GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (June 15, 2021) — Following the Spring 2021 season of the US Youth Soccer Great Lakes Conference, 28 girls teams can plan on playing in the top league competition US Youth Soccer has to offer. Thanks to their standout performances this spring, the teams have earned automatic qualifying spots for the inaugural season of National League P.R.O.
Club Ohio (OH-S) saw two teams clinch automatic qualifying slots for National League P.R.O., with its 15U Girls team going undefeated in winning the Premier I Division and the 14U Girls side also qualifying via its high placement in its division.
“To qualify for National League P.R.O. is a significant accomplishment for our teams and club,” said Costa Kalorides, Club General Manager of Club Ohio. “The most exciting aspect of qualifying for and competing in National League P.R.O. is the opportunity to play against some of the best teams in the nation in our respective age groups. It’s extremely beneficial for the growth of our teams and the further development of our players.”
The top four finishers in the 13U and 14U Girls Premier I Divisions of the Spring 2021 season of the Great Lakes Conference are joined by the top two finishers in the Club vs. Club Division and the Premier I Divisions from the 15U-18U Girls age groups.
Cincinnati United (OH-S) saw four teams qualify for the inaugural season of National League P.R.O., courtesy of their performances in the Club vs. Club and Premier I Divisions across various age groups. The intensity of competition in those divisions will only increase thanks to the offering of automatic qualification slots for National League P.R.O.
“The opportunity to qualify for National League P.R.O. each year will make every match more meaningful,” said Scott Rodgers, Executive Director of Cincinnati United. “The Great Lakes Conference is already very competitive, and this opportunity just adds more excitement to the conference.”
National League P.R.O., which kicks off in Fall 2021, will be composed of 48 teams in each gender age group from across the country, with 12 teams coming from each region. Within each age group, teams are placed into six groups of eight, with each side competing in seven games over the course of the season. From there, 12 teams per age group advance to the USYS National Championships.
This structure provides a unique opportunity for teams and clubs to play a variety of opponents from across the country, something that Wayne Jentas, founder of Pennine SC, is looking forward to experiencing with his teams.
“We’re excited to experience competition from all corners of the country, along with the new challenges, different tactics, and climates it brings,” Jentas said. “Earning the right to play in a top-level competition such as National League P.R.O. is a reward for the hard work and consistency of the players.”
Michael Albert, Director of Coaching at GTFC Impact, shares a similar opinion regarding the great exposure National League P.R.O. offers his teams.
“We thoroughly enjoy our competition in the Great Lakes Conference and are always tested, but to have the opportunity to see and compete against new teams from all over the country is something we are really looking forward to,” Albert said. “Our team is excited to compete and put forth the best showing that we can to represent the Great Lakes Conference and qualify for the USYS National Championships.”
Click here to view the announcement of automatic qualifying slots and see all the teams that have already clinched their spot in the 2021-22 season of National League P.R.O.
To follow the Great Lakes Conference results and standings, click here.
Click here for more information on the Great Lakes Conference. For more information on all 13 of the National League Conferences, the National League Showcase Series, and National League P.R.O., click here.