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LAS VEGAS, Nev. (March 18, 2018) — The US Youth Soccer National League 14U, 15U, 16U, 17U and 18U Girls completed their third and final day of matches at the Bettye Wilson Soccer Complex in Las Vegas, Nev., alongside the 2018 Players College Showcase. Sunday marked the final day of the 2017-18 season, and standings are now finalized with division titles, berths to the US Youth Soccer National Championships and guaranteed spots in the league next year decided.
The 2017-18 season was an exciting one for the girls, as seven division titles were decided on the final day of play. Every division winner punched a ticket to the 2018 US Youth Soccer National Championships, while runners-up in the 14U and 15U age groups also earned a berth to Nationals in Frisco, Texas. Additionally, several sides in each age group earned an automatic spot to compete in the league again next season. With so much on the line, games in Las Vegas carried significant meaning toward the outcome of the season.
Just one defending National Champion, 15U LVPSA 03 Red (NV), earned a chance to defend its title by punching a ticket to Frisco, Texas, through the National League. The Nevada side finished the season strong by winning all three of its games to finish first in the 15U Red Division.
“I think throughout this year, these girls have met every challenge,” LVSPA coach Mike Madrid said. “Last year, from winning the National Championship to this year, defending their title, they proved themselves in North Carolina and once again here in Las Vegas. The girls have stepped up to the challenge and have done quite a good job, and we’re looking forward to defending our title.”
Each of the 20 berths to the National Championships for the girls teams came from a different club — showing the variety of competition across the country. Every side representing the National League at this summer’s National Championships should be prepared after overcoming the challenges of the league while also growing as teams and individuals.
“The National League means everything to me because these girls are developing,” Madrid said. “Through their hard work at practice and training, these results happen because of what they put in. For me, it’s gratifying to watch them develop and have good results.”
2018 US Youth Soccer National Championship Qualifiers via the National League
Blue Champion: CDA Premier 04 (KY)
Blue Runner-up: Michigan Jaguars 04 Green (MI)
Red Champion: Nationals Union 04 Black (MI)
Red Runner-up: Arlington SA (VA)
Blue Champion: PDA Shore Freedom (NJ)
Blue Runner-up: GPS Oregon FC Bayern 03 (OR)*
Red Champion: LVPSA 03 Red (NV)
Red Runner-up: CSA Impact United 03 Black (OH-N)
Black Champion: La Roca-FD 02 (UT)
Blue Champion: Fullerton Rangers 02 White (CA-S)
Red Champion: SJEB Rush 02 Academy Blue (NJ)
White Champion: Legends FC 02 Academy (CA-S)*
Black Champion: Premier Navy 2001 (MD)*
Blue Champion: FCKC Academy Blues Elite (MO)
Red Champion: BC United 01 (NY-W)
White Champion: TFA Elite 01 (OH-S)*
Black Champion: Campton United 1 (IL)
Blue Champion: Princeton SA (NJ)
Red Champion: Scottsdale Blackhawks Taylor (AZ)*
White Champion: HBC Impact 00 (NY-E)
The National League is an extension of the highly successful US Youth Soccer Regional Leagues (US Youth Soccer Eastern Regional League, Midwest Regional League, Southern Regional Premier League and Far West Regional League). 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.
National League teams earn their place in the league based on a proven track record of success in US Youth Soccer regional and national competitions and are among the nation's best. Competing for a league title and a spot in the US Youth Soccer National Championships, each and every game will play into who represents the National League this summer in Frisco, Texas.
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 Sunday’s matches…
With a scoreless tie over Arlington SA (VA), Nationals Union 04 Black (MI) claimed the 14U Red Division crown. Arlington will not go home empty-handed, however, as it finished second in the division and holds a ticket to the National Championships. The match remained in Arlington’s offensive end for the majority of the first half. Its first of many opportunities included a shot from distance that split through the hands of the National Union goalkeeper and bounced off the post. Arlington’s Eleanor Nordwind and Alexandra Jordan each sent in long shots, as well, but saw them go wide. The second half was a different story as Nationals Union barely allowed Arlington into its defensive half, knowing that it could take the division title with a tie. Nationals Union nearly gained the lead when a free kick from far out on the left side headed straight off the top right corner of the crossbar. More chances came for Nationals Union with shots skimming outside of the goal posts, but the game resulted in a scoreless draw, leaving the teams to wonder what could happen if they were to meet again at the National Championships.
LVPSA 03 Red (NV) got the win it needed to take the 15U Red Division title, defeating Legends FC, 5-0. Olivia Garcia opened up the scoring in the fifth minute of the match when she ran the ball down and poked the ball into the goal. LVPSA increased its lead not long after as Jacqueline Hillegass got a clear shot off inside the 18-yard box and blasted the ball straight into the net. The score then became 3-0 when the ball was played across the face of the goal on the ground for Alexis Blue to take a shot, but after the ball bounced back out, Hillegass was there to clean it up by burying a shot into the goal. In the second half, Garcia earned her sixth goal of the weekend, and Alexa Fehlman added one more to complete the match. As the defending National Champions, LVPSA will look to defend its title during another run in Texas.
The matchup between GPS Oregon FC Bayern 03 (OR) and San Diego Soccer Club Academy-Navy (CA-S) held high importance as the result would determine the first and second spots for the 15U Blue Division. With the 1-0 win, GPS shut down San Diego’s chances of taking one of the top two spots and was able to secure second place, as well as a ticket to the National Championships. The first half was fairly even on both sides until the period of time where the ball bounced back and forth across the face of the GPS goal, and San Diego began to gain momentum, but the team couldn’t put it in the back of the net before the half. GPS scored the only goal of the match in the second half thanks to Sofia Sosa. Just as a San Diego player launched a shot that rocked off the crossbar, the ball quickly transitioned to the opposite end, and Sosa found herself with a free shot in the middle of the goal. San Diego responded well by pushing hard, and the ball came within inches of crossing the goal line multiple times, but the GPS defense made the right tackles when it needed. GPS ended up holding onto the lead and the ticket to Nationals.
With a late goal, Legends FC 02 Academy (CA-S) earned a 2-1 victory over Albion SC 02 Academy (CA-S) to win the 16U White Division. Near the end of an even first half, Legends grabbed an important lead when Camille Hawley dribbled into the box and fired a low shot inside the right post. Legends tried to put the game away with an abundance of second-half corners, but Albion defended well and pulled even in the 71st minute. Following a scramble in the Legends penalty area, Karlee Kennedy poked a shot into the right corner of the net to level the score. With Cleveland FC holding a commanding lead in the other match, Legends needed to win in order to finish atop the standings. As just a minute remained in regulation, Alison Keller hit a half volley that dipped under the bar to give Legends the all-important three points and White Division title.
In the 17U Black Division, Premier Navy 2001 (MD) pulled away for a 5-1 win against Tennessee Soccer Club 2001 Showcase (TN) to finish first in the group and punch its ticket to Nationals. Toni Fiocco-Mizer needed just four minutes to put Premier in front, but Tennessee replied quickly when Mollyanne Thorne lifted her shot over a sprawling keeper to level the score at 1-1. The early scoring spree continued when Phoebe Canoles and Fiocco-Mizer each found the back of the net to put Premier up, 3-1. Canoles added another just before halftime, and Madison Carr capped the victory with a 75th-minute goal — helping Premier Navy secure the Black Division title.
With a 2-0 win over Lonestar 01 TCL Composite (TX-S), TFA Elite 01 (OH-S) wrapped up an undefeated season and clinched the 17U White Division title. The Ohio South side took a 25th-minute lead when Elizabeth Flower headed home a rebound after the Lonestar keeper made an athletic diving save to her right. Megan Caudy doubled the advantage later in the half when she found the back of the net, and TFA took a comfortable lead into halftime. The TFA defense, which had been strong all season, recorded its fifth clean sheet of the season to secure the 2-0 victory and division title.
Scottsdale Blackhawks Taylor (AZ) captured its second straight National League division title, as it defeated Livermore Fusion (CA-N), 4-0, on Sunday to take first place in the 18U Red Division. Hannah Hale opened the scoring in the 14th minute, as the Arizona side applied consistent pressure throughout the first half. Hannah Osland added a strike just before the break to give Scottsdale a two-goal lead. Caitlin Johnston extended the lead to 3-0 at the hour mark, and Sarah Wintergalen sealed the victory with a late goal to help Scottsdale to the 4-0 win and division title.
Keep up with the National League all season:
National League Home: USYouthSoccer.org/National_League
Schedule & results: tournaments.usyouthsoccer.org/events/2017-18-National-League/