The US Youth Soccer National League Conferences, managed by EDP Soccer, saw teams in the 13U and 14U age groups play an important weekend of games for the Fall 2020 Season on Oct. 24-25. These late-season matchups featured many top-of-the-table clashes, which could prove to be crucial in deciding division winners as the end of the season approaches.
The National League Conferences are part of each team's pursuit of a place at the 2021 US Youth Soccer Eastern Regional Championships, this season being held June 25-July 1, 2021 at Tuckahoe Turf Farms in Hammonton, N.J.
Some of the key matches in the conference over the weekend were:
USYS Mid Atlantic Conference
In the 13U Boys Premier I Division, Lehigh Valley United 2008 Black and Lower Merion SC Thunder both entered their game tied for first place with 4-0-0 records. Lehigh Valley United came away with a 3-0 win, putting them in a terrific position to win the fall season with only a few games remaining. LVU received goals from Alex Hurwitz, Selman Eris and Lincoln Fritz to power the side to the win.
“We are having a terrific experience in this year's Premier I Division of the USYS Mid Atlantic Conference, managed by EDP Soccer," LVU coach Greg Ramos said. "Games have been highly competitive while at the same time limiting travel distance during these uncertain times. These are the most important factors for us in deciding a league and USYS and EDP met those needs perfectly. Our match against Lower Merion was another great game, and we are proud to have come out on top against an extremely tough and quality opponent."
In the 14U Boys Premier I Division, PDA Hibernian Scholes entered the weekend’s match unbeaten, with five wins and one draw, needing a result against Deptford Premier FC 07. PDA Hibernian came away with the 3-0 win to set itself up with a division-deciding game against second-place PA Dominion FC next week. It will be PDA Hibernian’s last game of the season, as it currently sits four points ahead of PA Dominion, which has a game in hand.
In the 13U Girls Premier I Division, both Wall Elite Chelsea and Torpedoes SC Red entered their matchup unbeaten with four wins. The game also marked a rematch of the 2018 New Jersey State Cup final. The first half was played mostly in the midfield, as neither team created a strong scoring chance. In the second half, though, Torpedoes were able to generate a couple of chances, including a good look on goal from a corner kick and a shot that went off the crossbar in the final few minutes. Neither chance found the back of the net and the game finished in a scoreless tie.
With just a handful of games remaining in the 14U Girls Premier I Division, Keystone Athletic 2007 Black faced off against Match Fit Academy FC 2007 Shore in a must-win game to keep pace with Lower Merion Furia at the top of the table. Keystone Athletic’s game ended in a scoreless draw, while Lower Merion defeated Wall Elite Napoli, 1-0. Those results left Lower Merion sitting more comfortably at the top of the table after the weekend’s action.
USYS South Atlantic Conference
In the 13U Boys Premier I Division, St. Mary's Strikers had a crucial game against Bethesda SC Blue 08 to keep pace with Coppermine and Pipeline SC. Both teams played a balanced game with great energy and ball control. Tylan Ebert scored for St. Mary’s midway through the first half and St. Mary’s held the lead until late in the game, when a penalty kick gave Bethesda an opportunity for the equalizer. Maximos Murshed stepped up the spot and converted the attempt, leading to the game ending in a 1-1 tie.
In the 14U Boys Premier I Division, SAC/BA Pre-Academy earned a 2-0 win over Brausa 07 to close the gap with Potomac Blue 07 in the standings. Both SAC/BA and Potomac now sit level on 13 points with two games remaining for Potomac SA, which plays Brausa before a possible division-deciding match against MISC Maryland International in the last game of the season.
In the 13U Girls Premier I Division, Penn FC Youth 2008 Black had the weekend off. Penn FC is preparing for Lancaster Elite Atom in a game that could see Penn FC Youth win the fall season.
In the 14U Girls Premier I Division, Eagle FC entered the weekend at the top of the table and one point ahead of OPSA. Eagle FC was in need of a win against Maryland Rush Montgomery before facing off with OPSA next week in its final game of the season. It was a very competitive game with good scoring opportunities by both teams. After an early goal by Eagle FC, the Maryland Rush Montgomery defense and keeper showed exceptional poise by withstanding the scoring threats by Eagle FC, including a save on an Eagle FC penalty kick. The Maryland Rush Montgomery attack was able to provide the equalizer, as the game finished in a 1-1 draw.
“I am very proud of how well our team played against a formidable opponent,” said Ben Morey, coach of Maryland Rush Montgomery.
USYS New England Conference
In the 14U Boys Premier I Division, Western United Pioneers FC 07 Elite entered the game with six wins and one loss and looked to solidify its place at the top of the table against Juventus Academy Boston 2007 North Bianco with only two games remaining in the season. It was an entertaining game with several shifts in momentum in both halves and end-to-end action. Juventus North moved the ball well to start, while the Pioneers had trouble finding any real flow early on. Throughout the game, both sides created good scoring chances, but opportunities weren't taken and solid defense prevailed in an eventual scoreless draw. The Pioneers were carried by excellent performances from defensive midfielder Leo Miranda and center back Brayden Marta.
In the 14U Girls Premier I Division, New England Surf State Navy came into the weekend unbeaten and one point behind Ginga FC 2007 Elite. New England Surf State Navy took on Western United Pioneers FC 2007 Elite, which is currently in the middle of the table with a win and two draws. Surf received goals from Lindsey Edmonson and Kira Henderson, while its defense played a strong match in helping the team to a 2-0 shutout victory over Western United. The win helped New England Surf move into first place in the division.
“We played really for spells of the game with the two goals coming either side of the half and at really good defining moments of the game,” New England Surf coach Andy Prosser said. “I was really happy with our overall performance, chances created and attitude of the players. Western United Pioneers are a hard team to play against, work really well out of possession and looked dangerous on the break. Overall, it was a great game.”
USYS North Atlantic Conference
In the 13U Boys Premier I Division, Lake Grove-Newfield SC Wildlings Blue and Barca Academy Pro NY 2008 both entered the game at 3-0-0 and tied for first place. Lake Grove-Newfield won 3-0 behind goals from Logan Booth Alam, Aidan Velasquez, Jason Krol.
“Despite us getting an early goal, Barca controlled the first half. I was impressed by their ability to possess the ball,” Lake Grove-Newfield coach Matthew Mannina said. “In the second half, we got to net and produced a bunch of scoring opportunities, two of which we capitalized on. I am proud of my team for how hard they played. Much credit to our keeper John Caso and our defenders Thomas Albertina, Liam Moran, Jack Salgado and Brandon Lopez for holding them goalless."
In the 14U Boys Premier I Division, Soccer Stars and Cedar Stars Academy Hudson Valley 2007 NL both entered their matchup on six points in the standings, and part of a three-way tie for first place with Asphalt Green 2007 Green. Both teams managed to cancel each other out across all areas of the field, but a quality finish by Cedar Stars’ CJ Nicolas off a well-placed cross from Gregory Celariste gave them a 1-0 lead going into halftime. Soccer Stars United was able to equalize midway through the second half, and Cedar Stars thought they found a late winner but the goal was called back for offside. After a few more late chances, the game ended in a 1-1 tie.
In the 13U Girls Premier II Division, Rockville Centre Red Storm entered the game in first place with nine points and searched for a result against New York SC 08 Pre-Academy, as Rockville works toward promotion to Premier I this spring. Despite Rockville Centre having more of the chances, they were unable to find the back of the net and the game ended in a 0-0 draw.
“I was pleased with my team's defensive strength and willingness to compete,” Rockville Centre coach Fabricio Silva said. “We also had chances that could’ve brought the game our way.”
In the 14U Girls Premier I Division, New York Surf 07 Academy Blue came into the weekend two points clear of Force FC 2007 in the standings. Surf aimed for a win against Real Ole FC 2007 to remain undefeated and at the top of the table, and it answered the call with a 2-1 victory. Surf took the lead with a goal from Basia Czarkowska, which was quickly answered by Real Ole forward Kate Dwyer. The game-winner was scored by Jadyn Hsu on a great pass by Mia Bratti, who also assisted on the first goal. Mia Cook and Samantha Friedman solidified the Surf back line with strong defensive play.
"It was a great game today by both teams,” said Surf Coach Chris Smith. “Scoring the winning goal with 5 minutes left was a very good build up and finish. I'm proud of the effort our girls put forth."