TAMPA, Fla. (Feb. 14, 2023) — Many of the top 13U and 14U Boys teams and players in the US Youth Soccer National League competed Feb. 10-13 in Tampa, Fla. The event featured teams from both National League P.R.O. and Elite 64.
The Elite 64 matches allowed players from US Youth Soccer’s top club-based league to compete against each other in unique matchups. Meanwhile, National League P.R.O. — the top team-based league in US Youth Soccer — featured games that saw league standings near their final form and teams begin to secure berths to the 2023 US Youth Soccer National Championships.
The National League P.R.O. 14U Boys age group is extremely competitive this season, as just five teams secured their place in the National Championships during play in Tampa. The remaining seventh games will determine the age group’s unclaimed seven berths to Nationals via National League P.R.O.
Two teams that clinched spots at Nationals also won their National League P.R.O. groups. Group D winner 3RSC B09 Black (WA) will represent its club for the first time at Nationals, while Rangers FC B2009 White (CA-S) will look to bring the club its third USYS National Championship.
“Coming into this weekend, we were in fourth place,” Rangers FC coach Cristian Rus said. “Winning all three games, not giving up any goals, and finishing in first place to qualify for the National Championships is a good experience for the club and for the boys. The level of competition is very good for us, and we’re really excited to play in Florida again for the National Championships.”
2023 USYS National Championships | 14U Qualifiers via National League P.R.O. (Boys)
*National League P.R.O. Group Champion
14U Boys – Group A
Juventus Miami Salihamidzic (FL)
Strikers Miami FC 2009 Elite (FL)
Sporting Columbus Boys 2009 I (OH)
14U Boys – Group D
3RSC B09 Black (WA)*
14U Boys – Group E
Rangers FC B2009 White (CA-S)*
LOOK BACK: NATIONAL LEAGUE P.R.O.
14U Group A:
North Shore United 09B Blue (WI) won its third straight NL P.R.O. game — and second in Tampa — when it knocked off Group A co-leader DUSC B2009 Blue (NY-E), 3-1, on Saturday.
DUSC was one of four teams to enter Saturday’s matches with 9 points in the group, but North Shore came out as the aggressor and went in front in the 5th minute on Carsten Calvert’s goal. The Wisconsin side doubled its lead shortly after halftime when Lazar Angelovski found the back of the net.
North Shore added an insurance goal in the 55th minute when Colton Rabe fired his shot back across goal after dribbling into the box. Jude Grbesa pulled a goal back from DUSC, but North Shore saw out the last few minutes to earn the 3-1 victory.
North Shore completed a 9-point weekend with a win on Sunday but remains 3 points back of Juventus Miami Salihamidzic (FL), Strikers Miami FC 2009 Elite (FL) and Sporting Columbus Boys 2009 I (OH), who each have 15 points. Each team has one game left to play.
14U Group B:
A matchup of top-three teams saw NL P.R.O. 14U Group B leader Team Boca 09 Boys White (FL) come back to tie third-place BVB International Academy Pittsburgh 09B Premier (PA-W), 1-1, on Saturday in Tampa.
BVB went ahead in the 13th minute, as King Carver registered the game’s first goal. The PA West side worked to build on that lead, but Team Boca managed to level the score just before halftime. After working the ball to the end line, a cut back pass found Preston Jaffa, who placed his one-touch shot into the back of the net to send the teams into the second half tied at 1-1.
The game tightened up in the second half, and neither side managed to create a second goal, as the two sides split the points with the draw.
Second-place Club Ohio 09B National (OH) also tied on Saturday to remain two points back of Team Boca, and the Ohio side won the head-to-head matchup against Team Boca on Sunday to move to the top of the group following the action in Tampa. All teams in the group have one game left to play.
14U Group C:
Barca Academy Pro Miami 09 PRO (FL) won a matchup of the co-leaders in an ultra-competitive NL P.R.O. Group C with a 3-1 victory over Oregon Premier FC 09B Academy (OR). Entering play on Sunday, seven of the eight teams in the group were still in contention for a first-place finish.
The Florida side grabbed a 20th-minute lead behind a Landon McKelvey strike, but Oregon replied through a 35th-minute Dominic Bolouri goal to level the score at 1-1.
McKelvey put Barca back in front in the 59th minute when he hit a slicing shot around the keeper and into the back of the net. He completed a hat trick later in the game with a key insurance goal that helped Barca pull away for the 3-1 win.
Barca is cemented on 12 points after playing all of its league games, but remaining 7th games will determine the eventual group winner. Seven of the teams remain within three points of top-two positions following the games in Tampa.
14U Group D:
In their final matchup of the weekend KC Legends 2009 Academy (KS) picked up its second win in Tampa, narrowly keeping Total Futbol Club 09 Gold (MD) at bay.
The Maryland side created several opportunities early on, including a 1-on-1 breakaway by Travis Meadows. Kansas City’s keeper, Ricardo Amescua-Negrete, came up big with a slide tackle just outside of the box to foil the attempt. A free kick into the Total Futbol Club box in the 44th minute bounced around until Jackson Raney was able to knock it in to give Legends the lead.
Total Futbol Club pushed to find an equalizer in the second half with multiple dangerous corners and free kicks coming up just short. The Raney goal proved to be the difference, as KC Legends defense prevailed to secure a clean sheet which allowed them to walk away with a 1-0 victory. This win provided Kansas City with a much needed 3-points to move them up to the second spot in Group D with only one game remaining.
Fueled by a defense that conceded just twice, 3RSC B09 Black (WA) won the group with a 7-0-0 record.
14U Group E:
Rangers FC B2009 White (CA-S) defeated Liverpool FCIA Ann Arbor 09B Academy (MI), 1-0, on Sunday to complete a strong weekend in Tampa that saw the Cal South side climb from fourth place to win the 14U Group E title.
An evenly played game saw each side generate some good chances in the first half. Liverpool keeper Sam Beach dropped down to save a header attempt in the 25th minute. The Michigan side nearly went up a few minutes later when Evan Alongi got on the end of a through ball, but Rangers keeper Justin Covarrubias quickly came off his line to make the save.
Dylan Rodel netted a 42nd-minute goal that put Rangers in front and proved to be the game-winner, as Rangers held on to secure the NL P.R.O. Group E title.
To view all of the standings and results from the National League P.R.O. season, click here.
LOOK BACK: ELITE 64
Two top-seeded Elite 64 teams met for the first time this season in Tampa, which produced a close, competitive match to kick off Saturday morning. Lobos Rush Elite 64 09B (9-0-0, South Conference) looked to continue its unbeaten streak as it took on Greater Libertyville Soccer Association Elite 64 09B (3-1-0, Midwest Conference).
Both teams had a high-pressure, possession-focused play style that kept the matchup action-packed. In an engaging first half, each side generated chances until the 19th minute when the ball found the back of the net in Libertyville’s favor. An Oscar Rubio goal gave the Illinois side the lead.
Lobos Rush was determined to even the score and continued creating close opportunities. However, Libertyville held firm defensively to clinch the 1-0 victory.
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Michigan Tigers FC Elite 64 10B came out guns a blazing, producing the game’s first goal through a Dame Behm strike within the 1st minute of the match. Looking to keep the momentum going, Behm capitalized on a bad defensive touch inside the box to snag his second goal 10 minutes later. Behm capped off a stunning hattrick after just 18 minutes of action when he found the back of the net once again.
With the Tigers keeper pushing high out of the box, Lobos Rush Elite 64 10B pushed with a quick counter resulting in a goal from Randy Butler in the 23rd minute to keep them in contention. The Tennessee side continued to put high pressure on the Michigan defense, forcing a clear back into Lobos’s possession just outside the 18-yard box. Brayden Cook took advantage of the Tigers’ goalkeeper being off his line and snagged a second goal for the Lobos just before the half.
However, the Lobos’ comeback attempt came up just short, as the Tigers held on for the 3-2 win to open their weekend in Tampa.
Sunday morning started with a West Coast showdown as Desert Conference, Sparta United Elite 64 09B, faced off with Pacific Conference foes Legends FC (CA) Elite 64 09B, in a high-scoring match.
Sparta United grabbed an early lead with a finish off a corner by Anders Theurer in the 2nd minute. Legends FC’s Jesse Gonzalez promptly fired back with a goal 7 minutes later off a cross by Daniel Diaz. Looking to pull ahead Sparta United’s Bassil Kurdi crashed the goal finding the back of the net off a rebounded shot in the 22nd minute. Just before the half, Logan Willis curved a corner kick just out of the keeper’s reach to give Sparta United a 3-1 advantage.
An Alan Nunez goal in the 43rd minute put Legends FC back in the game. Kien Cid replied with two goals in the 45th and 58th minute to maintain Sparta United’s lead. The California side rallied back one more time with Nunez securing a second goal in the 70th minute, but Sparta United held on to finish with a 5-3 victory.
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After dropping a close game in its first game in Tampa, Ohio Galaxies FC Elite 64 10B earned a 2-1 victory on Sunday against United Futbol Academy Elite 64 10B.
Jonah Lentz gave Ohio an early lead when he found the back of the net in the 9th minute. The game flowed from end to end, with United FA creating several chances for an equalizer. However, the combination of Ohio keepers Jackson Lewis and Reece Nesbitt helped keep the Georgia side of the scoreboard for more than an hour.
United FA, coming off a high-scoring win on Saturday, finally equalized on Julian Rodriguez-Martinez’s 61st-minute penalty kick. The Galaxies regrouped and netted a late game-winner, as Jason Addo got on the end of a cross and fired it under the bar to give Ohio the 2-1 victory.
Michigan Tigers FC Elite 64 09B and Toca FC Elite 64 09B each entered Monday’s matchup looking to complete a 3-0-0 weekend in Tampa. The two sides played a very tight game, but an early goal helped Michigan Tigers come away with a 1-0 victory.
The Tigers started off on the attack in the opening moments and broke through just five minutes into the game. After an initial shot was deflected by the keeper, Michigan’s Benjamin Booth finished into an open net to put his side in front.
The sides battled for the next goal, with each team’s best opportunity coming in the final 10 minutes. Toca nearly equalized in the 60th minute when a corner kick was headed just over the bar, and the Tigers forced Toca keeper Joshua Favreau into a nice save at the near post minutes later. Michigan held on to its narrow lead through the final minutes to earn the 1-0 victory.
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The final round of Elite 64 matches for the weekend brought two top-of-the-table teams, Liverpool FC-IA Michigan Elite 64 09B (5-0-1, Great Lakes) and United Futbol Academy Elite 64 09B (4-1-1, Southeast), together with both looking to keep their unbeaten streak in Tampa alive.
United Futbol Academy struck first courtesy of Yovany Villagomez Seratto, whose 17th-minute goal pulled UFA into a 1-0 lead. Eager to find an equalizer, Atabong Agbor-Baiyee replied with a Liverpool goal 12 minutes later.
Liverpool generated several opportunities as it looked to grab its first lead of the game. Despite sustained pressure in the attacking third, the Michigan side couldn’t find a second goal. With one of its few second-half chances, UFA regained the lead when Damian Barcenas sent in a rocket shot in the 67th minute that proved to be the difference.
To view all of the results from the Elite 64 action in Tampa, click here.
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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.