FRISCO, Texas (Jan. 30, 2020) — The US Youth Soccer Piedmont Conference 2019-20 season is coming to a close for the 15U-19U age groups, with divisions being decided on both the boys and girls side.
The Piedmont Conference features Premier I and Premier II Division teams in the 13U through 19U age groups, with the 13U age groups playing their season in the spring of 2020 and the 14U age groups continuing their fall season into the spring. The Piedmont Conference features 208 teams this season from the states of Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina, with 78 teams in Girls Premier I, 62 in Boys Premier I, and 67 in Boys Premier II.
The 2019-20 season saw many teams battle it out for the top positions in each bracket within the Premier I and Premier II Divisions. In addition to division titles, teams compete for promotion within the conference or, in the case of Premier I teams, an automatic berth into the US Youth Soccer National League for the 2020-21 season. Teams also compete to qualify for the US Youth Soccer Southern Regional Championships. The top team in the Premier I Division of each 13U-19U gender age group qualifies for the 2020 Southern Regional Championships as the Piedmont Conference representative.
In the 17U Girls Premier I Division, 03 CSA South Elite (NC) finished in first while being the only team to not lose a single conference game in the bracket. CSA’s head coach, Steve Magee, praised the team-building off the field for the players’ success on the field.
“The team captains took a lot of initiative this season with building comradery,” Magee said. “We set goals and took the season on one game at a time. We didn’t look beyond the next game. Players were able to meet their goals by putting the team ahead of the individual.”
CSA’s success this year follows last year’s efforts coming up just short in the 2018-19 season.
“Our experience from last year helped,” Magee said. “We were disappointed to finish second in the Piedmont Conference, but it was good for the girls to have a new goal to shoot for this season. So, with winning both the State Cup and the Piedmont Conference Division this year, it’s been great.”
Magee also commented on what it means to the team to qualify for the National League 2020-21 season.
“We are always looking for a higher level of competition. We were in National League last year and having that high level of competition and the college recruitment exposure was big for us,” Magee said. “The girls wanted to get back, so this season enabled them to set goals and follow through with accomplishing them. It’s not all the time that you see a team set goals and exceed them, but this group of players have been able to get it done.”
In the 16U Boys Premier I Division, DDYSC 04 Wolves Elite (GA) claimed the top spot — being the only team to reach 15 points in the highly competitive division.
“The competition was pretty consistent with previous years,” said Jeff Newbury, head coach of DDYSC 04 Wolves Elite. “There were a couple of new teams this year, but the rest of the teams are pretty familiar with each other. We are retrospective on our approach. We stay consistent and we don’t let others dictate the games. We know what the other teams are good at and how to prepare for them.”
With the completion of the conference season, Newbury attributes the first-place finish to the team’s extensive skill beyond its starting 11.
“We have an 18-man depth at every game. We can sub anybody and everybody in at any time and still be competitive,” Newbury said. “Our depth allows us to have really competitive training. Our preparation as a group is geared entirely towards these matches. Preparation starts a week before the match so the boys are well versed on what they need to do to get the job done.”
With the divisional win, DDYSC qualifies for the Southern Regional Championships and a spot in the 2020-2021 National League. Newbury talked about what these advancements mean to the team.
“It means everything. We like that the league is consequential. You can’t throw away a game. You have to be focused on what matters each and every game. Playing in a league that is promotion regulated is enriching because the boys know they’ve earned it. We will start getting together in the coming weeks for interim preparation for Regionals. We are familiar with and ready for the competition. We are always talking about playing faster, more physical, and more precise.”
Some notes on the season:
Girls – Premier I Division
- Charlotte South Elite (NC) leads the 14U Premier I Division after the fall portion of the 2019-20 conference season. Charlotte has won all of its games going into the second half of the season.
- 05 Wake FC Blue (NC) has clinched the 15U Premier I Division with one game still left to play this season. Wake currently sits on a 10-0-0 record.
- In the 16U Premier I Division, Georgia Rush 2004 (GA) completed its undefeated season by taking the top spot.
- Savannah United 02 Premier (GA) clinched the 18U Premier I Division without losing a game this season after finishing in second in the 2018-2019 season.
- The 19U Premier I Division has yet to be decided. Charlotte Independence 01 North (NC) currently holds the top spot, but 01 CSA Elite North/H'ville has the opportunity to win the division by tiebreakers if it wins its last matchup against Highland FC Red (NC).
Boys – Premier I Division
- In the 14U Premier I Division, PPA GS 06B Pro-Profile (GA) is holding on to the top spot after the fall portion of the 2019-20 conference season. Going into the second half of the season, PPA has a one-point lead over NCFC Elite (NC), who gave PPA its only loss of the season so far.
- Pitt Greenville SA 05 (NC) clinched the 15U Premier I Division by winning all of its games this season.
- Dalton 03 Elite (GA) took the top spot in the 17U Premier I Division with an undefeated conference season.
- In the 18U Premier I Division, SMYRNA SC 02 (GA) was able to clinch the title with a record of 8-1-0.
- AFC Lightning 01 Gold (GA) edged out PPA KSA 01 Pro-Profile (GA) for the top spot in the 19U Premier I Division. Both teams finished the season with 18 points, but AFC won with the head-to-head tiebreaker.
Boys – Premier II Division
- Ambush SC 06 Red (GA) leads the 14U Premier II Division after the fall portion of its 2019-20 conference season. Ambush has a two-point lead over Georgia Rush 2006 (GA) going into the second half of the season.
- ASC Archies 05 Elite (GA) clinched the 15U Premier II Division with a record of 8-1-0.
- In the 16U Premier II Division, Alianza SC Gold 04 (GA) took the top spot by edging out 04 NCFC Elite (NC) with the head-to-head tiebreaker. Both teams finished the conference season with a 9-1-1 record.
- 03 TU Wake Gold North (NC) currently holds the top spot in the 17U Premier II Division, but the matchup between 03 HFC Red (NC) and NCFC 03 Boys Premier (NC) would advance the winner into first place.
- Athens United 02 (GA) took the top spot in the 18U Premier II Division while only losing one game in its double round robin season.
- In the 19U Premier II Division, Coast 02 Red (SC) finished in first place while going undefeated in the conference season.
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