ROUND ROCK, Texas (Nov. 8, 2022) — Many of the top 13U and 14U Girls teams and players in the US Youth Soccer National League competed Nov. 4-7 in Round Rock, Texas. The event featured teams from both National League P.R.O. and Elite 64.
The National League P.R.O. games all counted toward league standings, as teams began their pursuits of top-of-the-table finishes that can result in direct advancement to the 2023 USYS National Championships. Combined with the excitement of top talent from Elite 64 clubs matching up during the weekend, National League Round Rock provided a great atmosphere for youth soccer.
Defending USYS National Champions KC Legends Academy Red 09 (KS) came away with three wins to begin their National League P.R.O. campaign, including a last-minute comeback in its second match in Round Rock.
“I had a coach come up to me right afterward and said, ‘I can see why they were champs because they never quit,’” KC Legends Academy Red 09 (KS) coach Matthew Iverson said. “Even just the camaraderie of the relationships you form with these other groups and the mutual respect — I love this environment. It’s challenging for the girls. It’s competitive, but a healthy competition between all of us as coaches and clubs.”
LOOK BACK: NATIONAL LEAGUE P.R.O.
14U Group A:
– Solar 09G FDL Grado/Colvin (TX-N) left Round Rock atop the group after winning two of its three games. The North Texas side used a strong offense to propel its hot start, tallying seven goals during the opening games. They’ll look to hold off a bevy of teams with five points, including PPA 2009 Green Girls (MD), Lonestar 09G FDL (TX-S), and Wasatch SC 09G PO (UT).
“The competition has been great,” Wasatch coach Pat Otte said after three days of play. “We came here not knowing what to expect because these are all new teams for us. Every single game we’ve played this weekend has been extremely competitive.”
14U Group B:
– BC United 09G (NYW) and PA Dominion 09 Girls (PA-E) went unblemished in their first three games, with both teams showcasing strong defenses as they only gave up one goal apiece.
– Cook Inlet SC 09G Elite (AK), the first Alaska team to play in NL P.R.O., came away with its first win during the opening stretch of games, a 7-1 defeat of FC Dallas Youth 09G Central (TX-N). Cook Inlet went unbeaten in Texas, as it added two draws to that victory.
“When we had the wind to our back, we should have finished probably two or three chances, but it ended up being a tight game,” Cook Inlet coach Rich Bailey said after the team’s opening game. “That’s why we came down here — to play teams our age that would give us good competition. It’s been great.”
14U Group C:
– KCL Academy Red 2009 NL (KS), the defending 13U National Champions, picked up where they left off to start the season. The Kansas side scored 15 goals in three matches while giving up just three to position itself atop the standings. Brandon FC RSC 09G Premier (MS) matched them with three wins but sit just below off of goal differential.
14U Group D:
– Keystone FC Premier 09G (PA-E) used a total team effort to pick up three wins in three games at Round Rock. The Eastern Pennsylvania side sits alone at the top of the group but will face challengers Alliance FC 09 Academy Girls (MO), who have seven points, and Club Ohio Dayton 09G Elite (OH), who have six, in February.
LOOK BACK: ELITE 64
Recap some of the notable Elite 64 matchups that took place in Round Rock…
In a challenging matchup, Team Boca Elite 64 10G came back to claim a 2-1 win against Princeton SA Elite 64 10G in a well-played game on Saturday in Round Rock.
Princeton jumped in front in the 7th minute thanks to a Sophia Orellano goal, but Team Boca pushed back and earned an equalizer in the 20th minute. Ella Presnell took the ball on a turn just inside the attacking half and drove down the left side. Her shot was saved well by the Princeton keeper, but Kiana Sanchez hit home the rebound to tie the game.
Team Boca went ahead in the 33rd minute behind a Delfina Banegas tally, and that proved to be the game-winner, as the Florida side withstood significant Princeton pressure to secure the 2-1 win.
“We don’t get the luxury of seeing a lot of teams at this level of competition, so to come here and get that level is well worth it for the players to gain that experience,” Team Boca coach Billy Ramos said.
In two Elite 64 games in Round Rock, GTFC Impact Elite 64 09G has proved to be organized and strong defensively — coming away with two clean sheet victories. The latest win came in a very tightly contested match on Sunday, as GTFC defeated FC Westlake Elite 64 09G, 1-0.
Neither side managed to break through in the first half, despite each team generating some pressure on the opposing goal. Layla Mochon broke the deadlock with a 45th-minute goal, and that proved to be the difference between the teams.
“The competition and organization have been great for us,” GTFC coach Mike Aubry said. “It’s been really valuable for our kids to come and have a professional environment to showcase their abilities… That’s the great thing about our country — you go five states over and everything is completely different because they have different weather, ways of playing, or cultures. Getting to see all of that and having to solve different problems every game is the best part about this.”
Bayside FC Elite 64 09G defeated East County Surf Soccer Club Elite 64 09G, 3-0, on Monday in a matchup of teams that earned decisive wins during their first two days in Round Rock.
After Surf held off consistent Bayside pressure in the first half, the Rhode Island side finally broke through with a pair of excellent goals shortly after the break. In the 36th minute, Danika Denham swung in a cross behind the Surf back line and Allie Scott hit a half-volley off the inside of the right post to give Bayside the 1-0 advantage.
Just two minutes later, Sara Nencka hit a clean strike from the top of the box that flew in under the crossbar to extend Bayside’s lead to 2-0. Sophia Alves capped off the 3-0 win when she placed her 57th-minute shot inside the near post — helping Bayside finish its weekend in Round Rock with three victories and three clean sheets.
North Shore United Elite 64 10G and Team Boca Elite 64 10G each entered the weekend in first place in their respective Elite 64 league standings, and both sides put in strong showings in Round Rock. The two teams met on Monday in Round Rock and played to a scoreless draw.
The flow of the game favored North Shore, as the Wisconsin side spent much of the match in the attacking half and had a significant edge in shots on goal. However, Team Boca keeper Ava Rizzardi made several quality saves to help keep the shutout and force the tie.
“It’s a great experience for our kids to come here and play some of the best teams in the country,” North Shore coach Joe Hammes said. “There are big-time players on both sides of the ball. It was an even game, back and forth. I thought their keeper stood on her head and played amazingly. That’s what you get at this level. You get big-time players making big-time plays.”
About USYS National League P.R.O.
USYS National League P.R.O. represents the top team-based competition in the USYS National League. National League P.R.O. provides teams in the 14U-19U Boys and Girls age groups with the ability to earn their place into the league, where they have the opportunity to play against the top teams in the country while competing for berths to the USYS National Championships. For each gender, 12 teams per age group will advance to the National Championships from National League P.R.O.
About USYS National League Elite 64
USYS National League Elite 64 represents the elite club-based platform in the USYS National League. Elite 64 features year-round competition in six age groups (13U through 18/19U) for the top 64 boys clubs and top 64 girls clubs in the country. The annual competition calendar includes the league season, national showcases and the Elite 64 National Finals. Thanks to partnerships with world leaders in their respective fields, Elite 64 players have access to tools and technology to capture key information that can be shared with college coaches and professional scouts — making every game a recruitable moment.