[U.S. YOUTH SOCCER] Fourteen former champions are among the 96 teams who will play in the 2014 US Youth Soccer National Championships that begin Tuesday at the Maryland SoccerPlex in Germantown, Md.
Under-18 Boys.West Coast FC (CA-S) advanced to the National Championships as National League division champion. Nicolo D'Amato topped the goal-scoring charts in National League with six. West Coast also returns two top 10 goal scorers at the 2013 National Championship in Esen Harris and Luis Silva.
Under-17 Boys.Smithtown Arsenal, National League divisional champion with a 6-0-1 record, returns 2013 Golden Ball Award winner TJ Butzke, along with 2013 Golden Glove Award winner Noah Varonier. Fullerton Rangers White (CA-S) won national titles in 2011 and 2012 before Smithtown upset them, 1-0, on the final day of pool play. This year's first match will feature a rematch between the two teams.
Under-16 Boys.Santa Barbara SC (CA-S) has the opportunity to achieve what only four teams have done in the past: win three straight national championships.
Under-15 Boys.Pateadores San Diego (CA-S) has somewhat of a different personnel look than the team that won the 2013 U-14 age group.
Under-19 Girls.Team Chicago Academy Botafogo (IL) ended its 2013 run on top after a 2-1 overtime win over 2012 national champion VSA Heat Blue (VA) in the final. With two 2013 Best XI players returning — Jenna Romano and Gianna Dal Pozzo — Botafogo has its sights set on claiming back-to-back titles in Germantown. VSA returns two-time Golden Ball winner Meghan Cox and two-time Golden Glove winner Taylor Kerxton.
Under-18 Girls.Cleveland United White(OH-N) is back at the National Championships after winning each of its four games last year. As it did last year, Cleveland qualified for the 2014 National Championships through the National League, finishing second in the Blue Division. It also claiming the Region II championship. The under-18 age group features another former national champion in BRYC Elite (VA), which won the Under-16 crown in 2012.
Under-17 Girls.For the second straight year, DMCV Sharks (CA-S) will be heading to the National Championships thanks to a first-place finish in the National League Blue Division. Last year, DMCV had to go through 2012 national champion and Cal South rival Legends FC on the last day of group play, and needed penalty kicks to get past 2012 national finalist Kings Hammer Academy (OH-S) to win the title. Legends FC repeated as Region IV champion to clinch a spot in its third straight National Championship.
Under-16 Girls.Eclipse Elite Black (IL) returns to the National Championships after winning the 2013 title, while 2012 national champion MRM Coyotes (MD) is also back.
Under-15 Girls. Eastside FC Red (WA) defeated YMS Premier Xplosion (E-PA) in the 2013 finals and are in the same group for 2014.
Under-14 Girls. Legends FC(CA-S) comes into the 2014 National Championships as the youngest defending champ.