice among the leading scorers in the National League, Morris helped Eastside FC 94 Red (WA) succeed at the regional and national levels during his youth career. At Stanford, Morris excelled during his first two seasons and was named to the All-Pac-12 First Team in both 2013 and 2014. As a junior at Stanford, he won the MAC Hermann Trophy while helping the Cardinal to the National Championship. In 2014, Morris became the first college player in 19 years to earn a cap with the U.S. Men’s National Team. He scored in his first international start against Mexico on April 15, 2015. Morris signed with Seattle Sounders FC prior to the 2016 season and went on to earn Rookie of the Year honors.
For two straight years, Rosenberry competed in the National League with Penn Fusion Celtic (PA-E). Playing as a midfielder, he scored multiple goals in each season and helped Penn Fusion finish second in 2010-11. Rosenberry continued his playing career at Georgetown, where he made 90 appearances and twice earned Second-Team All-Big East Conference honors. Selected No. 3 overall by the Philadelphia Union in the 2016 MLS SuperDraft, Rosenberry played every minute of all 34 matches in his first campaign while finishing second in MLS Rookie of the Year voting. The defender earned the MLS Individual Fair Play Award in his first season by receiving zero bookings despite being the lone field player in the league to play every minute of the season.
Zelalem was part of an OBGC Rangers (MD) team that compiled some of the most potent offensive seasons in the National League’s history. His standout play with Rangers helped Zelalem land a spot with Arsenal FC in London, England. As a 16-year-old, Zelalem made his debut with the Arsenal senior side — coming on as a substitute in a 4-0 FA Cup victory in January 2014. He later saw action with Arsenal in a 4-1 win against Galatasaray in the UEFA Champions League.
A talented defender, Zimmerman helped GSA Phoenix Red (GA) to a rare 7-0-0 record during the 2009-10 National League season — tallying three goals along the way to finish among the Top 10 scorers. He was named All-Southern Conference First Team in each of his two seasons at Furman University, where the defender totaled 11 goals and five assists as a freshman and sophomore. Zimmerman was selected by FC Dallas with the seventh overall pick in the 2013 MLS SuperDraft and recorded a pair of goals during his rookie season in 2013. Zimmerman debuted with the U.S. Men's National Team in 2017 and has since made several appearances.
BEST OF THE DECADE | 2010-2019