EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ – Ten teams representing EDP have clinched direct spots into this summer’s US Youth Soccer National Championships based on their performance in the recently-completed 2018-19 US Youth Soccer National League. National League action concluded earlier this month with its last round of play, which was held in Las Vegas.
On the boys’ side, six teams have now qualified for the National Championships. After winning last year’s 18U national title, Baltimore Celtic FC 00 (MD) will look to defend its trophy in the 19U division.
“Due to graduation, this group is much different than the past two years,” Baltimore Celtic 00 Head Coach Adam Mizell noted. “Having said that, our goal has not changed, and we will prepare as hard as possible to give ourselves the best chance to compete well at Nationals.”
Baltimore Celtic FC will have two teams participating at Nationals, as Baltimore Celtic Premier (16U) also qualified. Real Jersey FC (NJ), meanwhile, will return to the National Championships in the boys’ 15U bracket after finishing second last year as 14U’s. The other boys’ squads earning a spot at Nationals through the National League were Philadelphia Ukrainian Nationals 01 Black (PA) (18U), Lehigh Valley United 2000 Black (PA) (19U) and Lower Merion Soccer Club Rats (PA) (19U).
Four girls’ teams have also qualified, including 2018 National Champions SJEB Rush 02 (NJ) in the 17U division. Premier Navy 2001 (MD), a semifinalist last year, heads back to Nationals in the 18U age group, while NJ Stallions 05 Fire (NJ) (14U) and Pipeline Soccer Club 02 Pre-Academy Spirit (MD) (17U) also advanced to the National Championships by winning their divisions in the National League.
This is how each of the six boys’ teams got there:
In the boys’ 19U age group, three EDP-affiliated clubs qualified. Lehigh Valley United 2000 Black outscored its opponents 11-1 en route to a 4-1-0 record in the blue division. LSMC Rats and Baltimore Celtic SC 00, meanwhile, both advanced after finishing first and second in the red division. The Rats topped the group after winning all five of their games. Baltimore Celtic went 4-1-0, with its only loss coming to Sparta JK 00 (UT). The matchup between Rats and Baltimore Celtic was cancelled because of weather.
The other Baltimore Celtic team advancing to the National Championships is the 16U squad that allowed just three goals in five National League contests. Baltimore Celtic Premier was unbeaten in the red division, going 3-0-2.
Philadelphia Ukrainian Nationals 01 Black finished tied with Oklahoma Energy FC 01 (OK) atop the boys’ 18U white division. Both clubs posted a 3-1-1 record during the competition. Philadelphia Ukrainian advanced to the National Championships as group champion, however, on the strength of its 1-0 win over Oklahoma Energy.
After reaching the final at last year’s National Championships, Real Jersey FC has qualified again in 2019. Real Jersey led the boys’ 15U National League in goals scored (15) while conceding just twice during a 4-0-1 qualifying effort in the white division.
“Getting back to Nationals has been our main priority ever since we lost the Championship Game back in July,” Real Jersey Head Coach Jon Kopykto said. “To be able to get there through the National League this year was a step towards our ultimate goal of a National Championship.”
Here's the qualifying path for each of the four girls’ teams:
Two EDP squads advanced out of the girls’ 17U National League. SJEB Rush 02 Academy Blue, the 2018 National Champions, earned a shot to defend their title by going 6-1-0 in the red division. Pipeline 02 Pre-Academy Spirit, meanwhile, punched its ticket after scoring 23 goals during a 5-2-0 National League campaign in the blue division. Pipeline beat Rise SC 02 Elite 1 (TX) 6-2 on the final day of National League play to clinch the group by one point over fellow EDP member PSA National 02 (NJ).
NJ Stallions 05 Fire secured its spot at the National Championships on the final day of girls’ 14U National League action. The Stallions earned a 2-1 win over FC Alliance 2005 G (WV) to finish with a 4-1-2 record and 14 points, one clear of Rio Rapids 05G (NM) for the Nationals berth.
Premier Navy FC Black will look to improve on its 2018 semifinal showing in the girls’ 18U division. A dominant performance in the National League saw Premier Navy go 6-0-1 and outscore its opponents 14-1 in the black bracket.
Additional teams will have the opportunity to earn National Championships berths via the four US Youth Soccer Regional Championships in late June. The US Youth Soccer National Championships will be held in Overland Park, KS, from July 22-28.
About EDP Soccer
Founded in 1999, Elite Development Program Soccer (EDP) is one of the largest organizers of youth soccer leagues and tournaments in the U.S. EDP operates youth leagues for boys and girls ages 9-19, conducts a Futures program for players ages 7-11, and operates U20/23 men’s and women’s leagues. EDP also runs over 20 tournaments each year. One of the major priorities of EDP’s leagues and tournaments is to enable soccer players to reach their full potential, with an emphasis on attending college. More than 3,500 teams participate in EDP’s leagues and more than 170,000 players compete in EDP tournaments annually. For more information on EDP, visit www.edpsoccer.com.
About US Youth Soccer National League
The US Youth Soccer Leagues Program is for the nation’s top boys and girls, offering additional exposure to collegiate, professional and U.S. National Team coaches. The program includes the national tier called the National League, which is in its 12th year of competition in the 2018-19 season. The reimagined Leagues Program also includes a multi-state tier with a network of 13 high-level competitive conferences throughout the country. The conferences provide opportunities for qualification into the US Youth Soccer Regional Championships, as well as the following season's National League (national tier). EDP manages four conferences: the Mid Atlantic EDP Conference, New England EDP Conference, North Atlantic EDP Conference and South Atlantic EDP Conference.