Only days after the some of the top boys club soccer teams in the nation wrapped up play at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex in Orlando, Florida*, the top girls club soccer sides took the fields.
On the line for some of the elite few was a spot in the US Youth Soccer (USYS) National Championship thanks to their participation in National League play. The Disney Soccer Showcase presented by Roma is set up for the teams in the USYS National League to get three games in group play at the Showcase to count toward this season’s league standings while remaining in the format of a competitive tournament.
There were eight clubs that seized the opportunity at the event and qualified for one of the spots at the USYS Nationals, which will be held in July in Kansas.
In the oldest age group, Lou Fusz Wipke (Missouri), Team Chicago Academy Botafogo, and Virginia SA Heat Blue all clinched a place in the U18 National Championship with good showings in Central Florida.
Team Chicago FC Botafogo led the way with a 3-0-0 record from National League Red Bracket play with wins over Blast FC, Virginia SA Heat Blue, and Space City FC. Botafogo capped the showing with a convincing 6-2 win over Javanon SC 95 Black (Kentucky) in the U18 Showcase Red Championship.
With UCLA commit Zoey Goralski, Kentucky commit Zoe Swift, and Wake Forest commit Jenna Romano leading the way, the Chicago club clinched the top spot in the National League Red Bracket and is one of the favorites to win it all this summer. VSA Heat Blue locked down the runner-up spot in the National League Red division and a spot at Nationals as well.
Lou Fusz SC Wipke finished third in the U18 Showcase – Black bracket after a 1-0 win over FC Frederick 94 (Maryland) in the consolation game. Lou Fusz was 1-1-1 in National League Blue play at the event, which was enough to clinch a berth to Nationals.
Ponte Vedra SC 94/95 Storm (Florida) finished as the champions of the Showcase – Black bracket with a 3-0 win over Michigan Football 95 in the final.
In the U17 age group, Braddock Road YC 95 Elite (Virginia) and Match Fit Chelsea Beat (New Jersey) grabbed their spots in the US Youth Soccer National Championship with undefeated records in National League play at the event.
BRYC went 2-0-1 in group play in the Girls U17 Showcase – Red bracket with wins over Grand Rapids Crew Jrs. 96 MRL Gold (Michigan) and Futura FC SBV Supersport 95/96 (Missouri). BRYC played to a 0-0 draw with North Atlanta SA 14 Elite on the final day of group play.
The National League Red Division Champions came up short in the final though, as JFA Academy Fukushima (Japan) claimed the tourney crown with a 2-0 win. The international squad ended the event with a perfect 4-0-0 record and only one goal conceded.
In the U17 Showcase – Black, Match Fit Chelsea Beat went 1-0-2 in group play with three shutouts, but only one goal scored. Match Fit concluded the event on a high note with a 2-1 win over North Carolina 95 Fusion in the consolation tilt.
Burlington YSC Tornados/Bayhawks (Canada) won the flight in commanding fashion with a 5-1 victory over PWSI Courage 95 Gold (Virginia) in the final.
Match Fit Chelsea also sealed a spot at USYS Nationals in the U16 age group with a 3-0-0 record in National League Red play at the event. Lou Fusz SC Wipke (Missouri) ended the Match Fit parade in the final with a 2-1 result for the Missouri squad.
In the U16 Showcase – Black, it was a similar story with Eclipse Select Elite USYSA 96/97 (Illinois) emerging from the National League Blue group with a 2-0-1 record, but coming up short in the final against Palm Beach SA Magicjacks (Florida), which is coached by Dan Borislow.
Also in the U16 age group, Cook Inlet SC Velocity 97G Blue, one of only two teams from Alaska at the event, surprisingly captured the U16 Championship – Black with a 3-0 win over Pinecrest Premier 96/97 Blue (Florida) in the final. Haleigh Van Allen scored twice in the championship match. Malia Lyken added the other goal.
The club from Anchorage, under the guidance of head coach Tim Velesko, upset a few teams on its way to the crown. Cook Inlet SC Velocity does have a couple of famous alumni already including U.S. U20 Women’s National Team member Kelly Cobb.
Tampa Bay United 97 Premier (Florida) and Eclipse Elite USYSA Black 97/98 (Illinois) qualified from Nationals from the U15 age group.
Eclipse went 2-0-1 at the event in National League Red play with wins over Ponte Vedra 97/98 Storm Gold (Florida) and Herndon-HYS Freedom 97 (Virginia). The Chicago team prevailed in the final of the U15 Showcase – Red bracket with a 2-0 win over NJ Stallions Dynamite.
Tampa Bay also went 2-0-1 at the Showcase with National League wins over Eclipse Select USYSA White and Liverpool FC America 98 Elite (Texas). The Florida club could not capture the trophy, as Georgia club Tophat SC 16 Gold topped Tampa 2-1 in the final.