As we near the end of the 2011-2012 season, we continue unveiling our latest update to TeamRank, the comprehensive ranking system for elite club soccer teams nationwide. Today we release the latest standings for U16, U17 and U18 Girls. Next week, we will update the younger age groups on the Boys side. We will update our National Top 50 of each age group at least once per month.
With almost all competitions for the year having been completed, except for the US Youth Soccer National Championship and the US Soccer Development Academy National Finals, we will be unveiling our final updates for each age group this month. With some very minor tweaking based on the aforementioned competitions, will publish our final standings for each age group by August 1, and will begin updates for 2012-2013 in September.
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With the ECNL season culminating with the National Finals just a few days ago, Slammers take over our #1 spot with an outstanding run through the championship. Winning the battle in each of their four games of the playoffs, with a thrilling come-from-way-behind victory in the final, and finishing the regular season in 1st place in the National Flight A standings, Slammers showed they have what it takes to be the top team in the country at the end of 2011-12. KCFC fought hard in the semifinal under blistering conditions, but weren’t able to overtake the Slammers and therefore end the season at #2, instead of #1.
MVLA Lightning is the lone team in the top five whose season has not yet ended. The Lightning, our #3, will play in the US Youth Soccer National Championship which begins July 25 in Rock Hill, SC.
Dallas Sting climbs straight up the rankings to finish in our fourth spot this season. The Sting has had a steady move up in our rankings as well as the ECNL Flight A standings, and reached the ECNL National final only to squander a 2-0 lead and fall to Slammers in overtime. PDA’s consistency keeps them in 5th position to finish the year. After consistent play throughout the final weeks of the season, PDA hung tough in the National Finals and finished as a semifinalist.
CASL didn’t have any trouble with cobwebs last week (see last month’s prediction), and were even able to hold record-breaking U17 WNT goal-scorer Summer Green to a single talley in the final, but it took PK’s to secure that ECNL National Champion title and remain our #1.
Barring a shaky performance at the US Youth National Championships at the end of this month, our #2 should remain Legends FC Breakaway, who recently won the US Youth Soccer Region IV Championship. The Region IV title was just a bonus considering they already qualified for the US Youth Nationals via their 1st place finish in the US Youth Soccer National League.
Michigan Hawks were the surprise team of the ECNL tournament. Looking at the team’s seeding going into the finals, a finish as runner up in the National Finals seemed difficult, but once the tournament started, they turned it up a notch and ended as our 3rd ranked team. Eclipse Select drops from #2 to #4 only because of the outstanding play of the teams above them, and Dallas Sting remains in the fifth spot to end the season.
Michigan Hawks put an exclamation point on their season with a resounding 4-0 defeat of Slammers for the final youth soccer game for much of this team. FC Penn Strikers, which did not compete in the ECNL, are headed to the US Youth Soccer National Championships after winning the US Youth Soccer National League and the Region I Championship, and remain in our #2 spot.
Slammers climb to #3 after their run at the ECNL National Finals, while Dallas Texans ended the season without a national championship under their belt this year, even though they were the National Flight A champions, and fall to #4. Solar’s semifinal performance helped them climb into the top five.
Next Thursday: U13, U14, and U15 Boys
TeamRank is the comprehensive team-ranking system devised by TopDrawerSoccer.com to provide an objective and common-sense approach to determining which elite youth soccer teams are the best in the nation.
The rankings, updated monthly, are primarily results-based, with a nod toward the league and championship competitions that emulate how excellence is determined in leading soccer nations around the world.
Tournaments are also included but at a reduced value due to the many mitigating factors involving such events, including attrition and guest players.
A final layer of executive evaluation is provided to account for variables that often impact results, thus ensuring that the monthly lists are not subjective, but are not purely mechanical.