The US Youth Soccer National League kickoffs off the 2011-2012 season this weekend in Atlanta, Ga. ESPNHS will break down one age group per day leading up to the event, highlighting the teams and key players who will be in search of earning automatic bids to next summer's US Youth Soccer National Championships.
Today, ESPNHS sizes up the National League Under-18 members:
Empire United Syracuse (N.Y.)
Coach: Brian McGrane
Key Players (college commitment): D Taylor Haenlin (Syracuse), MF Jackie Firenze (Syracuse), GK Christina Sarokon (St. Bonaventure), F Tessa Deveroux (Stony Brook), GK Steoh Senn (Kent State), Kathryn Busa (William Smith College), Emma Firenze(Syracuse), Kaelyn Gamel (NJIT), Kimmy Murphy (Mercer), Kelly Ristoff (Siena), Michelle Wiese (Villanova).
New Additions: Samantha Crane (Binghamton), Christina Sarokon (St. Bonaventure), Leah Emaus (West Virginia), Maddy Deveraeux, Eva Gordon.
Recent Team History: US Youth Soccer Region I League semi finalist, New York-West State Cup runner-up.
FC Pennsylvania Strikers (Pa.)
Head Coach: David Shaw
Key Players (college commitment): MF Cassie Pecht (Duke), GK Emily Armstrong (Boston College), MF Stevi Parker (South Carolina), F Daija Griffin (South Carolina), MF Kelly Kerrigan, F Gina DiTaranto (Delaware), Gabriella Carbone (in college at La Salle), Trish Clark (Pittsburgh), Lauren D'Amico (Colgate), Brendi Ernst (Temple), Melanie Insley (Elon), Kelly Kerrigan (James Madison), Kaitlin McNamara (UNC Wilmington), Jillian McVicker (Ohio State), Madeline Parker (Delaware), Morgan Popko (UNC Wilmington), Cheyenne Spade (in college at North Carolina State), Taryn Tomczyk (Colgate), Taylor Trusky (Pittsburgh).
Recent Team History: Regional I Champion, Region I Premier League Champion, Won six straight State Cup titles.
Brentwood '94 Premier Girls (Tenn.)
Coach: Sandy Pollock
Key Players (college commitments): D Malinda Allen (Duke), MF Cailin Harris (Kentucky), D Jessica Hiskey (Mississippi), MF Allie Kington (Clemson), F Chesney White (UNC Greensboro).
Recent Team History: 2011 Region III U17 finalist, 2010 Region 3 U16 semifinalist, 2009, 2010, 2011 Division 1 Tennessee State Champions
Chicago Fire Juniors Red-11 (Ill.)
Coach: Trey Bradberry
Key Players (college commitment): GK Jill D'Amico (Jacksonville), D Shannon Donelson (Rhodes College), MF Ali Farkos (Illinois State) D Audrey Galvin (SIU-Edwardsville), MF/D Haley Hosper (Tampa), MF Meghan Kelley (Jacksonville), F Gina Maddi (Miami), D Andi Matichak (South Florida), MF Bianca Navejas (Eastern Illinois), F Jenny Paddock (Loyola-Chicago) D Grace Perkowitz (IUPUI), MF Cindy Pineda, MF Cassidy Sherman Southern Illinois), F Caitlyn Summers, D Sydney Tappin (Colorado-Boulder), F Kristina Tomaras (Missouri), Kate Johnson (Indiana State).
Recent Team History: Placed first in the Midwest Regional League Premier Division. … Disney Showcase champions in 2010.
KC United Metros (Kan.)
Coach: Rich Wolf
Key Players: MF Alexis Aiman, MF Madison Aiman, MF/D Becky Blinzler, D/F Jordan Hester, MF Ashley Chandler.
NSA Premier Fury (Ill.)
Head Coach: Rade Martinovic
Key Players (college commitment): D Jennifer Korn (Northwestern), F Corinne Harris (Michigan), MF Christina Ordonez (Michigan), GK Jordan Ginther (Purdue), MF Amy Tadla (Trinity, Ill.), D Flo Beshiri (Creighton), MF Jessica Bronke (Miami, Ohio), MF Catherine Caniglia (Miami, Ohio), D: Lauren Kelly (Miami, Ohio), F Courtney McHugh (Wisconsin), D Rachel Miller (Campbell), MF Lexi Peterson (Wisconsin), Lauren Shroyer (SMU).
New Additions: MF Amanda Gaggioli (Marquette), MF/F Elaina Musleh (Kentucky)
Recent Team History: US Youth Soccer national champion in 2011; won 2010-2011 National League.
Toro Bravo (Neb.)
Coach: Marcus Kelcher
Key Players (college commitment): MF/D Hannah Wampler (Nebraska-Omaha), MF Caroline Flynn (Nebraska), D Alyssa Flannery (Nebraska), D/MF Mia McAleer (Iowa State), D Jackie Tondl (Texas A&M).
Recent Team History: Nebraska State Cup champions 2010, 2011. ... Midwest Regional League fall 2011 first place. ... National League third-place finisher 2010-2011.
CSUFC U18 Lady Renegades (Fla.)
Head coach: Rohan Shakes
Key Players (college commitment): F Jasmine Paterson (Miami), MF Kristina Shakes (Clemson), MF Alika Keene (Harvard), MF Paulina Speckmaier (Florida), F/MF Haleigh Stremanos, MF Sidney Parodie, MF Gabriella Sosa (South Florida), GK Megan Sweeney (Providence), D Sara Ballante (Lander), F Jannel Johnson (Citadel), D Miranda Freeman (Southern Cal), MF Yulie Lopez (Florida State), MF Nicole Zamora.
New additions: Alika Keene, Gabriella Sosa, McKenzie Kligmann.
Recent Team History: State Cup Champions 2008, 2010 and 2011 … 2011 PDA Showcase White champions … 2011 Las Vegas Showcase semifinalists. … 2011 Disney Predator champions.
Kolping St. Louis (Mo.)
Coach: Tony Schmitt
Key Players (college commitment): D Emily Bollinger (South Carolina), F/MF Niicole Breece (Illinois), MF/D Ashley Burton Quincy), D Maddie Friedmann (Mississippi), F Erin McGauley (Xavier), MF Jenn Miller (Mississippi), GK Jesse Perry (Samford).
Recent Team History: U17 National Finalist at 2011 US Youth Soccer National Championships; 2010/2011 U17 National League Blue Division Champions; Missouri State Cup Champions 2007, 2009, 2010 and 2011 (Team name last year was St. Louis Scott Gallagher IL (MO); team moved to the Kolping Soccer Club at the conclusion of the 2011 National Championships).
NASA 12 Elite II (Ga.)
Coach: Dave Smith
Key Players (college commitment): F Sara Coleman (Mississippi), F Bria Washington (Boston College), F Kelsey Nix, MF Emily Sonnett (Virginia), MF Abby Lutzenkirchen (Alabama), D Emma Sonnett (Georgia), D Elizabeth Johnson (Georgia), D Brooke Theobald (Mississippi), GK Alyse Scott (Auburn).
Recent Team History: National League Champions 2009-2010. … Tied for first place National League 2010-2011. … 2011 Region II champion. … Participated in US Youth National Championships in 2010 and 2011.
United FA 94 Elite (Ga.)
Coach: Iggy Moleka
Key Players (college commitment): Hannah Garcia (Wofford), Kelsey McQuaid (Connecticut), Claire Sullivan (Furman), Liliana Rios (Georgia), Jordan Morell (Emory), Kala Faulkner (Auburn), Mackenzie Bailey (Georgia State), Alexa Allen (Auburn), Cheyna Williams (Vanderbilt), Alexis Connor (Campbell), Ally Jordan (College of Charleston), Diana Getzewich (Samford), Amanda Schwartz (Western Carolina), Abby Toner (Drexel), Anna Hilpertshauser (Georgia State), Meghan Hussey (Florida), Mary Beth Bleekrode (Wofford), Ally Baron.
Recent Team History: United FA has won two straight Region 3 Premier League East championships and has reached the finals and semifinals at the Region III Championships.