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Girls powerhouses aim for national titles
by Paul Kennedy, July 26th, 2011 9:32PM

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TAGS:  u.s. youth soccer

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[U.S. YOUTH SOCCER] Girls teams from Sting and Colorado Rush (nine national championships each) and the Dallas Texans and Eclipse Select (five apiece) are all represented at the 2011 U.S. Youth Soccer National Championships that kick off Wednesday in Phoenix. For more on the girls finalists ...

(Click here for National Championships schedule.)

Girls Under-19
PDA Tsunami (NJ)
Woodbury Inf erno (MN)
Dallas Texans Red (TX-N)
Real Colorado National (CO)

PDA, the Texans and Real Colorado are all national powerhouses, but Woodbury will be the outsider in the Ross Stewart Cup. The Inferno includes players from all over the Twin Cities area and will be looking to become the first national champion girls team from Minnesota since 1992. Fourteen players return from their freshman seasons at Division I programs.

The other U-19 contenders are loaded with college players. Duke's Natasha Anasi and Avery Rape will play for the Texans, and Blue Devil teammate Meghan Thomas will compete for Real Colorado National. Other college programs represented on Real Colorado National include Colorado, Nebraska, Drake, Xavier and St. John’s.

Girls Under-18
FC Stars of Massachusetts (MA)
FC Milwaukee (WI)
Team Boca (FL)
Colorado Rush (CO)

Team Boca players all wear a No. 23 patch on their uniform in memory of teammate Melissa Bergstein, who was killed in a car accident in February.

Bergstein has been an inspiration for Team Boca, which beat Florida rival Ponte Vedra, one of the nation's top under-18 teams, in the Region III final. Natalie Punal and Tatiana Coleman led Team Boca with six goals apiece at the regionals.

Girls Under-17
FC Pennsylvania Strikers (PA-E)
Sockers FC (IL)
NASA 12 Elite II (GA)
So Cal Blues (CA-S)
St. Louis Scott Gallagher (MO)
NSA Premier Fury (IL)

NASA and NSA return to the National Championships after competing in the under-16 age group last year, while FC Pennsylvania, So Cal Blues and SLSG reached the finals as U-15s in 2009.

They all competed in the 2010-11 National League, where NSA and SLSG won their divisions to advance to the National Championships. The sixth entrant, Sockers FC, beat NSA in a shootout to win the Illinois state title.

Girls Under-16
Scorpions Elite (MA)
Michigan Hawks (MI)
Hurricane FC (OK)
Sting (TX-N)
Mustang Blast (CA-N)
Dallas Texans Red (N-TX)

Sting has three teams at the National Championships, including the U-16s, who were national champions in their age group last year, and the U-15s, who were runners-up in 2010. The Dallas club shares the girls record with Colorado Rush for the most national titles (nine).

Mustang Blast won the 2009 national championship at the U-14 level, while Hurricane FC is the only team at the National Championships that won both the National League and its regional championship.

Girls Under-15
PDA Slammers (NJ)
Eclipse Select (IL)
Sting (TX-N)
Slammers FC (CA-S)
SAC United Premier (MD)
Match Fit Chelsea Beat (NJ)

PDA Slammers got two goals apiece from Natasha Ntone Kouo and Alexandra Weyrauch to beat SAC United Premier, 4-1, in the Region I final. Another old foe for PDA is Match Fit Chelsea Beat, which it met in the New Jersey state cup final. Sting and SAC are the only teams back from the 2010 U-14 nationals.

Girls Under-14
Match Fit Chelsea Colchesters (NJ)
Eclipse Select (IL)
Sting (TX-N)
Arsenal FC (CA-S)

Match Fit, Eclipse Select and Sting are all represented in the U-15 and U-14 finals. Besides its U-14 title, Arsenal FC also won the U-13 title at the Region IV Championships.

Tuesday: boys preview.



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