FRISCO, Texas (June 21, 2012) – Beginning in 2013, the US Youth Soccer National Championships will feature the Under-13 age group for boys and girls and see a heavier representation from the US Youth Soccer National League in the Under-15 through Under-17 age groups.
The addition of the Under-13 age group marks the first time that US Youth Soccer has increased its age range at the National Championships since 2001, when the Under-14 and Under-15 groups were added. Previously, the farthest an Under-13 team could advance was its respective Regional Championship. All four of the US Youth Soccer Regional Championships include Under-13 teams, with Region III (South) adding in the age group in 2012.
Another major change to the 2013 US Youth Soccer National Championships, which will be held in Overland Park, Kan., will be the addition of two more US Youth Soccer National League qualifying spots for the Under-15 through Under-17 age groups. Previously, only two spots in the National Championships were available to National League teams that did not qualify for the National Championships through their respective regional tournaments.
National League competition allows the nation's top 16 teams per gender age group to increase their exposure to collegiate, professional and U.S. National Team coaches and provides the highest level of competition for boys and girls teams in the country. Teams in the Under-15, Under-16, Under-17 and Under-18 age group have to apply to participate in the National League, with only the top four teams receiving a guaranteed spot for the next year. The National League recently completed its fifth season, and during the first four years, National League teams have claimed 13 of a possible 22 National Championship titles. The 2012 National Championship begin July 24 in Rock Hill, S.C. at Manchester Meadows.