Top 88 teams in the United States are ready to prove their talent
Historic trophies on display for all in attendance
OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (July 22, 2013)
— The 2013 US Youth Soccer National Championships
, presented by the National Guard, officially began today as more than 2,600 players, coaches, referees, officials and administrators gathered for the player luncheon at the Overland Park Convention Center in Overland Park, Kan. Eighty-eight teams from the across the country are competing for national crowns, in Under-13 through Under-19 Boys and Girls age groups, and the week of competition began by honoring the teams’ accomplishments to this point.
The National Guard's partnership with US Youth Soccer is focused on enriching the soccer experience by positively influencing players and coaches in areas of leadership and character development while adding a strong presence of American pride.
Overland Park Mayor Carl Gerlach welcomed the players, coaches and fans to the city and expressed the excitement that hosting the National Championships has brought to the area. He mentioned that Kansas City is known as the "national mecca for soccer," and that holds especially true this week.
The room filled with energy when two-time FIFA Women’s World Cup champion and US Youth Soccer alum Mia Hamm was announced as the guest speaker for the event. The former U.S. Women’s National Team standout was on-site thanks to the National Guard.
Hamm told the players to embrace the opportunity to play for the National Championship and stressed the importance of teamwork and fair play.
"Enjoy this time. It’s a great time in your lives," Hamm said. "It’s a great time in your soccer careers, and I know I’ll be reading about and watching many of you in the future. I wish you all the best in those future endeavors."
The National Championships Player Luncheon peaked with excitement as the audience watched a highlight video tracking their successes at the Regional Championships and in the US Youth Soccer National League.
The final ascent to the National Championship for these teams begins with round robin play Tuesday, July 23 with games at 7:30 a.m., 9:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. Preliminary games continue Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. National champions will be crowned on Saturday, July 27 and Sunday, July 28.
The 2013 US Youth Soccer National Championship Series is the country's most prestigious national youth soccer tournament, providing over 185,000 players on more than 10,000 teams from US Youth Soccer's 55 State Associations the opportunity to showcase their soccer skills against the best competition in the nation while emphasizing teamwork, discipline and fair play.
The tournament consists of US Youth Soccer Regional Champions in the U-13 through U-19 Boys and Girls age groups, as well as the US Youth Soccer National League
qualifiers in the Under-15 through Under-18 Boys and Girls age groups to complete the field of 88 teams.
Each year brings about new challenges and highlights the motivation and commitment of these youth players as they continue pursuing their dreams of being one of the best youth soccer teams in the country. The National Championships are the final step of the US Youth Soccer National Championship Series and open to any US Youth Soccer member. The U.S. Soccer Federation initiated the open youth championships with the James P. McGuire Cup (Under-19 Boys), the oldest trophy in youth sport, in 1935. Since its creation in 1974, US Youth Soccer has added 13 divisions to the national championship tournament, with the U-13 Boys and Girls divisions added this year to reach the current format.
The Under-19 Boys James P. McGuire Cup Championship will be broadcast live in HD on Saturday, July 27 with pregame coverage starting at 7 p.m. ET, leading into kickoff at 7:30 p.m. from Overland Park Soccer Complex. The first time the game was broadcasted in HD was in 2010. Dean Linke and Charlie Slagle will be calling the action.
Annually, the US Youth Soccer National Championship Series provides the nation's top collegiate coaches with the premier stage to identify and scout the most coveted players in the country.
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