GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (Nov. 17, 2021) — The US Youth Soccer Midwest Conference Girls Club vs. Club Divisions wrapped up their season this past weekend by playing unique Regional Wildcard Playoff Games. These playoff games are played between the winner of each bracket in the Girls Club vs. Club Divisions in the Fall 2021 season to determine which team clinches a berth to the 2022 USYS Midwest Regional Championships in Westfield, Ind.
The spots in the Regional Wildcard Playoff game went to the highest-placed non-State Cup winner in each Club vs. Club bracket, and the team with the better record in the standings hosted the one-off playoff game.
Recap of the action from the Regional Wildcard Playoff games from the Girls Club vs. Club:
- Evolution SC 07 Girls Mercurial (IL) scored two second-half goals to defeat Libertyville FC 1974 Elite-07 Girls (IL) on Thursday night in the 15U Girls Playoff. Peyton Rohn got the hosts on the board with a goal in the 48th minute, and Grace Rodakowski added an insurance goal 20 minutes later to clinch a spot at the 2022 Midwest Regional Championships.
- The following night saw Libertyville FC 1974 Elite 06 Girls (IL) book their ticket to Westfield with a 2-1 victory over Rockford Raptors FC Girls 06 (IL). Isabel Caesar got the scoring started for Libertyville FC in the 25th minute, and the lead doubled in the 57th minute thanks to Piper Lucier. Juliana Sather scored for Rockford with 17 minutes remaining to cut into the Libertyville lead, but the hosts held on to advance to Regionals.
- Madison 56ers 2003/2004 Girls Red (WI) also advanced to Westfield thanks to its 4-2 win over Rockford Raptors FC Girls 03 (IL) on Saturday. The Wisconsin side led at halftime thanks to a goal from Lexis Savola before two goals in the space of five second-half minutes from Katelyn Fishnick extended the lead. Rockford Raptors FC got on the board thanks to a goal from Breanna Culver, but a fourth goal for the hosts from Grace Breuchel restored the three-goal lead before Culver got her second of the game five minutes from time.
- North Shore United 2005 Girls Blue (WI) advanced to the 2022 Midwest Regional Championships thanks to a 3-1 win over Legends 2005 Girls Black (MI) on Saturday. A first-half brace from North Shore’s Mary Stroebel and a goal from Legends’ Rhianna Schermerhorn had North Shore United up 2-1 at halftime. Alexa Pettit restored the hosts’ two-goal lead with a strike in the 66th minute to cap the 3-1 win.
- A goal in the opening minute from Molly Pistorius set the tone for Chicago FC United Girls 2004 Pre-Academy Red (IL), as it won, 4-2, against LFA Nabours Blue 2004G (MO) to punch its ticket to Westfield. A goal each from Riley Schimanski and Ashley Sawa gave the Illinois side a 3-0 halftime lead. Alyssa Cozzoni dispatched a penalty for Lou Fusz Athletic shortly after halftime before Pistorius scored her second of the night to restore the three-goal lead. Cozzoni scored a second goal for herself to cut the deficit to two goals, but Chicago FC United held on to advance to the Midwest Regional Championships.
What they’re saying:
The Club vs. Club Division is unique within the USYS National League structure in that a club fields a team in every age group between 15U and 19U, going toe-to-toe against an opposing club’s five teams in one day.
“Being in the Midwest Conference Club vs. Club has been very valuable to the team and club. The girls faced high quality competition all season, which prepared them for the Regional Wildcard Playoff game,” said Brian Feyrer, coach of Madison 56ers 2003/2004 Girls Red (WI). “Club vs. Club provides good, consistent competition. Every team is well coached and has dangerous players that can hurt you if you lose focus for a moment.”
The same benefits were echoed by Mark Ward, coach of Evolution SC 07 Girls Mercurial (IL).
“The level of competition is very high so every game creates a new challenge for our players,” Ward said. “Having the ability for our players and coaches to support each other on game days is a huge benefit and helps us all learn from each other.”
The advancement to the Midwest Regional Championships is the reward for successful seasons in Club vs. Club Divisions, offering the teams another avenue to the competition outside of their State Cup.
Some teams have experienced the excitement of advancing to the Midwest Regional Championships, while others are looking forward to putting their skills and experience on display at the competition for the first time.
“This is a very hard-working and focused group, and they showed tremendous improvements from the beginning of the season,” said Feyrer of Madison 56ers, who will hope to finish their youth soccer careers on a high this summer. “They’ve been in the Wisconsin State Cup semifinals or finals every year since 13U, but they’ve unfortunately never won a State Cup and advanced to Regionals, so they were very excited when the final whistle blew.”
“Our team is very excited to make the 2022 US Youth Soccer Midwest Regional Championships again,” said Tom Holevas, coach of Libertyville FC 1974 Elite-06 Girls (IL). “The girls took a major step last year in advancing to the finals of the 2021 Midwest Regional Championships. They really wanted that experience again.”
The Midwest Conference is one of 13 Conferences in the National League, and it consists of teams primarily from Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan, Missouri, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota.
To follow the Midwest Conference results and standings, click here.
Click here for more information on the Midwest 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.