This summer, the US Youth Soccer National Championships will feature a semifinal round in the Under-14 through Under-18 boys and girls age groups, as well as the addition of four US Youth Soccer National League teams to the Under-14 boys and girls age groups.
The 2014 National Championships will take place at the Maryland SoccerPlex in Germantown, Md., July 21-27, where top teams seek to earn one of 14 National Championship titles in the Under-13 through Under-19 age groups for boys and girls.
The addition of the semifinal round marks the first time that US Youth Soccer has changed the format of the National Championships since 1999, when the tournament expanded to feature round robin play. Changes have occurred over time in response to feedback from club and state technical directors.
All age groups will play three days of round robin play followed by a day of rest on Friday, July 25.
The Under-14 through Under-18 age groups each feature two pools of four teams and will play three round robin games Tuesday through Thursday. Semifinal games will be held on Saturday morning, and championship finals will be played on Sunday.
The Under-13 and Under-19 boys and girls will follow the same format as in previous years, with the top two finishers in round robin play advancing to the championship finals over the weekend US Youth Soccer National League in 2013-14, the National Championships will now feature the four teams that qualified through the National League and traditional four US Youth Soccer Regional Champions in that age group.
The 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 National Championships consists of Regional Champions in the U-13 through U-19 Boys and Girls age groups, as well as the National League qualifiers in the Under-14 through Under-18 Boys and Girls age groups to complete the field of 96 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 in 2013 to reach the current format.