WESTFIELD, Ind. (Sept. 26, 2020) — More than 100 teams from the US Youth Soccer Midwest Conference and USYS Great Lakes Conference competed in league games Saturday at the Grand Park Athletic Complex in Westfield, Ind. The action will continue on Sunday, with 46 games scheduled to complete the weekend of league play.
The event features 93 teams from the Midwest Conference in the 14U-19U Girls and 14U Boys age groups, as well as 10 teams from the Great Lakes Conference in the 14U Boys and Girls age groups. The games at Grand Park primarily feature teams in the Premier I, Premier II and Club vs. Club Divisions of the Conferences.
Many of the competing teams are continuing their conference campaigns after matches earlier in the month, while several sides are playing their first games of the conference season this weekend.
In the Midwest Conference 15U Girls Premier I Division, Michigan Fire Juniors 06 Navy (MI) played its first couple games of the season on Saturday. After the long wait to kick off its season, the Michigan side remained organized to secure a pair of shutout victories.
“When you’re in National League and playing in the Midwest Conference Premier I Division, it’s always going to be a tough game every time out,” Michigan Fire coach Dean Muckle said following the team’s first win.
“It’s great to get the first win on the board in a tough division. Being one of the top leagues in the nation and the top of the pyramid for USYS, you’re always going to get a challenge every game. There are different scenarios, different opponents and different ways of playing, so players have to adapt. They need to survive in games and be brave to win them.”
In addition to the matches in the team-based divisions, the weekend at Grand Park features four clubs competing in the Club vs. Club Divisions of the Midwest Conference. Nationals (MI), FC United (IL), Michigan Jaguars (MI) and Libertyville FC 1974 (IL) each have multiple teams from their clubs meeting to compete against each other during the play weekend in Indiana.
While meeting during an event weekend differs from a typical Club vs. Club match day, the teams are enjoying the setting while playing at the conference-hosted event.
“We are always happy to come and play at Grand Park. The facility is fantastic,” FC United Director of Operations Andy Parry said. “From a team perspective, the players enjoy playing in this environment. It gets them back to feeling what soccer was like prior to the last several months. That’s been our focus — getting everyone back to a sense of normalcy in as safe a manner as possible.”
The Midwest Conference and Great Lakes Conference are two of 13 Conferences under the National League in the Multi-State Tier. The Midwest Conference consists of teams primarily from Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan, Missouri, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota. The Great Lakes Conference consists of teams primarily from New York West, Pennsylvania West, West Virginia, Ohio North, Ohio South, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota and Kentucky.
The top teams in the Midwest Conference and Great Lakes Conference will earn advancement to the US Youth Soccer Midwest Regional Championships, part of the US Youth Soccer National Championship Series. Conference teams also have a pathway to participate in the new National League Showcase Series and to qualify for the National League Playoffs.
Click here for more information on the Midwest Conference, and click here for more information on the Great Lakes Conference. For more information on all of the National League Conferences, the National League Showcase Series, and the National League Playoffs, click here.