GERMANTOWN, Md. (July 23, 2014) — The 2014 US Youth Soccer National Championships, presented by the National Guard, continued Wednesday as teams competed in their second of three group round games at the Maryland SoccerPlex in Germantown, Md. It was a must-win situation for many of the teams looking to advance to this weekend's games.
With the teams having completed their second games, the stage is set for crucial games on Thursday, as the 96 sides play their final group games to solidify the group standings. The top two teams in the Under-13 and Under-19 age groups will advance to the National Championship final on Saturday, while the top two teams in each group in Under-14 through Under-18 play advance to their respective semifinals.
The high-level of play and meaningful games provide a great environment for exposure, which is why many college and National Team coaches attend the National Championships.
“It is such a large country, it is hard to turn over every stone, which is why we go to events where there is a filter process,” said April Kater, U.S. Soccer Women’s Head Development Coach and Under-14 coach. “These are the best teams for US Youth Soccer and it really helps us. We are rechecking some players and discovering some new players.”
MORE: Top girls from Day 2 | Best boys on Day 2
Kater said the competition at events like the National Championships helps uncover players who are tested and can have success at National Team camps.
“When we evaluate them and they do really well against good competition, then it is a good sign they will be able to hold their own in the camp,” Kater said. “These kids who have played in tournaments like this in the past have a huge advantage and know what to expect, know the protocol and they know the intensity level.”
All of the teams competing in Germantown earned their place in the National Championships via success in the US Youth Soccer National Championship Series or the US Youth Soccer National League.
Stories, photos and videos are available following games. Real-time scoring is available at http://championships.usyouthsoccer.org.
A few highlights from Wednesday’s matches…
Ponte Vedra SC JFC Storm (FL) thought they had a full three points against Under-14 Girls team Tophat 18 Gold (GA) thanks to a first half goal by Jessica Shapiro. Shapiro found the back of the net in the 16th minute of play and Ponte Vedra’s backline held tight until a stoppage time goal by Tophat resulted in each team getting a point. Ponte Vedra and Tophat are tied at the top of Group B standings.
Loudoun 98 Red (VA) came back from a 1-0 deficit at halftime to beat Under-15 Girls Pride Predators 99 from (CO), 3-1. Pride Predators got the first lead of the match in the 39th minute of play when Natasha Wehner positioned herself on the left side of the box and shot the ball past Loudoun’s diving keeper. Loudon remained focused and came back with the equalizer in the 46th minute when Madeline Kelsey slotted in a crossed ball. Allyson Brown got the lead for Loudoun in the 71st minute when she caught the upper 90, and McKayla Beal locked in the win in the 78th minute after beating the keeper one on one.
Alliance Academy 99 Black (MI) got a 2-0 shutout against Under-15 Girls Legends FC Sanchez (CA-S). Madison Alexander shot a goal in the 34th minute for Alliance’s lead, and Morgan Otteson secured the 2-0 win with a goal in the 49th minute.
An early goal by Elizabeth Wissman helped Under-16 Girls team Tampa Bay United 97 Premier (FL) defeat the defending National Champions Eclipse Elite Black 97/98 (IL), 1-0. Wissman got a deflection that beat the keeper in the 4th minute, and the goal held up for the remaining 76 minutes for the win.
An own goal caused Tennessee SC 16 to lose 1-0 to Under-16 Girls team Carlsbad Elite (CA-S). Both teams gave it their all in the first half but went into halftime scoreless. The own goal took place in the 51st minute and it gave Carlsbad Elite a 1-1-0 record after the second day of Nationals.
Legends FC 96 (CA-S) takes the top of standings after getting a 4-0 result against Under-17 Girls team NSA Jaguars (IL). Peyton Perea started the scoring in the 21st minute and got the lone goal of the first half. Michelle Alozie added to the score in the 63rd minute, and Perea found her second tally in the 67th minute. Jacqueline Crowther finished the match with a goal in the 88th minute.
Defending champs DMCV Sharks Elite (CA-S) got a 2-1 win against Under-17 Girls team VSA Heat Blue (VA). VSA got the first lead of the match after a Karina Lacey goal in the 18th minute. DMCV responded before halftime when Natalie Saddic got a goal in the 30th minute. Both teams kept pushing it trying to find the tiebreaker, and just three minutes before the final whistle Julianne De Armas found the back of the net for the win. DMCV takes the top of standings after today’s result.
Defending champs Cleveland United White (OH-N) were once again on fire, this time dominating Under-18 Girls team Beadling SC Thunder (PA-W) with a 5-1 victory. Beadling actually started the match with the lead after a goal by Maggie Scott in the 17th minute. Cleveland recovered with a Katherine Zalar goal in the 32nd minute, and Kelly Novac gave them the lead four minutes later. Zalar got her second goal in the 38th minute to give Cleveland a 3-1 lead at the half. Cleveland kept the momentum going in the second half and got two additional goals in the 49th and 65th minutes by Jaycie Brown and Sydney Elinsky.
The Under-14 Boys Group A is wide open after Day 2, which saw Sporting KC Academy (KS) and CSA 00 Lobos Rush Premier (TN) play to a 1-1 tie. Though Sporting had its share of possession and chances in the first hour of play, Lobos’ Kyle Heintz broke the deadlock with a 56th-minute corner kick goal. That goal nearly held up, but John Klein scored a late equalizer for Sporting as the teams finished tied at 1-1.
Scorpions SC - Boston (MA) stayed in the hunt for a semifinals berth with a 2-0 win over Raiders FC (IL). The two National League sides went back and forth for the first hour before Benjamin Bryant broke through for Scorpions in the 61st minute. Joseph Morrison added an insurance goal just four minutes later to help the Massachusetts side claim a crucial three points in the Under-14 standings.
In a matchup of the previous two National runners-up, Dix Hills Elite (NY-E) came away with a crucial 1-0 win over Sunrise Elite 97/98 (FL). The two Under-16 teams couldn’t be separated for much of the game, as it neared the conclusion still scoreless. However, James Contino received a pass from Christopher McAuliffe and chipped the Sunrise keeper in the 76th minute to help his side to a 1-0 win — giving Dix Hills four points in the standings entering the final day of group play.
Local side Under-16 Baltimore Celtic 97/98 (MD) is heading to the semifinals after a hard fought 2-1 win over FC Golden State Platinum (CA-S). Golden State picked up some momentum late in the first half when Jesus Granados hit an amazing free kick into the upper-90, but Baltimore responded immediately after the break. Keegan Kelly dribbled into the box and cut inside a defender and the keeper before calmly sliding his shot into the net. In the 64th minute, Charles Pulliam III knocked home a rebound to score what proved to be the game winner for Baltimore.
A second straight one-goal victory helped two-time National Champion Fullerton Rangers 96 White (CA-S) clinch a spot in the Under-17 semifinals. The Cal South side had its hands full with LVSA 97 Red (NV), which did well to stop the talented Fullerton attack. However, the Rangers earned a penalty kick in the 32nd minute, and David Rodriguez converted from the spot to give his team the lead. That proved to be all Fullerton needed, as it held on for the 1-0 win.
An early goal helped FC Dallas Youth 97 Premier (TX-N) to a 2-0 win over defending National Champion Smithtown Kickers SC Arsenal (NY-E) in Under-17 action. Sergio Lara put Dallas in front in the ninth minute when he found the back of the net. The Texas side held on to that narrow lead for more than an hour before Jose Benitez added an 83rd-minute insurance goal to wrap up the win.
Santa Clara Sporting 95 (CA-N) is in control of the Under-18 Boys Group B after a 4-2 win over defending National Champion West Coast FC (CA-S). Christian Gonzalez and Daniel Galvan each scored in the opening 20 minutes to give Santa Clara an early two-goal advantage. West Coast pulled a goal back in the 22nd minute when Alex Duarte found the back of the net. Bradley Bumgarner scored his second goal of the week to push Santa Clara’s lead to 3-1 before Andres Mendoza responded with a tally for the defending champions. However, West Coast couldn’t produce an equalizer and Jonah Snyder added a late goal for Santa Clara to seal the victory.
In its fourth National Championships, Lehigh Valley United 95 (PA-E) has earned its first trip out of the group stage thanks to a 2-1 win against Scottsdale 96 Blackhawks Burke (AZ) on Wednesday. Colten Habecker gave LVU a 28th-minute lead, and Colby Thomas made it 2-0 with a goal in the 65th minute. Scottsdale made it close when Nicolas Harguindeguy beat the keeper in the 77th minute, but LVU held on for the 2-1 win.