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LAS VEGAS (March 15, 2019) — The US Youth Soccer National League 14U, 15U, 16U, 17U, 18U and 19U Girls resumed league play Friday at the Bettye Wilson Soccer Complex and Kellogg Zaher Soccer Complex in Las Vegas, Nev., alongside the 2019 Players College Showcase.
The girls entered the final weekend of their season with 17 berths to the 2019 US Youth Soccer National Championships still to be determined. Teams qualify for the National Championships by winning their division (14U-18U age groups) or by finishing in the top two of their division (19U age group). The top finishers in the 14U-18U age groups also secure their place in the league for next season, meaning the teams had plenty on the line as they kicked off their weekend in Las Vegas.
The results on Friday led to just one team, 17U North Shore United 2002 Blue (WI), securing a berth to the National Championships via a division title. The Wisconsin side did its work in North Carolina and Florida, where it compiled 19 total points, which proved to be enough to win the White Division following Friday’s games.
While just one spot in the National Championships was secured on Friday, there is a potential for numerous division winners and tickets to Nationals to be earned on Saturday. Many teams in pursuit of first-place finishes started the weekend in Las Vegas by picking up vital points in the standings.
“This first game was really important. We wanted to get some points on the table,” 14U PDA Shore Flash (NJ) coach Bryan Finley said. “We were not disappointed with the 1-1 draw. We know the competition in the National League is always intense and nothing is a given.”
PDA went on to win its second game and remain in first place in its division. While the players are aware of having a division title and berth to the National Championships on the line, Finley said they are simply enjoying the challenge of playing in the league.
“After our first game in North Carolina, a number of the girls came up to me and said, ‘Coach, you weren’t kidding. The competition level here is intense,’” Finley said. “I looked at one of them and go, ‘Did you like it?’ They had a big smile and said, ‘Yeah, this is awesome.’
“We couldn’t be happier to be in the National League, and we look forward to these games. These are probably seven of the best games, competition-wise, that we’ll have all year.”
2019 US Youth Soccer National Championships Qualifiers via the National League
*Qualified via Friday’s results
White Champion: Lou Fusz 03 Blue (MO)
Black Champion: Cleveland FC 02 (OH-N)
Red Champion: SJEB Rush 02 Academy Blue (NJ)
White Champion: North Shore United 2002 Blue (WI)*
Black Champion: Premier Navy 2001 (MD)
Red Champion: MI Jaguars 2001 Green (MI)
Blue: MapleBrook Fury (MN)
Red: Campton United Red (IL)
National League Girls action continues Saturday, March 16, with games beginning at 8 a.m. PT and the last matches kicking off at 3:15 p.m. PT (Bettye Wilson Soccer Complex) or 1:15 p.m. PT (Kellogg Zaher Soccer Complex).
The National League provides an avenue for teams to play in meaningful matches against top competition from across the country for continued development and opportunities for exposure at the national team, collegiate and professional levels. In addition to recruiting opportunities, the top finishers from each division will earn a ticket to the 2019 US Youth Soccer National Championships in Overland Park, Kan., creating additional value and pressure as each game could make or break their chance at competing for the National Championship.
Since its inception, National League teams have captured a combined 56 of 78 possible National Championships. For a list of past National League champions and history, click here.
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, the Olympics and the FIFA Women’s World Cup.
Some highlights from Friday’s matches…
Pipeline Spirit PreAcademy (MD) finished a strong day in the 14U White Division with a 4-0 win over 05 Lady Lobos Rush Premier (TN). The Maryland side grabbed a lead less than 10 minutes into the game on a Brooke Hunter goal, and Natalie Adams finished from the center of the box to make it 2-0 in the 14th minute. Lobos pushed for an equalizer, but Pipeline extended its lead late in the second half. Following a corner kick, Politimy Roros gathered a loose ball before placing her shot through traffic and into the right side-netting. Just seconds later, Hannah Jibril placed a shot in a nearly identical spot, as she fired the ball just inside the right post to cap the 4-0 victory. Combined with a 3-0 win earlier in the day, Pipeline finished Friday in second place in the White Division — just one point back of TFA Elite 05 (OH-S).
In the 14U Red Division, group leader PDA Shore Flash (NJ) entered Friday with matches against the second and third-place teams in the standings. The New Jersey side fell behind in its opener against CCV Stars 05 (AZ) when Selena Craig slid her shot inside the right post. PDA quickly responded with a strike from Gianna Simon to tie the game. PDA pushed for a winner late in the match, but it settled for the 1-1 draw. PDA later met Greater Binghamton FC GPS 05 Select (NY-W), which pulled even with the New Jersey side in the standings after the morning matches. Goals from Madison DiEugenio and Christina Jimenez allowed PDA to come away with a 2-0 win and regain the same two-point advantage it had at the top of the standings prior to its tough Friday matchups. CCV also earned a shutout win in its second game to return to second place.
In the 15U Blue Division, LVSA 04 Red (NV) picked up a 4-0 win over NJ Stallions 04 Sting (NJ) to remain undefeated and in contention for first place. Amber Mallas and Annabella Alfreda each scored in the opening 40 minutes to give LVSA a two-goal advantage at halftime. Brynn Covington extended the LVSA lead to 3-0 in the 49th minute, and Amber Mallas added another goal shortly after to give LVSA all the momentum. The Nevada side did not allow the Stallions to gain any momentum, as LVSA held on for its second shutout of the season.
A late goal helped Cleveland FC 03 (OH-N) earn a 3-2 win over HSC 03 GPS (OR) in a 16U Black Division game that impacted the top half of the standings. After a scoreless first half, Cleveland grabbed hold of the game with a pair of goals. Both sides exchanged dangerous chances just moments before Cleveland drew a penalty kick when a player trying to round the GPS keeper was clipped and brought down in the box. Elizabeth Majka converted the attempt to put the Ohio North side up, 1-0, and Stephanie Sturgeon doubled the lead shortly after when she gathered a loose ball and finished from the left side of the box. GPS bounced back and pulled a goal back when Jolie Maycumber powerfully headed a lofted ball into the back of the net in the 69th minute. Maycumber equalized two minutes later when she met a Natalie Nadlasky at the back post and headed in her second goal of the game. With just a minute remaining in regulation, Cleveland’s Nicole Sidloski lunged to get a toe on a cross at the back post and directed it into the net for the winning goal — allowing Cleveland to stay within three points of group leader Legends IE (CA-S), who also won on Friday.
Needing three wins in Las Vegas for a shot at the 17U White Division title, Covington FC FCT Tigers (LA) came up short in a 4-0 defeat to Legends FC G02 Academy II (CA-S). Marissa Vasquez put Legends up after just five minutes of play, and Kaya Pigoni pushed the lead to 2-0 with a 34th-minute goal. Legends forced the Covington keeper to make a couple diving saves before halftime, as the Cal South side looked to extend its lead. Legends did so in the 52nd minute, as Pigoni netted her second goal of the game. Camille Hawley capped the scoring with a strike in the 68th minute, as Legends earned the 4-0 victory. With that result, North Shore United 2002 Blue (WI) secured the White Division title after it earned six wins and a draw during the North Carolina and Florida events.
Sparta 02 Premier SP (UT) secured a 4-0 win over Syracuse Development Academy (NY-W) on Friday to pass the New York West side in the 17U Black Division standings. CC Norman gave Sparta a 25th-minute lead, and the Utah side pressured the Syracuse goal several times during the remainder of the half while looking to double the lead. After the break, Norman netted her second to give Sparta the 2-0 lead it had worked toward. Ellie Nelson continued the momentum and found the back of the net twice to help seal the 4-0 win. While Cleveland FC 02 (OH-N) already clinched the division title, Sparta now is in the best position to take second place and requalify for next season’s National League.
With a 2-0 win over Legends FC 01 (CA-S) on Friday, TFA Elite 01 (OH-S) moved to within three points of the top of the 18U White Division, where three teams are currently tied with 15 points. TFA broke through in the 22nd minute when Julia Hoffmann found the back of the net, and it did well to maintain that narrow lead for much of the game. With the defense standing strong, Madelyn Pittman added a late insurance goal for TFA to help the Ohio South side to a 2-0 victory. The win keeps TFA on course as it looks to capture the division title and punch a ticket to Nationals.
In the 19U Blue Division, Sunrise Sting 2000 (FL) secured at least a second-place finish with a 1-0 win over Legends FC G00 Academy II (CA-S) on Friday. Sunrise nearly connected on a cross to the front of goal midway through the first half, but its runner couldn’t get enough of a touch to put it on goal. The teams went to the second half with the game scoreless, but Kayla Fernandez changed that in the 65th minute when she scored to put Sunrise in front. The Florida side’s defense kept Legends off the scoreboard, which allowed the Fernandez goal to hold up in the 1-0 victory. With the win, Sunrise earned a berth to Nationals, where it will look to defend its 2018 National title.
Keep up with the National League all season:
National League Home: USYouthSoccer.org/National_League
Schedule and results: USYouthSoccer.org/tournaments/2018-19-National-League/