To win a US Youth Soccer National Championship is an objective that very few teams achieve around the country.
For Albion SC, their journey began in July 2017 as they were fighting to clinch the California Regional League (CRL) and earn a berth into the US Youth Soccer 12U Regional Championships. However, their journey to a Regional Championship was cut short that season, but fate would grant them a second and final opportunity in their 2018-2019 campaign that would take them to a national stage and change the club’s history.
What seemed like a repeat from the past, Albion fell in the CRL Semifinal to eventual champion Legends FC. The team led by coach Mike Whittaker prepared the squad for the Cal South National Cup, determined to earn their berth into the 2019 US Youth Soccer Far West Regionals in Boise, Idaho. The girls, of which many have been part of the team for two or more years, and in some cases, five years, left their frustration behind and stuck together, knowing their time would come.
Albion’s National Cup campaign would be different, leaving CRL Champions Legends FC in the tournament’s Semifinal this time, and earning a strong 4-1 win over San Diego Surf in the Championship match, giving them their berth into Regionals. Albion was determined to finish up top, sweeping through the Regionals group phase, defeating San Diego Surf once again in the Quarterfinals, and then went for Legends FC in the Championship final where Albion came out on top in penalty kicks.
Ahead of the National Championships, Albion prepared for the heat and humidity of Overland Park, Kansas. Matching up against the best 13 and Under Girls teams in the nation was not a simple task, especially with a trail of injured players, but Albion made it seem easy after finishing in the top spot of the group phase, giving them the direct ticket into the final. In a tough Championship match against the Michigan Jaguars, Albion put their name down in history as they took a 1-0 win over the mid-western team.
It was a battle all throughout the season to win the coveted trophy. Over 10,000 teams train all year for the age group’s US Youth Soccer Cup, but Albion SC earned it in 2019, the first US Youth Soccer National Championship for the club, and the third consecutive 13 and Under Girls National Champion for Cal South.
As the team moves on, the experience taken from a national stage will be priceless and unforgettable as a new season, new teams and new endeavors arise.