FRISCO, Texas (May 14, 2019) — The US Youth Soccer Leagues Program has announced that boys and girls teams competing in The Thruway Soccer League of New York State West Youth Soccer will have an opportunity to earn direct qualification into the US Youth Soccer Great Lakes Conference, beginning in the 2019-20 season.
The Thruway League provides teams in New York West with a premier league competition, featuring promotion and relegation, as well as qualifying opportunities for the New York West State Cup.
The new pathway will allow the winners of the Thruway League National Division (1st Division) in the 14U-18U boys and girls age groups to qualify for the First Division of the Great Lakes Conference, which is one of 13 conferences that comprise the multi-state level of the US Youth Soccer Leagues Program. The Great Lakes Conference features teams primarily from New York West, Pennsylvania West, West Virginia, Ohio North, Ohio South, Indiana, Kentucky and Michigan (boys), and it holds competition in the 13U-19U boys and girls age groups.
The Great Lakes Conference provides high-level competition at three different tiers of play — Premier I, Premier II and First Division — with promotion and relegation amongst the tiers from season to season. The Premier I tier annually provides opportunities for advancement to the US Youth Soccer Regional Championships and the US Youth Soccer National League — generating a path for teams to advance from the state to regional to national levels of US Youth Soccer (see pathway graphic below).
The National League is the highest level of competition in the Leagues Program and provides an avenue for teams in the 14U-19U boys and girls age groups to play in meaningful matches against top competition from across the country for continued development. In addition to recruiting opportunities, National League teams compete for the National League title and one of four slots from each gender age group to the annual US Youth Soccer National Championships.
Teams earn their place into the National League each season through success in Leagues Program competition and National Championship Series play. Through the first 12 seasons of the National League, 30 New York West teams have played in the league — providing their players with excellent exposure opportunities to help them continue their playing careers beyond youth soccer.
Alumni of the Leagues Program have gone on to prove themselves at the collegiate, professional and international levels. Recently, Rose Lavelle — who played extensively in the regional league competition and in the National League during her youth career with Cincinnati United Premier (OH-S), a club with multiple teams in the Great Lakes Conference — was named to the U.S. Women’s National Team for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
For more information on the Thruway League, click here.
For more information on the US Youth Soccer Leagues Program, including the Great Lakes Conference and the National League, click here.