La Roca U-16 Girls win National League Red Division in dramatic fashion
March 20, 2016, Las Vegas, NV — After a dominating performance by La Roca’s U-16 boys team the week before to win La Roca’s first-ever National League championship, La Roca’s U-16 girls faced a must-win game on the final day of National League play. Coming into the day in third place, La Roca U-16 Girls, coached by Francisco Pancho Ovalle, were behind on both points and goal differential in third place. La Roca’s two other girls teams competing in National League finished fourth and eighth in their respective divisions. La Roca’s U-17 Girls, coached by Felipe Diaz, finished strong by winning its three final group play games in Las Vegas, while Adolfo Ovalle’s U-18 Girls came away with a strong showing against elite national competition.
The 2015-16 season was an exciting one for the girls, as six division titles were decided on the final day of play. La Roca, and the other top two finishers per division earned a place at this summer’s US Youth Soccer National Championships, July 25-31 in Frisco, Texas, and several sides in the Under-14, Under-15, Under-16 and Under-17 age groups earned an automatic spot to compete in the league again next season. With so much on the line, games in Las Vegas carried significant meaning toward the outcome of the season.
Sunday Game Recap with Video at 3:58
Needing a win to book its place back at Nationals, 2015 National finalist La Roca Premier PO (UT) left no doubt with an emphatic 9-1 victory against SDFC Panthera of New Jersey in Under-16 Red Division action. U.S. Youth National Team forward Olivia Wade scored her first of two goals to give La Roca an important early lead. Hailee Atwater doubled the lead before Wade added her second tally to help La Roca to a 3-0 lead at the break. Macy Martinez netted a second-half hat trick to go along with goals from Sammie Murdock and Anna Escobedo. SDFC’s Luciana Rivera scored her side’s lone goal with a shot from distance in the 52nd minute. The win gives La Roca the group title and means La Roca has earned a chance to go to Frisco, Texas, to compete for the National Championship it came so close to winning a year ago.
Saturday Game Recap with Video at 3:50
La Roca Premier PO (UT) entered Saturday’s game needing a win to clinch the Under-16 Red Division title, but Legends FC 99 (CA-S) had other ideas. In a rematch of last year’s National Championship final, the Cal South side took an early lead on Alexandira Jaquez’s second-minute goal. La Roca created some chances to equalize, but Legends doubled its lead just two minutes after halftime when Victoria Cue hit her shot under the bar. Denae Antoine added a pair of goals in the final minutes to cap a 4-0 win for Legends. La Roca can still clinch the division with a win on Sunday, but a loss or tie will leave the Utah side outside of the top two.
Friday Game Recap with Video at 2:27
After a tight first half, La Roca Premier PO (UT) pulled away for a 4-0 win over LA Galaxy SB Elite (CA-S) in Under-16 Red Division play. The Galaxy had the best chance of the first half in the early minutes, when just Sydney Sharp got behind the La Roca back line but saw her shot hit the post and stay out. The game remained scoreless until La Roca struck twice just before the hour mark, with goals coming from Marli Niederhauser and Kendell Petersen. The Utah side added pair of late insurance goals by Sammie Murdock and Hailee Atwater to secure the 4-0 victory, which moved La Roca three points from the top two in its division.
Final Results, National League U-16 Girls
About USYSA National League
The National League is an extension of the highly successful US Youth Soccer Regional Leagues (US Youth Soccer Region I Champions League, Midwest Regional League, Southern Regional Premier League and Far West Regional League). The National League provides an avenue for teams to play in meaningful matches against top competition from across the country for continued development and opportunities for exposure at the national team, collegiate and professional levels.
National League teams earn their place in the league based on a proven track record of success in US Youth Soccer regional and national competitions and are among the nation’s best. Competing for a league title and a spot in the US Youth Soccer National Championships, each and every game will play into who represents the National League this summer in Frisco, Texas.
The National League’s alumni have gone on to prove themselves at the collegiate and professional levels, with former players competing in NCAA Division I, II and III, Major League Soccer, National Women’s Soccer League, English Premier League, the UEFA Champions League and the FIFA Women’s World Cup. The top pick in the 2016 MLS SuperDraft (Jack Harrison) and the 2016 NWSL Draft (Emily Sonnett) are both former National League players.