Join Now | 
HomeAboutContact UsPrivacy & SecurityAdvertise
Soccer America DailySoccer World DailySpecial EditionAround The NetSoccer Business InsiderCollege Soccer ReporterYouth Soccer ReporterSoccer on TVSoccer America ClassifiedsGame Report
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalkSoccer America ConfidentialYouth Soccer InsiderWorld Cup Watch
RSS FeedsArchivesManage SubscriptionsSubscribe
Order Current IssueSubscribeManage My SubscriptionRenew My SubscriptionGift Subscription
My AccountJoin Now
Tournament CalendarCamps & AcademiesSoccer GlossaryClassifieds
Five things to follow at the National Championships
by Paul Kennedy, July 23rd, 2008 2:20AM



One of the most intriguing U.S. Youth Soccer National Championships kick off Wednesday in North Little Rock, Ark. The finals feature four defending champions, three teams with MLS ties, two Dallas girls powerhouses with a Texas-sized rivalry and a Minnesota boarding school aiming for a unique soccer-ice hockey double.

National Championships Schedule

DEFENDING CHAMPIONS. Four defending national champions return: Andromeda (U-18) and the Casa Mia Bays (U-15) defend their boys titles, while the Bloomfield Force (U-19) and So Cal Blues (U-16) look to repeat on the girls side.

Andromeda is the U-18 boys favorite after going unbeaten and untied in regional play, but Coach Oscar Borgarello is predicting a lot of close games at the nationals.

Casa Mia Bays coach Stephen Nichols goes for a hat trick. He has already won titles in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy (U-17/18) and U.S. Youth Soccer National League (U-15) and leads the Bays in their U-15 boys title defense.

Michigan doesn't sponsor a U-19 girls competition but allowed th Force to enter the regionals as it was the defending champion. Fourteen players return from last year's team. Stephanie Crawford (Michigan), Katie Walker and Kellie Walker (both Western Kentucky) were invited from the archrival Michigan Hawks to join this year's team.

The So Cal Blues are coached by Tad Bobak, the U.S. under-15 girls national team whose 30-year coaching career dates back to a stint with the NASL Los Angeles Aztecs and has won both boys and girls national title.

TEXAS-SIZED RIVALRY. The U-18 Sting is not a repeat finalist, but it might as well be. Last year, the Dallas Texans Red finished second to the Eagles and after the season they defected to the Sting along with Coach Kenny Medina, who was named the Sting's director of coaching.

The Sting's stars include Notre Dame-bound Melissa Henderson, Texas A&M sophomore Rachel Shipley and Courtney Barg.

In the U-16 age group, both the Texans (the 2007 regional champions) and Sting Royal are entered. (The Texans qualified as the U.S. Youth Soccer National League champions.)

MLS TEAMS. The growing influence of MLS's local and extended youth programs is in evidence by the presence of the U-19 Kansas City Wizards Juniors, U-15 Chicago Fire Juniors Red and U-14 Grand Rapids Crew Juniors in the boys competition.

The Wizards' entrant in the McGuire Cup consists almost entirely of local collegians.

The Fire's U-15s (different from its U-15/16 academy team) had played in the last two regionals as the Naperville Lightning.

The Grand Rapids Crew Juniors -- part of a partnership between the Grand Rapids Soccer Club and Columbus Crew -- are the first team ever from West Michigan to qualify for the National Championships.

COLLEGIANS. Current collegians are eligible to return after the school year ends to play on youth clubs in the final stages of regional and national play.

The big name in this year's National Championships is 2007 Soccer America Freshman of the Year Corben Bone, who returns with Solar, a national finalist on three prior occasions.

SCHOOLBOYS. Shattuck-St. Mary, a Minnesota boarding school, is better known for its elite hockey program, but its soccer program is attracting top talent. notably Teal Bunbury, son of former Canada international Alex Bunbury.

It is aiming for a unique U-18 double. It won the USA Hockey 18 & Under Tier I division in the spring.

Ramos leads Gunners to National Championships.

No comments yet.

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now



Recent Youth Soccer Reporter
USA to face Brazil, England and the Dutch at Nike Friendlies    
The 12th edition of the Nike International Friendlies, the annual year-end tournament for the age group ...
Sargent and Acosta shine at U.S. U-15 festival     
During a 60-player gathering in Bradenton, Fla., of U-15 boys aiming to become part of the ...
Roster: U.S. U-15 girls gather in Florida     
The U.S. U-15 girls national team convenes for the fifth and final time of 2015 with ...
U.S. U-18 boys split with Canada     
The Javier Perez-coached U.S. U-18 boys national team beat its counterparts from Canada, 3-1, before losing ...
Sixty U-15 boys called into national team camp     
U.S. U-15 boys national team coach John Hackworth has gathered 60 players for a Nov. 1-8 ...
Ashley Sanchez, 16, scores four for U.S. U-20 women    
The U.S. U-20 women's national team beat Spanish club Rayo Vallecano, 4-1, and got all four ...
U.S. U-20 women beat Atletico Madrid    
The U.S. U-20 women's national team beat Atletico Madrid, 3-0, on second-half goals by Marley Canales, ...
Rankings: Top 25 Fall High School Girls    
New Jersey's Northern Highlands leads the USA TODAY/NSCAA Super 25 girls Fall High School Rankings.
Rankings: Top 25 Fall High School Boys     
Newark's St. Benedict's Prep sits a top of the USA TODAY/NSCAA Super 25 Fall High School ...
Roster: U.S. U-20 women to prep in Spain     
The U.S. U-20 women's national team, which is preparing for December's qualifying tournament for the 2016 ...
>> Youth Soccer Reporter Archives