LAS VEGAS, Nevada (March 25, 2012)– The US Youth Soccer National League Under-15, Under-16 and Under-17 Boys and Girls, and Under-18 Boys completed their third and final day of matches today at the Bettye Wilson Soccer Complex in Las Vegas, held in conjunction with the Players Showcase.
Other than the Under-18 Girls, who completed league play in Orlando at the end of December, the rest of the 14 division titles had to wait until the final weekend in Las Vegas to be decided, including five divisions coming down to the final day of play. Division champions in the Under-15 through Under-17 Boys and Girls age groups earned a place at this summer’s US Youth Soccer National Championships, and first and second place finishers earned automatic qualification to compete in the league again next season.
With so much on the line, games in Las Vegas carried significant meaning toward the outcome of the season.
As a club, Legends FC of Southern California finished the season in unprecedented fashion, as all four Legends girls teams that qualified for the league won their division title.
In the five year history of the National League, only one club had won more than one National League title in the same season.
The Dallas Texans have won multiple league titles in the same year three different times, but only once did they win more than one in the same gender.
The Texans won U-15 Girls and U-16 Boys in 07-08, the U-16 and U-17 Girls and U-16 Boys in 08-09 and the U-16 Girls and U-17 Boys last season.
This season, Legends FC won U-15, U-16 and both U-17 championships.
Under-16 Legends FC 95 were the second team from the club to clinch a title, and the first of three on the final day. They were locked in a heated race with 2011 National Championships participant Match Fit Chelsea Beat (NJ) that came down to the last game of the season.
“All seven games could have gone either way, every game was a battle. In Atlanta, we came back from being down 2-0 to win in extra time 3-2, we won yesterday in the 80th minute, so there was never a game thinking we were going to win. We were in a battle all seven games,” said U-16 Head Coach John King. “Being able to put together seven games during the whole league is amazing. This team is a bunch of warriors and I think it’s special because it’s not easy to put together seven games in this league. So, for them to do this, and to finish on top, is amazing.
“I don’t think (the players) get it yet. They’re going to walk away and they’ll start thinking about it and it’s going to hit them because we didn’t come in thinking we were going to win it. We came in to compete and do our best. To walk away today going to the National Championships is amazing. It’s very exciting because they definitely deserve it.”
2011-2012 National League Champions
U-15 Blue: Kings Soccer Academy (OH-S)
U-15 Red: Legends FC 96 (CA-S)
U-16 Blue: Legends FC 95 (CA-S)*
U-16 Red: KCFC/Futura Academy (MO)
U-17 Blue: Legends FC 94 (CA-S)*
U-17 Red: Legends Breakaway (CA-S)*
U-18 Blue: FC Pennsylvania Strikers (E-PA)
U-18 Red: Toro Bravo (NE)
U-15 Blue: Chicago Magic (IL)
U-15 Red: CUP Crew Juniors Gold 96/97 (OH-S)
U-16 Blue: Scottsdale 96 Blackhawks (AZ)
U-16 Red: GSA 96 Phoenix Red (GA)
U-17 Blue: Galaxy 94/95 (IL)*
U-17 Red: Eastside FC 94 Red (WA)
U-18 Blue: Annandale United FC (VA)*
U-18 Red: Grand Rapids Crew Juniors (MI)
*clinched title Sunday
Second Place Qualifiers for 2012-2013 National League Season
U-15 Blue: Match Fit Chelsea Colchesters (NJ)
U-15 Red: Eclipse Select 96-97 (IL)
U-16 Blue: Match Fit Chelsea Beat (NJ)
U-16 Red: Internationals 95 Red (OH-N)
U-17 Blue: VSA Heat Blue (VA)
U-17 Red: Michigan FC 95 (MI)
U-15 Blue: CESA 96 Premier (SC)
U-15 Red: St. Louis Scott Gallagher Academy (MO)
U-16 Blue: OBGC Rangers (MD)
U-16 Red: Beachside SC (CT)
U-17 Blue: Albion SC White (CA-S)
U-17 Red: Raiders FC (IL)
Some highlights from today’s matches…
Legends FC 95 (CA-S) needed a win against Region IV semifinalist Beach FC 95 White (CA-S) to ensure a Blue division championship, and they got the result they needed with a 1-0 score. Taylor Greenwood netted the game winning goal in the 61st minute as the U-16’s became the second of four Legends FC teams to claim National League championships this year.
Match Fit Chelsea Beat (NJ) needed a victory over Cleveland United White (OH-N) and some help from Beach FC versus Legends, but they got neither in a 1-1 draw. However, the draw did inch Match Fit by Grand Rapids Crew Jrs. Gold (MI) for the second spot in the table, earning Match Fit an automatic spot in the league next year. Angela Spiker struck first for Cleveland in the 29th minute but Match Fit leveled just six minutes later with Alexis DellaPietro’s fourth goal of the season to return the National League in 2012-2013.
Legends Breakaway (CA-S) needed at least two wins and a draw in the final weekend to surpass Michigan FC 95, but the Region IV semifinalists left no doubt by grabbing three wins, scoring 12 goals and giving up just one, en route to the Red title. Breakaway clinched the division today with a 5-1 victory over Players SC (NV). Nicolette Martino, a Loyola Marymount commit, put Breakaway in front 32 minutes in, but Rosaura Guerrero equalized for Players eight minutes later as they headed into halftime. USC commit Tanya Samarzich put Breakaway back up for good in the 63rd as Kylie Sincox (San Diego), Samarzich and Martino added insurance goals for the second half outburst.
Not to be out-done by their Red division sisters, Legends FC 94 (CA-S) clinched the Blue division today as they ran past fellow Southern Californians Albion SC White 6-0. Just like Breakaway, Legends 94 used a second half scoring spree to deliver the title in style. Lamar commit Shavonn Johnson and MeiLessah Rangel put Legends up 2-0 at the break, and four second half goals from Johnson, Aly Moon, Yazmin Montoya and Daniela Alvarez sealed the trip to South Carolina for Legends.
Galaxy 94/95 Blue needed a victory to guarantee the Blue division crown and following the theme of the day, a second half goal surge sent them on their way to South Carolina. After going into halftime 0-0 with CUP Crew Jrs. Gold (OH-S), Galaxy scored three goals in six minutes to roll to the championship in a 3-1 win. Colin Donnally got things going with a goal in the 53rd before Patrick Flynn doubled it in the 58th and Madisen Gonzalez again in the 59th. CUP pulled a goal back in from David Janusz, but it wasn’t enough to deny Galaxy the title.
Two-time National League champ Albion SC White (CA-S) needed a result and something less from Galaxy and although they upheld their end with a 2-1 win over Annandale Knights FC (VA), Galaxy’s win meant a tie atop the standings where Galaxy won the head-to-head tiebreaker. Annandale’s Moises Lazo struck first in the 13th minute, but Dominic Chavez leveled before half and Richard Kirouac hit the winner in the 57th. Although Albion fell short of a league title this year, the second place finish qualifies them to return for next season.
Annandale United (VA) knocked off 2011 Region I champion and National Championship finalist Penn Fusion Celtic (E-PA) 2-1 to leap Lou Fusz SC Gold (MO) for the Blue crown. Radford commit Sergio Arzubiaga put Annandale in the lead in the 29th minute, but Georgetown commit Keegan Rosenberry pulled the goal back for Celtic three minutes after the restart. James Madison commit Tyler Durbin hit for the game winner in the 61st to deliver Annandale’s third victory of the weekend and a National League title.