Three Sporting Arkansas teams were invited to participate in the Frontier Conference of the US Youth Soccer National League for the 2022-23 season. Sporting Arkansas’s 2005 Boys, 2006 Boys Premier, and 2008 Boys will each participate in the Frontier Conference, which is one of 13 conferences that make up the USYS National League platform.
Earning a spot in the USYS National League is not anything new to clubs from Arkansas; however, earning spots in the Frontier Conference is extremely rare for teams from Arkansas, as the Frontier is traditionally exclusive to clubs from Texas and Oklahoma.
“We are thrilled about receiving invitations for these three teams to participate in the Frontier Conference this year” stated Sporting Arkansas Director of Coaching Scott Marksberry. “The USYS National League is an outstanding platform of competition that is often very challenging to clubs from Northwest Arkansas due to our Midsouth Conference alignment. The travel requirement was really burdensome for families, but receiving this call from Frontier was a huge testament to the work that the 05s, 06s, and 08s have done over the past year.”
The Arkansas Soccer Association is aligned with the Midsouth Conference of the USYS NL, along with clubs from AL, TN, MS, and LA.
“We have asked about applying for Frontier a number of times in the past, but we did not have the match results to prove that we could be a strong addition to their league. These three teams proved at the regional tournament this year that they are able to compete with top-level teams from across the region, and we are honored that their performances were recognized by USYS and the South Region," remarked Marksberry.
Asked about the opportunity the participate in the USYS National League, Marksberry replied, “Our club has had several teams play in our National League conference in the past. That part is not necessarily new. But competing in the Frontier conference means that our teams and families will travel to Tulsa, OKC, Dallas, and Round Rock, as opposed to the much longer trips that we typically see in the Midsouth. So, our teams will get the higher level of play associated with the National League, but the travel load is a little more manageable. Having three teams participate means that our players, families, and coaches can work together to continue creating a top-class soccer experience for players from Northwest Arkansas.”
What is the USYS National Championship Series?
The four USYS Regional Championships are part of the USYS National Championship Series, which is a year-long competition, that begins with State League play among more than 10,000 clubs and 3 million players registered to USYS’s 54 State Associations. Teams compete in state league to qualify for their respective State Cups, then the State Cup champions of each state’s top division are invited- along with qualifiers from the USYS National League- to one of the four Regional Championships. The Regional Championship winner in each age group is invited, along with qualifiers from the USYS NL P.R.O., to participate in the USYS National Championship, which has been crowing youth soccer national championships since the 1970s. While the landscape of youth soccer has evolved over the years, the USYS NCS yearlong qualification model holds strong as one of the few models that rewards teams with competitive opportunities based solely on their merit. No team can join a USYS State Cup, Regional Championship, or the National Championship of the USYS National Championship Series without first earning their spot through state league or national league competition.