Opening Day of US Youth Soccer National League Girls
The second day of the US Youth Soccer National League Girls prepares to kick off as teams battle it out for an opportunity to advance to the US Youth Soccer National Championships. More than 300 college coaches stood on the sidelines on Thursday with many more expected to attend this National League weekend to scout some of the top teams and players in the nation.
Youth Soccer News: The top clubs in the country showcased their talent on Thursday as the 10th season of US Youth Soccer National League Girls play kicked off in Wilson, N.C., and Rocky Mount, N.C.
National League teams earned their berth into the league based on their record of success in US Youth Soccer regional and national competitions. Competing for a league title and a spot in the US Youth Soccer National Championships, each match will play into who represents the National League this summer in Frisco, Texas.
The importance of the opening day of the tournament was not overlooked as teams came out looking to record their first points.
“First games are big because it’s kind of like scoring the first goal. There’s a mindset, a mentality, a psychology that is easier to deal with,” said Brad Childers, a director and coach for FC Kansas City. “With the National League, the thing I like the most is that you know you’re going to get good games. The accountability to have to perform and have to be prepared is always there.”
Complete standings, scores and schedules, including goal scorers and match information, can be found here.
Day 1 highlights:
In the U15 Red Division, North United Rush (PA-W) and Sporting OFC 2002 (NE) played out a 1-1 draw. Megan Donnelly opened the scoring for North United in the 36th minute, but Sporting’s Maranda Kavan netted the equalizer three minutes later.
Arsenal FC Brown (CA-S) went on a scoring spree to edge Solar Chelsea 02 Hopkins (TX-N) in their U15 Blue Division matchup. Arsenal FC’s dominant performance saw Kayla Colbert record five goals, while Nicole Dallin added two in the match. Makhiya McDonald added one for Solar Chelsea when she met a long cross into the 18-yard box to send the ball into the back of the net.
In U16 Black Division play, two-time defending National Champion Nationals Union 01 Black (MI) kicked off day one with a 3-0 win over Beadling 2001 Elite (PA-W). In the 16th minute, Nationals Union opened the scoring when Madison Medalle took a shot that was blocked, and Arianna Jalics followed it to convert the goal. Medalle extended the lead in the 51st minute, while Jalics scored her second goal of the game in the 76th minute.
An even U16 Blue Division match between Michigan Jaguars 01 Green (MI) and 2015-16 National League division champions 2001 Tennessee SC Showcase (TN) ended a 1-1 draw. Michigan Jaguars opened the scoring early as they broke through Tennessee SC’s defense, and Sarah Noonan scored a goal in the third minute. After keeping the possession throughout the beginning of the second period, Tennessee SC’s Anna Haddock dribbled through the Jaguars’ defense and shot the ball into the bottom right corner to bring the match level. After a full 80-minute match, the score finished tied at 1-1.
The defending Region I Champions, HBC Impact 00 (NY-E), recorded a 2-0 win over Cleveland FC (OH-N) on Thursday. Lindsay Wright led the victory and got a big day started with a 17th-minute goal. Wright’s tally held up for much of the match, as the HBC defense held Cleveland in check. Wright sealed the game with a second goal in the 78th minute as she hit home a loose ball following a corner kick to help HBC to the 2-0 victory.
In a rematch of the 2015 National Championship semifinals, FC Pride 00 Elite (IN) came out strong to edge Dallas Kicks SC 00 (TX-N), 3-0, in U17 Red Division play. It took just three minutes of play for the Indiana club to grab the lead as Heather MacNab found the back of the net. The Pride extended its lead before halftime thanks to a Jennifer Utzinger strike. Elizabeth Jacobson added breathing room for the Pride to come away with the 3-0 win.
In the U18 Black Division, defending Region III Champion Florida Krush Black (FL) began its season with a victory over SDFC 1999 Yellow (NJ). In the 30th minute, a Krush player was taken down in the area, resulting in a red card for SDFC and a penalty kick for Florida. Kara Kyramarios converted the attempt to give her side the one-goal lead. The Krush doubled its lead just before half with a Jordan Diverniero goal. Madison Allen extended Florida’s advantage with a blast to the near post in the 61st minute. A quick pair of goals by Shayla Smart and a late Meghan Mosley tally capped the big win to give Florida three points.
A pair of 2015-16 National League division runners-up each picked up a point on Thursday, as FCKC Academy Blues Elite 99 (MO) and Albion SC White (CA-S) played to a scoreless draw in U18 White action.
In the U19/20 age group, both 2016 National Championship finalists came away with wins. Defending champs YMS Premier Xplosion 98 (PA-E) recorded a 1-0 result in the Red Division, while Beach FC 98 Academy (CA-S) notched a 2-1 win to open Blue Division play.
Photo Credit: US Youth Soccer