News and Announcements
This week three Team Chicago Academy teams will be traveling to the Raleigh, NC area to compete in a national event. U18 Team Chicago Academy-Botafogo will open its USYS National League play with 4 games at Gillette Park in Wilson, NC while U17 Team Chicago Academy-Santos and U16 Team Chicago Academy-Internacional will be showcasing themselves at the prestigious CASL College Showcase in front of hundreds of college coaches from all over the U.S. and Canada at the WRAL Complex in Raleigh, NC.
Here is the USYS preview of the U18 National League age group:
2012-2013 National League Preview | Under-18 Girls
Central Valley Chilipeppers (CA-N) CUP Crew Jrs Gold 94/95 (OH-S) Herndon Firecats (VA) Kings Hammer Academy Red (OH-S) Legends FC 94 (CA-S) Lou Fusz Wipke (MO) Michigan FC 95 (MI) SDFC Lynx (NJ)
Albion SC White (CA-S) Blast FC (OH-S) Empire Revolution Academy (NY-W) North Shore United Blue (WI) Players SC (NV) SCFC 95 Premier (S-TX) Team Chicago Academy Botafogo (IL) VSA Heat Blue (VA)
Last year’s National Championship finalists head each division of the Under-18 Girls as Legends FC (CA-S) claimed the division title last season with a 5-0-2 record ahead of VSA Heat Blue (VA), who finished 4-0-3 after the two drew 0-0 in league play. Both advanced to the National Championship game, VSA as Region I Champions, where VSA exacted revenge with a ruthless 6-0 victory in which Legends simply couldn’t get their feet under them. Last year’s divisional runner-up and Region II semifinalist Michigan FC, Lou Fusz Wipke (MO), formerly JB Marine Wipke, and Herndon Firecats (VA) will challenge Legends for the Blue Division. League newcomer and Region II Champion Team Chicago Botafogo (IL), Region II finalist North Shore United (WI) and Blast FC (OH-S) should push VSA for the Red title.
“We’re really excited about going down to Raleigh,” said VSA Heat Blue Head Coach Steve Smith.
“You definitely play the best teams from the country, so I think there’s a standard and to get into the League is extremely difficult. I think it’s important that each team earns their spot.”
Smith stressed the importance of competing in the National League as part of their successful run at the National Championships and having 16 players committed to play NCAA Division I college soccer.
“I think the biggest thing is we want to play the best competition, and obviously the National League provides that. We want to give the girls an environment where they can prepare themselves to play at the next level at college.”
“You get to compete against the best players around the country in the National League, and I think that really brings out the best in the girls and in our team. Every game last year, we were close, and the girls had to be really focused mentally and physically to do their job. I think National League really prepared us for when we went to the National Championship last summer.”
“To get back to the National Championships? I think it’d be the culmination of everything, it’d be huge. When we came together to start training for the season, the girls said that their goal was to get to Nationals. They’re very focused, so I think it would be the icing on the cake.”
It’s not hard to find out where VSA’s success starts. During the 11-12 National League season, VSA conceded just three goals while scoring just eight en route to an undefeated second place finish. VSS advanced to the National Championships as Region I Champions, where West Virginia commit Daniela Neves led all scorers with four. At Nationals, the team shutout all four opponents and exploded for 14 goals in four games. James Madison commit Ashley Herndon led all scorers in South Carolina with four, while Christina Corbin (Coastal Carolina) added two and eight other players added a goal. Awarded for winning the National Championship without being scored on, defender Megan Cox (James Madison) was awarded the Golden Ball while keeper Taylor Kerxton (Wake Forest) won Golden Glove. Vanessa Kovar (South Carolina) was also named to the Best XI team.
“I think the goal is to try to get one of the two berths to Nationals. We want to finish in the top two,” said Smith. "We know we’ve got a big target on our back being the champs from this past summer, so we’re going to have to stay healthy and make sure we come out with our best game every time. It gives us a lot of motivation to get back out to National Championships in July.
“Nationals was top-class, well run. The best event I’ve ever been to. The venue was amazing, the banquet was top-class, it was a once in a lifetime experience for myself and all the girls on the team.”
Knowing they had to win out in Las Vegas last season to clinch the division, Legends FC ran off three victories to cap the second best goal total in league history with 22 scored, 3.14 per game. National’s Best XI honoree Ally Moon led the team with five goals during the National League season, tied for second best in the age group, and Seattle Univ. commit Emily Castellano added four. Best XI player MeiLessah Rangel led the team with two goals at Nationals.
Michigan FC was just two points away from a division crown last year and fell short of the National Championships as they were ousted in the Region II Championship semifinals by Team Chicago. Michigan will try to put the heat on Legends in the Blue Division, and they’ll need the services of Ava Doetsch (Nebraska – Omaha) and Vija Veinbergs to get over the hump. Doetsch led the team and finished second in scoring at Regionals with four goals, while
Veinbergs led the team last season with four scored.
Region II Champion Team Chicago Academy-Botafogo dropped a 2-1 decision in their last preliminary game of the National Championships which left them out of the title game. Botafogo is loaded with future college talent that includes players headed to the ACC, Big 10, Big East, Pac-12 and SEC conferences. Miami (Fla.) commit Gianna Dal Pozzo led her team in scoring at Nationals with two goals, while U.S. National Team pool member Zoe Swift (Kentucky) led all scorers at Regionals with five. Ashley Handwork (Marquette) and Bryce Banuelos (West Virginia) also contributed three goals each in the Region II run. Despite all the talent, no Team Chicago players were named to the Best XI team at Nationals, but U.S. National Team pool members Jenna Romano (Wake Forest) and Zoey Goralski (UCLA) will also play big roles.
“The National League has really made it a competitive environment for our girls. They know when they step on the field they’re going to have to bring their best game, otherwise we’re not going to be successful,” said Smith. “Every game is a tough one, and I think that’s the important part of it, being able to compete and knowing that that’s going to transfer to when they go to college.”
More Players to Watch:
Rose Lavelle (CUP Crew Jrs): Region II ODP player and Wisconsin commit
Kelly Neeb (CUP Crew Jrs): Region II ODP player and Auburn commit
Haley Gribler (CUP Crew Jrs): Region II ODP player and Lee Univ. commit
Brenna Mason (Empire Revolution): Region I ODP player and Colgate commit
Jade Klump (Lou Fusz): Region II ODP player and Kentucky commit
Melanie Donaldson (Lou Fusz): Region II ODP player and Missouri commit
Team Chicago Academy-Santos clinched the MRL First Division Green title and promotion to the 2013 MRL Premier Division with two convincing 4-0 victories at home this past weekend. With the two wins Santos also finished with a perfect 7-0 record and 21 goals for and 2 goals against.
Co-Captain Kaela Leskovar led the way with a brace in both games as FC Milwaukee and Croatian Eagles both were easily dismissed by a dominant Santos squad. Co-Captain Kristen Brots had a brace in the Saturday game while Heather Handwork and Hannah Rodgers rounded out the scoring. GKs Courtney Keefer and Abbey Fuster recorded the two shutouts behind an exceptional defensive unit consisting of AJ Jakuszewski, Rachael Brots, Talise Romain, Kelsey Pruett, and Abbey Mazur who had an impressive .29 goal-against-average for the MRL season.
Overall this Fall’s MRL season has been a huge success for the Team Chicago Academy teams with Botafogo winning its second consecutive MRL Premier Division title and a berth into the USYS Region II Championships, and both the Eagles in the U14 Boys Division and Brasilia in the U14 Girls Division having outstanding first seasons in MRL. Overall Team Chicago Academy teams had a combined 24-4-4 record with 90 goals for and 24 goals against for the season. In addition to this, Cruzeiro breezed through the U13 Girls MRL qualification and will be participating in the MRL this upcoming Spring.
Great job everyone!!!
Team Chicago Academy-Botafogo accepted into
2012-2013 US Youth Soccer National League
Top 4 finishers per age group advance to National Championships
Aurora, IL (11/6/2012) – Team Chicago Academy-Botafogo is proud to announce its acceptance as one of 16 teams in the country to compete in the Under-18 US Youth Soccer National League. The National League, entering into its sixth season, is for the top club teams in the Under-15 through Under-18 Boys and Girls age groups, with each team having an individual proven track record of continued success in US Youth Soccer programs. The top 16 teams from throughout the country were chosen to participate in each age group for the 2012-2013 season.
Beginning in 2012-2013, the National League has been awarded two additional entries per age group to the oldest and most prestigious national championship competition, the US Youth Soccer National Championships, giving the league a total of four slots per gender age group. The four National League representatives will join the four Regional Champions for a total of eight qualifiers per age group at the National Championships.
In 2011-2012, 25 of a possible 44 slots in the US Youth Soccer National Championships were taken by National League teams; 12 teams earned automatic berths via winning their National League division, while 15 National League teams won their respective US Youth Soccer Regional Championships. During the 2012 National Championships, National League teams claimed 12 of a possible 16 spots in the championship finals, with seven earning the National Championship.
The 2012-2013 National League field includes 31 of 44 teams that qualified for the 2012 National Championships, 14 of the 16 finalists and seven of eight champions. Three boys teams were also crowned Dallas Cup champions in 2012.
“The US Youth Soccer National League continues to provide the top competition for boys and girls in the country as each team must prove itself to gain entry into the league,” said Paul Luchowski, National League commissioner. “In 2012-2013, the National League gains an additional two entries per age group to the US Youth Soccer National Championships because of the level of play and the quality of the teams in the National League.”
The 2012-2013 National League will consist of 30 of the 55 US Youth Soccer State Associations, from Region I (East): Eastern New York, Eastern Pennsylvania, Maryland, Pennsylvania West, New Jersey, New York West and Virginia; from Region II (Midwest): Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio North, Ohio South and Wisconsin; from Region III (South): Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, North Texas, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Texas and Tennessee; from Region IV (West): Arizona, California North, California South, Colorado, Nevada and Washington.
2012-2013 US Youth Soccer National League Teams [link]
The National League is an extension of the highly successful US Youth Soccer Regional Leagues [US Youth Soccer Region I (East) Premier League, Midwest Regional League, Region III (South) Premier League and Far West Regional League] in which the top teams are eligible to continue the path of success into the National League where the ultimate prize is qualifying for the prestigious US Youth Soccer National Championships.
The seven game season will begin in Wilson, N.C., alongside the CASL Showcase with the boys playing Nov. 15-18 and girls Nov. 29-Dec. 2. Teams will participate in one of two other locations, the first being in Orlando, Fla., alongside the Disney Soccer Showcase, Dec. 27-29 for the boys and Dec. 31-Jan. 2 for the girls. The final play date will combine boys and girls in Las Vegas, March 15-17, and be held in conjunction with the Player’s College Showcase. In 2011-2012, no division titles were clinched prior to the final weekend of play. The complete schedule will be announced on USYouthSoccer.org in mid-September.
With two additional slots awarded to the National Championships, the top four finishers from each gender age group, Under-15 through Under-18, will earn a spot to the 2013 US Youth Soccer National Championships along with the four US Youth Soccer Regional Champions.
The national championships are the culmination of the US Youth Soccer National Championship Series where the nation’s champions are crowned in six age groups for boys and girls.
Since its inception, National League teams have captured a combined 20 national championships. In 2008, seven of the eight championship finals slots in the Under-15 and 16 age groups were won by National League teams, which resulted in the League’s first four national championships. The League notched four more National Championship titles in 2009 including the Under-15 Boys and Girls, as well as Under-16 Boys and Under-17 Girls. At the 2010 National Championships, League participants took home titles in the Under-15 Boys and Under-17 Girls age groups. In 2011, eight National League teams advanced to the National Championship game and claimed three more national titles. And in 2012, 16 league teams qualified for the national final, with seven taking home national championships. For a list of past National League champions and history, click here.
As is the case with the US Youth Soccer National Championship Series events and the US Youth Soccer Olympic Development Program, the National League creates another significant opportunity for the nation’s collegiate, professional and national team staffs to see players in an environment of meaningful play.
About US Youth Soccer National League – Formed in 2007, the US Youth Soccer National League was developed as a path of advancement for the top teams from the US Youth Soccer Regional Leagues. In addition to meaningful matches, development and identification, the league created a direct path to the annual US Youth Soccer National Championships. League play features the Under-15, Under-16, Under-17 and Under-18 age groups for boys and girls who are seeking to advance their college, professional and U.S. National Team aspirations. Learn more at USYouthSoccer.org/National_League/.
About the United States Youth Soccer Association (US Youth Soccer) – US Youth Soccer – “The Game for ALL Kids!®” is the largest youth sports organization in the country and largest member of the United States Soccer Federation, the governing body of soccer in the United States. US Youth Soccer registers more than 3 million players annually, ages 5 to 19, and over 900,000 administrators, coaches and volunteers in 55 member State Associations. US Youth Soccer programs provide a fun, safe and healthy environment for players at every level of the game. For more information, visit www.USYouthSoccer.org.
Last night Team Chicago Academy-Eagles played their final MRL game of the fall season. Due to injuries and illness, they were forced to play with just eleven players and no subs against a very tough Chicago Fire side.
Committing to strong team play and extremely solid team defending, the Eagles held off relentless offensive pressure from the Fire to keep the score level through 65 minutes. Unfortunately, the Chicago Fire got a lucky breakthrough in the closing minutes of the game to win 1-0.
This was just the second loss for the Eagles through 9 games in their first season in the MRL after a series of very strong performance. Eagles finished 5th with 15 points and 26 goals for and 11 goals against.
Great job boys!!!
Team Chicago Academy-Santos outside back Kelsey Pruett has accepted a great scholarship offer to continue her soccer career at Ferris State University in Big Rapids, MI. Kelsey, who plays her prep soccer at Plainfield South H.S., will be part of Head Coach Matt Kellogg’s 2014 recruiting class.
The Bulldogs are members of the elite Division II Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) with national powerhouse Grand Valley State University.