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Fuel Soccer Talk: US Youth Soccer National League teams set; Atlanta reaches final of US Open Cup; Check out a US Youth Soccer game

Teams announced for US Youth Soccer National League

FRISCO, Texas — US Youth Soccer is excited to announce the teams that have earned their place for the 2019-20 season of the US Youth Soccer National League, the national tier of play for its Leagues Program. The National League, entering its 13th season, is home to US Youth Soccer’s top 14U through 19U Boys and Girls teams, with each side having an individual proven track record of continued success in US Youth Soccer programs.

2019-20 US Youth Soccer National League teams 

National League competition will be held for the 14U (2006), 15U (2005), 16U (2004), 17U (2003), 18U (2002) and 19U (2001) Boys and Girls age groups. The 2019-20 season features up to 32 teams per gender in the 14U through 18U age groups and up to 16 teams per gender in the 19U age group.

The winner of each of the four divisions in the 14U through 18U age groups, as well as the top two finishers in each of the two divisions in the 19U age group, will earn an automatic berth to the 2020 US Youth Soccer National Championships, the oldest and most prestigious youth soccer national championship competition — to be held July 20-26, 2020 in Overland Park, Kan. The four National League representatives will join the four Regional Champions for a total of eight qualifiers per age group at the National Championships in the 14U through 19U divisions. Most recently in 2019 in Overland Park, Kan., National League teams won all 12 possible National Championships in those age groups.

The 2019-20 National League field features 78 of 88 teams that qualified for the 2019 National Championships in the 13U through 18U age groups, including 21 of the 24 finalists and 11 of 12 champions.

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Atlanta United blank Orlando City to reach US Open Cup final

Atlanta United defeated Orlando City 2-0 Tuesday night at Exploria Stadium in Orlando, advancing to the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup Final. United will host the championship game on Aug. 27 and will be the first Georgia-based club in the 106-year history of the tournament to reach the Final.

“Obviously, it’s an honor to advance to the Final of the US Open Cup,” Atlanta goalkeeper Brad Guzan said after the game. “It’s a storied competition, and it’s something we haven’t accomplished in Atlanta. We have a MLS Cup. We’d love to add another trophy.”

The berth to the final wouldn’t come easy for Atlanta, who were playing on short rest in a raucous environment that saw an Orlando City record crowd of 18,461 come with hopes that the purple and gold would be the club making history, advancing to their first US Open Cup Final and playing for a trophy of their own. Orlando City’s famed “Wall” of supporters pour into the stadium well over an hour prior to kickoff and chant and sing and cheer all the way to the final whistle.

It was a ringing retort to those who wonder if this competition truly “means anything.”

For Orlando, it meant everything.

Entering Tuesday night’s Open Cup contest, Orlando City were winless against Atlanta United in seven tries, posting a 0-5-2 mark that included three losses in Orlando City Stadium. It’s a sore spot for Orlando City supporters, who, with their boisterous crowds and unique supporters culture were the darlings of American soccer before their rivals from the Peach State arrived on the scene in 2017, commanding continental attention with their enormous, record-shattering home crowds and capturing hearts with their free-flowing, open, attacking style of play. As Orlando City struggled on the field, failing to qualify for the playoffs, Atlanta surged to early success, reaching the MLS playoffs in their inaugural campaign and winning MLS Cup, and with it, the city of Atlanta’s second major sports championship last year in only their second season.

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Support U.S. Youth Soccer: Locations for US Youth Soccer National League announced

The 2019-20 National League will consist of teams from 41 of the 55 US Youth Soccer State Associations. State Associations with participating teams include: Alabama, Arizona, California North, California South, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Eastern New York, Eastern Pennsylvania, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York West, North Carolina, North Texas, Ohio North, Ohio South, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania West, South Texas, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.

Cal South and New Jersey lead the way with 28 teams each in the league. Meanwhile, Maryland has 23 teams, Michigan has 21 and Eastern Pennsylvania has 20. Nine other State Associations have at least 10 teams competing in the National League in the upcoming season.

Each team will compete in a seven-game season while playing at two events. Click here for more info on play dates and event locations.

Girls Events
Nov. 24-27, 2019 – Boca Raton, Fla. (All 14U)
Dec. 5-8, 2019 – Wilson, N.C. and Goldsboro, N.C. (All 15U-19U)
Jan. 10-12, 2020 – Lakewood Ranch, Fla. (Half 15U-19U)
March 20-22, 2020 – Las Vegas, Nev. (All 14U, Half 15U-19U)

Boys Events
Dec. 11-14, 2019 – Panama City Beach, Fla. (All 17U-19U)
Dec. 12-15, 2019 – Panama City Beach, Fla. (All 15U-16U)
Dec. 27-30, 2019 – Tampa, Fla. (All 14U)
Dec. 28-30, 2019 – Tampa, Fla. (Half 15U-19U)
March 13-15, 2020 – Las Vegas, Nev. (All 14U, Half 15U-19U)

The complete 2019-20 National League schedule will be announced in the fall.

LET’S TALK: OK, now you’ve read what’s on my mind…what are your thoughts on the above or any other “football” happenings?

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