As the 2013-14 season reaches its end in the month of July, we unveil the penultimate updates to Grande Sports Academy TeamRank, the comprehensive ranking system for elite club soccer teams nationwide, releasing the latest standings for U16, U17 and U18 Girls. Next week, we will update the younger age groups on the Boys side. We will unveil the final rankings for all age groups on August 1.
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Two teams that finished the regular season third in their respective conferences, De Anza Force and Vardar, narrowly missed extending the postseason with a trip to finals. De Anza nearly toppled new No. 1 San Diego Surf to qualify for a national championship run, but Nicole Carson’s goal for the draw wasn’t enough, as Surf clinched the top spot in Group H on Sunday with a 3-0 defeat of Sporting Blue Valley. De Anza’s performance was enough, however, to lift their ranking to No. 16.
Vardar, like De Anza, finished the regular season third in a difficult conference, and finished playoff weekend with a 1-0-2 record, but unlike De Anza, Vardar handed group winner and No. 10 FC Dallas its only loss on the weekend. But Vardar couldn’t get that elusive winning goal against FC Virginia or Strikers FC, its other opponents in Group B. Alas, Vardar did exceed expectations and rises to No. 17 in the Grande Sports Academy TeamRank Top 25.
Not only did the unbeatable No. 1 Dallas Sting handle their competition at playoffs with aplomb, but Dallas Texans, who finished the Texas conference just behind that No. 1 team in the nation, proved their worth, going a respectable 2-0-1 on the weekend to win Group H, including a 6-2 defeat of a highly regarded No. 17 FC Stars of Massachusetts squad. Four of the goals in that match were scored by none other than youth national team star and IMG Academy 150 Class of 2017 No. 2 Madison Haley, who plays two years up. Texans’ ranking improved as a result, up one notch from No. 3 to No. 2.
Unstoppable is not an exaggeration when describing PDA’s U18s. Last year’s ECNL champion at the U17 age group completed the repeat in June, finishing its final season undefeated and at No. 1 in our standings. Goalkeeper Heather Rolls, midfielder Rachel Corboz, and forward Lauren Jankowski all earned our praise for their efforts in the tournament.
A couple of teams in the Grande Sports Academy TeamRank Top 25 at this age group still have one tournament on the docket before saying goodbye and heading to the college ranks. No. 15 Braddock Road Elite, No. 16 Beach FC Ingrassia, and No. 21 Cleveland United White all have a chance at a US Youth Soccer national title before the end of July. BRYC and Beach FC qualified through their performances as USYS National League group winners, while Cleveland United added a second layer of qualification with a Region II championship crown last month. While BRYC and Beach FC will be rested, having not competed in their respective regional tournaments, Cleveland United is on a roll, and might just have the momentum to pull off that final win in Germantown.
Next Thursday: U13, U14, and U15 Boys
Grande Sports Academy 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.