UPDATED with Video highlights below – Playing in the USYSA National League Blue bracket, the squad went 1-1-1 at the Disney Showcase, finishing the season with a 3-1-2 record. That was sufficient to guarantee a second place finish in the bracket (they are currently first) and earn a return trip to the USYSA National Championships in July. The National League consists of 15 teams (in U18 Girls) invited to play in a six or seven game season, with the top 4 squads earning a spot in the USYSA National Championships. It is a return for Wipke who last reached Nationals in 2010 as U15’s while representing JB Marine.
The final position in the League, with seeding implications for Nationals, awaits Legends FC (CA) final pair of games, to be played in mid-March, that could put them at the top of the table.
As the 2013 U18 Missouri State Cup champions, the team had already booked their trip to the Region II tournament. With the route to Nationals already established, the games will take on a different significance.
The top scorer in the U18 Girls division is Zoe Swift, with 8 for Team Chicago Botafogo who is headed for Kentucky and was being discussed as a possible U20 National Team prospect during the ESPN3 broadcast. Right behind her was Hannah Leinert (Eureka) with 6 goals (of 11 total), including the game-winner against KHA Red and the goal in their final match against Michigan that ensured the vital final point. Other game-winners were scored by Hali Long (CUP Crew) and Melanie Donaldson (SDFC Lynx) while Caroline Militello’s goal against Legends FC earned the point in the 1-1 draw.
As the girls noted via email afterwards
It was a hard fought battle and in the end we accomplished our goal to make it back to Nationals again in our final year together. The biggest reward is the opportunity to play longer with our team before we head of to college.
The girls also mentioned the book “The Training Camp” by Jon Gordon, as key to their mental preparation. From the book site, described as a parable, is this description:
Training Camp follows the story of Martin Jones, an un-drafted rookie trying to make it to the bright lights and big money of the NFL. He’s spent his whole life proving to the critics that a small guy with a big heart can succeed against all odds. After spraining his ankle in the preseason, Martin thinks his dream is lost when he happens to meet a very special coach who shares eleven life-changing lessons that keep Martin’s dream alive-and might even make him the best of the best. Whether you play sports or the piano or work with numbers, a computer or a scalpel, these lessons apply to everyone who must climb the mountain before reaching its peak.
Worth a look as well is the Positive Team Pledge, a set of rules that are intuitive when I think back on my favorite teams as well as a couple that were less pleasant.
In closing, I’ll add this tweet by goalkeeper Ali Wallner (Eureka) that her Coach/Farmer J. Ron Boschert offered his response to
— J. Ron Boschert (@RBOSCHERT) January 3, 2013
DISNEY SHOWCASE RESULTS
Monday, December 31
HERNDON YOUTH SOCCER FIRECATS – 1
LOU FUSZ SC WIPKE – 0
Tuesday, January 01
LOU FUSZ SC WIPKE – 3
SDFC LYNX – 0
A 53rd minute goal by Melanie Donaldson (IWA) proved decisive while Hannah Leinert (Eureka) scored a brace in the 76th and 78th minutes.
Wednesday, January 02
LOU FUSZ SC WIPKE – 1
MICHIGAN FOOTBALL 95 – 1
Hannah Leinert with her most important goal of the season, scored in the first half. The tie sent both squads through to the National tournament. Video highlights at 1:26 in video below.
Thursday, January 03
FC FREDERICK 94 – 0
LOU FUSZ SC WIPKE – 1
Playing in the Showcase Black consolation game, a win to conclude the regular season with no impact on National League.
|National League Blue Division|
|(MO) Lou Fusz Wipke||3||1||2||11||11||7||4|
|(MI) Michigan Football Club 95||3||1||2||11||9||5||4|
|(CA-S) Legends FC 94||3||0||1||10||10||2||8|
|(NJ) SDFC Lynx||3||2||1||10||9||9||0|
|(VA) Herndon Firecats||2||4||0||6||8||14||-6|
|(OH-S) KHA Red||1||3||0||3||7||10||-3|
|(OH-S) CUP Crew Jrs Gold 94/95||0||4||0||0||3||10||-7|
ABOUT THE NATIONAL LEAGUE
The US Youth Soccer National League competition is for the nation’s top teams in the Under-15, Under-16, Under-17 and Under-18 boys and girls age groups, consisting of a total of 16 teams per gender age group. The National League offers additional exposure to collegiate, professional and U.S. National Team coaches and offers the highest level of competition in the country as each team must earn their place in the league. National League teams continue play in their respective US Youth Soccer Regional Leagues and State Championships to complete their competitive calendar.
Teams play a seven-game schedule over two weekends, facing each team within its age group division one time. The League consists of three weekends of play per gender, with each team playing two of the three weekends.
The top two teams from each of the two divisions advances to the US Youth Soccer National Championships, the oldest and most prestigious youth soccer national championship in the country. The top four teams from each age group division also secure a spot to return to National League play the following season.