National League By Ali Williams
S Youth Soccer National League, entering into its fifth season, is for top Under-15 through Under-18 Boys and Girls club soccer teams, with each team having an individual proven track record of continued success in US Youth Soccer programs. In 2011-2012, the 120 teams chosen to compete in the league represent 32 of the 55 US Youth Soccer State Associations, including five teams from Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer: U-15 Boys Lehigh Valley United 96, U-16 Boys Lehigh Valley United 95, U-18 Boys Penn Fusion Celtic, U-18 Boys PSC Coppa 93 and U-18 Girls FC Penn Strikers. In 2010-2011, 22 of a possible 36 slots in the US Youth Soccer National Championships were taken by National League teams; twelve teams earned automatic berths via winning their National League division while another 10 teams won their respective US Youth Soccer Regional Championships. During the 2011 National Championships,
National League teams took eight of a possible 12 spots in the championship games, with three being named national champions. “The US Youth Soccer National League continues to prove it is the nation’s most elite competition as each team must prove itself to gain entry into the league, regardless of hometown or club affiliation,” said Paul Luchowski, National League commissioner. “Our consistently high level of play challenges teams to raise their level of play to compete for a top spot in the National League standings.” 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.
EASTERN PENNSYLVANIA YOUTH SOCCER
The first place team from division age groups Under-15 through Under-17 will earn a spot to the 2012 US Youth Soccer National Championships along with the four US Youth Soccer Regional Champions. Since its inception, National League teams have captured a combined 13 national championships. 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.
To follow the National League: www.usyouthsoccer.org/national_league
Winter 2012 Touchline