US Youth Soccer National League Girls Wraps Up
The National League features the top 256 teams in the U15 through U19/20 Boys and Girls age groups. With teams in each age group divided into eight-team divisions, each side has had to earn its place in the league through success in US Youth Soccer Regional Leagues and National Championship Series play.
Youth Soccer News: The 2016-17 US Youth Soccer National League Girls concludes play as top competitors showcased their skills in front of hundreds of college coaches at the ESPN Wide World of Sports and ChampionsGate Sports Complex in Orlando, Florida, alongside the Disney Soccer Showcase. The attending teams wrapped up their season on Monday, while the rest of the league will compete March 17-19 in Las Vegas before standings are finalized.
Just four division titles and six total berths to the 2017 US Youth Soccer National Championships were secured during the girls’ week in Orlando — leaving the field open when the remaining clubs meet in Las Vegas to determine the final 14 sides who will earn a berth to the championships this summer.
Nationals Union 02 Black (MI) became the first club to book its ticket to the 2017 US Youth Soccer National Championships by clinching one of the top spots in the U15 Blue Division.
As Nationals Union consists of players from 2016 National Champion PSG MI Gators 02 Orange and the Region II representative at the National Championships, Waza FC East, several players on the roster have experienced the top competition showcased at the event.
The opening day of girls matches in Orlando saw the final unbeaten defending National Champion — U17 Midwest United FC 00 Royal (MI) — drop its first points of the season in a loss to Sunrise Sting 2000 (FL). The loss ended the club’s 11-game unbeaten run in National League play for Midwest. However, the club bounced back with a win on Monday to secure its second straight division title.
“Repeating as division winners is huge. We told them last year that what they did was incredible — to go 7-0,” Midwest head coach Lewis Robinson said. “To come back and do it again this year, with the target on their back being a little bit bigger, is a huge achievement for them. I’m really proud of the group.
In the U16 Blue Division, Michigan Jaguars 01 Green (MI) became the first team from its club to win a National League division title. Head coach Andy Richards said that is not an accomplishment that the team and club overlooks in the grand scheme of things.
“The National League is such a high standard of play. You have to work very hard to get here,” said Richards. “We’ve been together for a while leading up to this level. We did well in North Carolina, won two games and tied two, so we had quite a task in front of us coming into this weekend — we really had to win all three to get to Texas in July.”
2017 US Youth Soccer National Championship Qualifiers via the National League
Blue: Nationals Union 02 Black (MI)
Blue Champion: Michigan Jaguars 01 Green (MI)
Red Champion: CUP Gold 01 (OH-S)*
Blue Champion: Midwest United FC 00 Royal (MI)
White Champion: FC Pennsylvania Strikers (PA-E)
Red: 98 CR Academy (NC)
Photo Credit: US Youth Soccer