Published: January 13, 2012
For most players, the ECNL U17 National Showcase in Florida last month was a chance to boost their team’s record heading into the New Year.
For the select few though, the Showcase represented an opportunity to leave a lasting impression on scouts heading into a World Cup Qualifying year.
Especially for the U17 age group where there are only two more Showcases before CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying begins in May.
U.S. U17 women’s national team regulars Savannah Jordan and Jane Campbell from Concorde Fire made strong statements to retain their places on the roster with noteworthy performances. The striker and goalie, respectively, led their team to a perfect record at the event.
The nine point Showcase pushed Concorde into the top eight nationally heading into the high school season for the Atlanta club.
“The key to our success in the Florida event was we played our soccer,” said Campbell. “Every game, no matter who the opponent was, we played the way Concorde plays.”
In the first game at the Showcase, Concorde Fire defeated FC Delco 4-1 thanks to two goals and an assist from Allison Wetherington. The offense output did not slow down for the rest of their stay in Florida.
Concorde crushed TSC Hurricane 5-1 in the second game and cruised to a 3-1 victory in the last game over Carmel United. Jordan finished the Showcase with four goals and one assist.
“We played as a team and never shut off,” said Campbell. “Our goal at the start of the event was to come out 3-0-0 and play great soccer and that is what we did, as a team.”
Concorde Fire was not the only team with a perfect record at the Showcase. Keith Caldwell’s Scorpions U17 side also went 3-0-0 at the event.
“I was pretty happy with the performance,” Caldwell told TopDrawerSoccer.com on Friday. “I thought each game built on the prior game. I thought the first game was a little shaky, the second game was better, and the third game was the best.”
Scorpions started the week with wins over Texas clubs Challenge SC 2-0 and Lonestar SC 2-0 before finishing up with a 2-1 win over Ohio Premier Eagles.
The perfect start to the season puts Scorpions at the top of the Flight A standings, which is used for determining the 16 teams competing for the National Championship at the end of the season.
“We set goals last week and the number one priority is to win a national championship,” said Caldwell. “I think they know we have a long way to go and they know every game we play is going to be a tough one. They have to take it one game at time, but they are pretty motivated.”
Caldwell was pleased overall with his team’s performance from the Showcase in Sanford, and he highlighted the contributions of some of his players.
“McKenzie Meehan was outstanding up top,” said Caldwell. “Now, it is to the point where she is double-teamed and marked pretty tightly, but she has done a good job dealing with that and still contributed goals.”
The coach also said that midfielder Lauren Berman, defender Kendall Andrew, and goalkeeper Bridgett Conway were stupendous for his club in Florida.
Illinois club Eclipse Select moved up to third in the national standings after a perfect display at the Showcase. Mike Nesci’s team, especially the forwards, looked comfortable in the heat with 10 goals scored and only two conceded.
The CASL Chelsea Ladies were convincing in their games from Florida too. The North Carolina side went 2-0-1 behind the stellar play of U.S. U17 midfielder Joanna Boyles, who had three goals in three games. Fellow national team member, Morgan Reid, added an assist to the offense from her normal spot along the back line.
From Flight B, FC Stars of Massachusetts strung together three wins to claim the top spot in the National Standings. In an impressive defensive performance, FC Stars only let in one goal during the Showcase.
McLean Youth Soccer also was perfect at the event among Flight B teams behind a stout defense and noteworthy play by midfielder Mario Sweatman and forward Morgan Reuther
The players will get another shot at impressing the scouts in February when the next National Showcase is held in San Antonio, Texas.