As the USYSA announced in December, they have formally organized the US Youth Soccer National League (NL). The charter has been adopted, which sets the basic structure for the league that will kick off this fall:
The League will begin operation in the 2007-2008 seasonal year that goes from September 1, 2007, through August 31, 2008. For this first year, competition will be held for the U-15 and U-16 age groups, girls and boys. Beginning with the 2008-2009 seasonal year, the competition will be expanded to include the U-17 age group, girls and boys.
Each gender age group will have eight teams. For the 2007-2008 seasonal year, all teams playing in the top US Youth Soccer Regional League of each region during the 2006-2007 seasonal year will be eligible to apply to play in the National League.
The four semifinal teams in each gender age group for the prior seasonal year will automatically be teams in the appropriate gender age group for the next seasonal year. The balance of the teams in that gender age group will be determined by the Committee.
This seems like the next step for teams looking for a competitive league beyond the current Regional select leagues. Also, teams that participate in this league still must participate in the State and Regional Championships, which I found interesting:
For the 2007-2008 seasonal year, all teams playing in the top regional league of each region during the 2006-2007 seasonal year will be eligible to apply to play in the NL.
the top 4 teams in each gender age group for the prior seasonal year will automatically retain their team slot in the appropriate gender age group for the next seasonal year and the balance of the teams in that gender age group will be determined by the NL Committee.
In order to be eligible to advance to the US Youth National Championship finals, all teams participating in the NL must also participate in their respective State Cup competition, as well as their respective Regional Cup competition should the team qualify, and the top regional league of each region should the team qualify.
So there you have it. This clearly will be a top flight league for current regional teams and provides more access to play at the national level. That can only help the development of our top teenage players. I’m curious how teams in this league will pay for travel and accommodations since teams will clearly have to travel a bit to play each other! It will also be interesting to see the breakdown of regions that the first set of teams come from. Go Region III!