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32 teams will compete to decide four boys and four girls titles this week.

LA BUENA VISTA, Fla. (Monday, July 24, 2000) -- Thirty-two teams - half boys and half girls - have descended on Disney’s Wide World of Sports to decide eight titles at the United States Youth Soccer National Championships.

The annual tournament features boys and girls teams competing for national cups in four age groups -- under-16, under-17, under-18 and under-19 starting tomorrow with all finals played Sunday.

In all, teams representing 18 USYS state associations will participate. Eastern New York, Illinois, North Texas, California-South and Colorado each qualified three teams. Three teams from the Colorado Rush Soccer Club (Lakewood) qualified, and the Sting Soccer Club (Dallas) and Charlotte (N.C.) Soccer Club each has two teams here.

Six past national champions return looking to repeat this year. The under-19 girls division features two previous winners: the Northport\Cow Harbor (N.Y.) Piranha (1997, 1999) and Colorado Rush Nike (1998).

The FC Delco Dynamo (West Chester, Pa.) under-19 boys are making their fourth consecutive national championship appearance and won the under-17 title in 1998.

The Colorado Rush's under-18 girls and the Chicago Magic Sockers under-17 boys are seeking back-to-back titles, while the Weston (Conn.) Wild Thing under-18 girls claimed the under-16 crown in 1998.

Besides top club teams, the tournament also traditionally showcases many rising young talents. Current U.S. women's national team players who have competed in this event include veterans Carla Overbeck (1985, 1987), Julie Foudy (1986), Shannon MacMillan (1991) and Cindy Parlow (1995), plus newcomers Danielle Slaton (1996, 1997, 1998) and Christie Welsh (1999).

On the men's side, three-time World Cup veteran Marcelo Balboa (1986), national-team standout Ben Olsen (1996) and rising D.C. United rookie Bobby Convey (1999) are among those who have played.

Prominent players in this year's tournament include under-20 men's national-team members Kyle Martino (FC Delco Dynamo), the Atlantic Coast Conference "Rookie of the Year" at Virginia in 1999, and Brad Davis (Scott Gallagher).

Under-18 men's national-team members are Steve Cronin (San Juan Lightning), Ned Grabavoy (Chicago Magic Sockers) and C.J. Klaas (Chicago Magic Sockers).

The under-17 boys national team is represented by Gray Griffin (Charlotte SC Blue).

The under-18 women's national team is represented by Jamie Fabrizio (Carmel Cosmos II), Mary McDowell (Colorado Rush Nike) and Anne Morrell (Michigan Hawks).

Teams will play a round-robin schedule against the other three regional champions in their age group from Tuesday through Friday. The top two teams in each group as determined by points advance to the winner-take-all championship finals on Sunday.

This tournament completes the year-long competition which begins with more than 7,200 teams with 124,000 players participating in all 50 states.

The participants:


Region I (East)

Under-19 boys: FC Delco Dynamo (West Chester, Pa.)
Under-18 boys: FC Delco Black (West Chester, Pa.)
Under-17 boys: West Babylon (N.Y.) Panthers
Under-16 boys: FC Westchester (N.Y.)

Under-19 girls: Northport\Cow Harbor (N.Y.) Piranha
Under-18 girls: Weston (Conn.) Wild Thing
Under-17 girls: Chantilly (Va.) Hotspurs
Under-16 girls: Prince William Sparklers (Woodbridge, Va.)


Region II (Midwest)

Under-19 boys: Vardar III (Southfield, Mich.)
Under-18 boys: Scott Gallagher (St. Louis)
Under-17 boys: Chicago Magic Sockers
Under-16 boys: Sockers FC (Palatine, Ill.)

Under-19 girls: Windy City FC (Chicago)
Under-18 girls: Michigan Hawks (Livonia)
Under-17 girls: Carmel (Ind.) Cosmos II
Under-16 girls: Internationals (Cleveland)


Region III (South)

Under-19 boys: Jackson (Miss.) FC
Under-18 boys: Charlotte (N.C.) SC Blue
Under-17 boys: Team Boca Gunners (Boca Raton, Fla.)
Under-16 boys: Charlotte (N.C.) SC Blue

Under-19 girls: Sting '81 (Dallas)
Under-18 girls: Challenge 81/82 (Houston)
Under-17 girls: Sting '83 (Dallas)
Under-16 girls: D'Feeters '84 (Dallas)


Region IV (Far West)

Under-19 boys: Colorado Rush Nike (Lakewood)
Under-18 boys: Wolfpack (Huntington Beach, Calif.)
Under-17 boys: San Juan Lightning (Sacramento, Calif.)
Under-16 boys: Tempe (Ariz.) Pros

Under-19 girls: Colorado Rush Nike (Lakewood)
Under-18 girls: Colorado Rush Nike (Lakewood)
Under-17 girls: San Diego Surf
Under-16 girls: Southern California Blues (Dana Point)

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