Memorial Day weekend is here, which can only mean one thing for the Elite Clubs National League: a trip to New Jersey.
The league’s annual event, hosted by New Jersey club soccer powerhouse PDA is one of the highlights of the year, and will welcome U15, U16 and U17 clubs with action kicking off on Saturday.
A preview of some of the top matchups is below as clubs and coaches flock to the Garden State. TopDrawerSoccer.com will be on the ground to provide coverage throughout the weekend.
Michigan Hawks wrap up their schedule with a trio of games against quality Northeast clubs FC Stars of Massachusetts, World Class FC and PDA. The Hawks have only played four times in 2015 because of high school soccer but are a solid outfit that includes Alexa Spaanstra, Camryn Evans, Natalie Viggiano, Abby Gardiner and Alexis Smith.
Illinois side Eclipse Select usually has a consistent presence at the National Event in New Jersey, and the U15 side has a pretty solid side that will wrap up its 2014-15 slate. A 10-2-3 record in its conference, Eclipse faces Connecticut FC, Continental FC Delco and Match Fit Academy.
Fellow New Jersey club Match Fit doesn’t have to travel far for this weekend’s event. Along with the meeting against a quality side like Eclipse Select, Bethesda SC and Internationals SC are also on the slate for the holiday weekend.
One of a handful of West Coast clubs making the cross-country flight to New Jersey is Slammers FC. Currently sitting atop the Southwest Conference with a record of 14-2-5 and a +31-goal difference, matches against Connecticut FC, Match Fit Academy and Colorado Rush are on the horizon.
Two other California clubs are traveling all the way for what should be one of the best matches of the weekend, as De Anza Force plays against So Cal Blues Saturday morning. Both teams boast substantial talents, as De Anza relies on an attacking axis of Samantha Tran, Kayla Fong, Luca Deza and Alexandra Auglis, to name just a few. U.S. U17 WNT standout Ashley Sanchez leads the Blues alongside Jada Talley and Isabella Bellinghausen.
The rest of the weekend is a tough, tough test for both clubs. The Blues lineup against PDA on Sunday before taking on Albertson on Monday, while De Anza get the Hawks and a meeting with PDA to wrap up the trip.
Like other age groups, a tilt between two powerhouses awaits on Saturday. Hosts PDA, which is unbeaten in its conference, has an afternoon clash against Eclipse Select, the 2014 ECNL National Champions. There’s firepower on both sides, as PDA’s scoring ace Frankie Tagliaferri (Penn State) could battle Zoe Redei, Alissa Gorzak and Foster Ignoffo. The team teams have combined for 111 goals for, 15 against, posting a total record of 28-0-1 in their respective conferences. Included on Eclipse’s trip to NJ are games against Maryland United and Slammers FC.
It’s never a surprise to see a number of quality players on a Slammers FC side, and the California outfit making the trip could have a number of impressive players in tow, should they make the trip. That includes Natalie Jacobs, Carly Malatskey, Lexington Magliarditi, Ayana Robles and Julia Bingham. Along with the final game against Eclipse, the Slammers face Crossfire Premier and the Michigan Hawks.
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