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LAS VEGAS (March 10, 2018) — The US Youth Soccer National League 14U, 15U, 16U, 17U and 18U Boys continued league play Saturday at the Bettye Wilson Soccer Complex in Las Vegas, Nev., alongside the 2018 Players College Showcase. The boys will wrap up their season on Sunday, as the standings will be solidified and the final tickets to the 2018 US Youth Soccer National Championships will be secured.
After two berths to the National Championships were determined Friday, seven teams secured their ticket to Frisco, Texas, on Saturday — with five of those sides clinching division titles. However, the top of many group standings are still in question, as six National League division titles will be decided on the season’s final day.
Teams qualify for the National Championships by winning their division (16U, 17U and 18U age groups) or by finishing in the top two of their division (14U and 15U age groups). Aside from earning a ticket to Nationals, the top finishers each age group also have a chance to earn their automatic return to the league for the 2017-18 season.
Five wins in as many games helped SLSG Elite 01 (MO) secure first place in the 17U Blue Division, and coach Jonathan Boyer said focus and the right mentality helped his team navigate the tough string of opponents.
“It’s really good competition in the National League, so each and every game you have to be prepared,” Boyer said. “You’re playing everyone’s top teams, so you have to be on it. You can’t show up and take anything for granted. The players have to be ready to compete, regardless of whether it’s a top team or one lower in the bracket — they’re going to give you a good game.”
In the 18U age group, West Coast FC Armour 2000 (CA-S) won the Blue Division title for the second year in a row. After coming up short at the National Championships in 2017, coach Neil Armour said the team entered this season motivated to finish on top of the group and punch its ticket back to Nationals.
With the division title secured, Armour said the National League has helped his players grow and has prepared them for the National Championships and beyond.
“For us, the National League has always been a special place,” Armour said. “There’s the opportunity to play against teams from other states and get outside your own state and challenge yourself. There’s time changes and weather changes and things like that. It helps prepare these boys mentally and helps mold these guys to become different young men.”
2018 US Youth Soccer National Championship Qualifiers via the National League
Blue: Nationals Union 04 Black (MI)*
Red Champion: NM Rush 04 (NM)*
Blue Champion: LVSA 03 Silver (NV)*
Blue Runner-Up: United SA Mount Pleasant 03B Premier (SC)*
Red Champion: Oklahoma Energy FC Central 03 (OK)
White Champion: Solar Chelsea Red 02 Stricker (TX-N)
Black Champion: Tampa Bay United (FL)*
Blue Champion: SLSG Elite 01 (MO)*
Red Champion: McLean Green 01 (VA)
White Champion: Oklahoma Energy FC 01 Central (OK)
Blue Champion: West Coast FC Armour 2000 (CA-S)*
Red Champion: Baltimore Celtic SC 00 (MD)
National League Boys action continues Sunday, March 11 at the Bettye Wilson Soccer Complex with games beginning at 7:30 a.m. and the final matches kicking off at 12:25 p.m. PT. Teams and anyone interested in attending the games should remember that daylights saving time begins tomorrow and games will be pushed forward one hour.
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 Saturday’s matches…
Nationals Union 04 Black (MI) had a chance to grab full control of the 14U Blue Division in its Saturday morning game, but it ran into a determined USA/MP 04 Premier (SC) side that earned a 2-1 victory. Nicolas Urroz put USA/MP in front in just the second minute when he slid a penalty kick inside the left post. Nationals nearly equalized in the 10th minute, but USA/MP keeper Evan Nash dove to his left to deny Anthony Hong’s attempt that was curling like a banana for the far corner. The Michigan side leveled the score shortly after halftime when Jake Ursitti rose up and headed home a corner kick. However, the USA/MP used a corner of its own to regain the lead on an Enuka Taylor strike, and the South Carolina side held on for the 2-1 victory.
NM Rush 04 (NM) defeated SLSG Elite (MO), 4-0, en route to clinching the 14U Red Division title. Andres Torres scored twice in the first half to give Rush a quality lead heading into break. In the second half, Rush made it 3-0 thanks to a Jaime Terrazas goal. Nicholas Moralde played in a ball from the wing that found Terrazas, who blasted a low ball in for the goal. Terrazas now has 11 goals in Rush’s six games. Denilson Velasquez finished the scoring in the 32nd minute to bring the final score to 4-0. With the win, Rush now sits a perfect 6-0 on the season and have earned a spot in the 2018 National Championships.
LVSA 03 Silver (NV) kept its foot on the gas from beginning to end in its 4-0 win over SLSG 2003 Elite (MO). LVSA had a chance to take the lead early but had a chip over the keeper hit the crossbar and then get cleared. The Las Vegas side kept SLSG pinned for most of the first half and took the lead in the 21st minute thanks to an Alexis Bravo goal. SLSG’s defense kept them down just one going into halftime thanks to a goal-line stop by one of its defenders. LVSA started pulling away from SLSG in the second half with a goal just two minutes in. LVSA worked the ball from left to right and found a pass through to Alexander Alvarado, who slotted his shot beyond the keeper from close range. SLSG had a chance to pull one back but had an attempt hit the crossbar. Abel Mendoza finished the job by converting a penalty kick and adding another to bring the final to 4-0. With the win, LVSA clinched the 15U Blue Division title and a spot in the 2018 National Championships.
Beadling (PA-W) used a brace from Joseph Fonagy to earn a well-fought 2-0 win over La Roca S CS (UT) and to stay in contention for a berth to Nationals in the 15U Red Division. Fonagy opened the scoring midway through the first half to give his team a 1-0 advantage. Beadling kept on the pressure in the first half and almost made it 2-0 on multiple occasions. Beadling had a chance hit the post and was denied by the La Roca keeper, Jeffrey Dewsnup, when he blocked a shot following a free kick. Fonagy added his second goal in the second half following a crazy scramble in front of goal. A header missed the target and then bounced back out, where Fonagy finished his chance. Beadling faces CUP 03 Gold (OH-S) tomorrow and will need a win in order to finish second in the Red Division and to earn a spot in the National Championships.
In a key 16U Black Division game, Washington Premier 2002 Black (WA) and FC United Pre Academy 2002 (IL) played to a 2-2 draw. Washington grabbed the early momentum when Braeden Pryor found the back of the net to put Premier in front, 1-0. FC United nearly replied in the 20th minute when a corner kick bounced dangerously through the meat of the 6-yard box, but no player managed to get a touch to direct it on goal. The Illinois side did eventually equalize on Isaiah Parker’s 52nd-minute strike, as the teams went back and forth in the second half. Washington regained the lead in the 66th minute, as Logan Oyama gathered a loose ball in the box and drove a low shot into the back of the net. That nearly held up as the winner, but Brett Chrisman converted a late penalty kick for FC United to force the 2-2 draw. That outcome prevented either side from clinching the division title, which will come down to the results of both division games on Sunday.
SLSG Elite 01 (MO) defeated Valparaiso United FC 01 JG (AZ), 4-0, to clinch the 17U Blue Division title and a spot in the 2018 National Championships. SLSG’s Trent Dolson got the scoring started in the 14th minute, which gave the Missouri side some early momentum. Camden Dunne and Ethan Garamella both added goals just before halftime to push the lead to 3-0. Dolson grabbed his second, and the game’s final goal, in the 60th minute to bring the final score to 4-0. Dolson now sits in third in scoring in the 17U Boys age group with five goals.
In a matchup of teams with title hopes, West Coast FC Armour 2000 (CA-S) left no doubt as it defeated LMSC Rats (PA-E) to win the 18U Blue Division. The Cal South side grabbed a 19th-minute lead when Kyle Carey hit a half-volley from a tight angle that flew into the far side netting. West Coast doubled its advantage six minutes later when it worked the ball down the right side to the end line. A ball was played against the grain into the center of the box, where Max Roetcisoender hammered it home. Angel Morales-Montalvo pushed the lead to 3-0 shortly after, and he added another before half to give West Coast a commanding lead. West Coast didn’t just milk the game away in the second half, as it continued to push forward. That led to a penalty kick that Carey converted to help seal the 5-0 victory and division title for West Coast.
In the 18U White Division, a Sparta 00 JK (UT) win coupled with a Fullerton Rangers 00 White (CA-S) loss put the Utah side in prime position to play for first place on Sunday. The teams entered Saturday’s action even in the standings, but Sparta used a convincing win to put itself two points behind idle group leader LVU 2000 Black (PA-E). The Utah side can win the division and punch its ticket to the National Championships with a victory against Fullerton on Sunday, while the Cal South side will now be playing spoiler after falling off the pace with its defeat on Saturday.
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/