Two Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer teams competed at the 2014 US Youth Soccer National Championships in Maryland, July 22-27.
In its fourth National Championships, Lehigh Valley United 95 (PA-E) earned its first trip out of the group stage thanks to a 2-1 win against Scottsdale 96 Blackhawks Burke (AZ) on Wednesday. Colten Habecker gave LVU a 28th-minute lead, and Colby Thomas made it 2-0 with a goal in the 65th minute. Scottsdale made it close when Nicolas Harguindeguy beat the keeper in the 77th minute, but LVU held on for the 2-1 win.
Santa Barbara FC White (CA-S) made good on its first trip to Nationals by winning the Under-18 Boys National Championship title with a 3-0 victory over Lehigh Valley United 95 (PA-E). Santa Barbara pulled ahead early after Geoffrey Acheampong scored on a well-placed penalty kick. The California side led 1-0 into halftime thanks to a couple key saves from Santa Barbara keeper Robert Soto. Santa Barbara pulled away when Miguel Padron volleyed a cross to the back post, and Abu Danladi sealed the win minutes later by sliding his shot past the keeper in one-on-one situation. Santa Barbara’s defense held on for the shutout to become the Under-18 Boys National Champions.
Strong defense through four games helped Lehigh Valley United 95 (PA-E) advance to the Under-18 final, as it recorded a clean sheet Saturday against Santa Clara Sporting 95 (CA-N). The Pennsylvania side broke through in the 23rd minute, as Jordon Ellison beat the keeper to give his side a first-half lead. LVU withstood the pressure from Santa Clara and eventually added an insurance goal when Colby Thomas found the back of the net in the 72nd minute. The 2-0 win puts LVU in its first championship final after three previous trips to Nationals.
YMS Premier Xplosion 98 earned a spot in the U-15 Girls semifinal after defeating Alliance Academy 99 Black (MI) 3-1. The scoring began when Murphy Agnew scored for YMS in the 13th minute, and the goal held up until halftime. At the start of the second half a foul in the box prompted Sadie Misiewicz to go up for a penalty kick and she recovered for Alliance in the 43rd minute. YMS Premier’s Murphy Agnew kept focused and she scored a second goal in the 66th minute for the lead. Andrea Amaro added an insurance goal in the 76th minute for YMS’s win. YMS enters the semifinal with no losses and looks to keep that streak alive against Pride Predators 99 (CO) on Saturday.
YMS Premier Xplosion 98 (PA-E) defeated Pride Predators 99 (CO) in overtime to move on to the Under-15 Girls final. YMS came back from being down a goal, after Pride Predators forward Brianna Alger scored in the 20th minute. Caroline Foley leveled the match in the 38th minute, and the 1-1 score continued through the second half to the final whistle. In overtime Julia Lindsey broke the tie in the 104th minute and gave YMS the win and a chance at the title Sunday versus Jacksonville FC Elite (FL).
Jacksonville FC 98/99 Elite (FL) took home the Under-15 Girls championship after defeating YMS Premier Xplosion 98 (PA-E) 1-0. Sophia Thompson scored for the lone goal for Jacksonville in the 64th minute and their backline protected the tally for the remainder of the match to win. Jacksonville FC was undefeated in all five tournament matches.