U14 Girls Champions League Preview
With both MVLA and Placer United streaking out to a perfect 9-0-0 fall seasons, neutrals will surely want to check out the Champions League match-up between the two, which could decide the fate of the entire league. As both sides won their leagues by a healthy margin — seven and five points, respectively — it would be a tough for any other teams to beat them out for the top two.
AJAX UNITED GREEN
Head Coach: Josh Handley
If there’s any team outside MVLA and Placer United that could contend for the title, it could very well be Ajax United Green, who finished second in the NPL 1 East with a respectable 6-1-2 record and a plus-15 goal differential. Defense is a strength for Ajax, who allowed just seven goals all season and include five PDP State players in Mia Basi, Caroline Duertes, Kayla Duenas, Haley Espinoza and Genavieve Fontes.
CENTRAL CALIFORNIA SOCCER ALLIANCE
Head Coach: Gustavo Rendon
Central California Alliance were unlucky to miss out on second place in the NPL 1 East this fall, finishing with an identical 6-1-2 record with Ajax United Green, and drawing Ajax 0-0, but were dropped to third place after Ajax finished with a slightly better goal differential than CCSA. The Alliance’s strength starts at the back as goalkeeper Sydney Hancok helped lead a backline that allowed just seven goals all year.
Head Coach: Andres Deza
Despite scoring the most goals (35) in the NPL 1 West, Force ECNL were forced to settle for second place, as their 7-1-1 record couldn’t better that of 9-0-0 MVLA. But Force should be considered among the favorites for the Champions league, with three id2 Camp invitees in Emma Tovar, Sophie Yasin, and goalkeeper Olivia Molina, who allowed just 12 goals all season for Force.
MARIN FC BLUE
Head Coach: Rob Funes
Thanks to four points on the final two match days, Marin FC Blue snuck their way into the Champions League with a season that culminated at a 5-3-1 mark. The strength of Marin lies in the middle of the park, where Yuna McCormack and Taylor Martin lead a strong central midfield that helped set up 25 goals in just nine matches in the Fall NPL 1 West season.
Head Coach: Erin Montoya
MVLA enters the Champions League as one of the sides to beat, finishing a perfect 9-0-0 in the NPL 1 West while scoring 26 goals and allowing just eight. The speedy squad is led by id2 camp invitees Aaliyah Schinman, State PDP players Analise Porta, Stephanie Jung, and goalkeeper Lauren Zontos. While defense is clearly a strength for MVLA, their offense only scored the fourth-most goals in the NPL 1 West, but still averaged nearly three per game.
PLACER UNITED GOLD
Head Coach: Ron Benjamin
Featuring an impressive eight players in the PDP State Pool Placer led all U-14 Girls NPL teams in both goals scored and goals allowed with 36 and three, respectively. US Club Soccer id2 Camp invitee and Karley Garcia are each tied for the NPL lead in goals with five, meaning that they have each scored two more times than their team allowed the entire Fall season.
Head Coach: Axel Thibodeau
The scrappy Pleasanton Rage ECNL just qualified for the Champions League by a slim, two-point margin thanks to a 1-0 victory over the fifth-place Davis Legacy, who came into the game needing just a draw to qualify for the Champions League. Led by leading scorers Kennedy Mayo and Emily Johnson, the Rage got all results when they needed them and will figure to be a tough out this Spring.
Head Coach: Gary Ireland
One of the youngest teams in the competition, which features a plethora of 2004’s, PSV did well to grind out a spot in the Champions League with a 5-3-1 record in the NPL 1 West. With a club model that preaches playing younger players up age groups, don’t be surprised to hear from players from this squad in later years, even if they fail win Champions League this year.