NATIONALS SC AND LOUISVILLE CITY ACADEMY SQUARE OFF IN OHIO VALLEY CLASH IN THE CONTINENTAL TIRE ECNL DERBY DAY
Derby Info: Nationals SC vs Louisville City Academy
Date: Saturday, May 13, 2023
Location: Oakland University Grizz Dome | Rochester Hills, Michigan
Age Groups: U15-U18/19
This weekend, playoff spots and conference titles are on the line in a huge Ohio Valley Conference showdown on Saturday, May 13, in Rochester Hills between Nationals SC and Louisville City Academy.
Club: Nationals SC
Year Founded: 2016
Club Location: Detroit, Michigan
Things You Should Know: 06 – 2022 ECNL National Quarterfinalists
Quotables: Nationals SC come into this weekend’s Derby in the hunt for the postseason in all their age groups, while also looking to overtake Louisville City for the top spot in the Ohio Valley Conference’s 08 standings in this weekend’s massive showdown.
“It’s the one that is marked on everyone’s calendar and that everyone is looking forward to,” said Nationals SC Boys Academy Director Gronthik Chatterjee.
When Nationals entered the ECNL last season, the rivalry between the two sides naturally grew with both sides playing competitive matches for such high stakes across all the age groups.
“I think that the Louisville and Nationals rivalry, with us entering the league last year, was an instant top one,” Chatterjee said. “Louisville up and down the board has competitive teams, so for us it was kind of an instant big moment for us to go play them.”
For Nationals, two of the big standout games this weekend will take place at the 04/05 age group and the 08 age group. At the 04/05 age group, Nationals are currently just sitting outside of the top two playoffs spots in third, while at the 08 level they have a chance to overtake Louisville City for first in the conference with a win.
Chatterjee believes having such top end games late in the season before the playoffs is crucial for his teams to be prepared for that level of competition they will see this summer
“It is absolutely imperative to have some of these top end games,” Chatterjee said. “No matter what, you need to be challenged to get ready. These big games are really important and they absolutely help prepare you for the playoffs. You need critical matches to prepare you for that level or you go in unprepared.”
Even with so much on the line, Chatterjee said all his teams come into the weekend excited for the opportunity to compete against another top side at such a high level.
“Who doesn’t like having a huge game to play for?” Chatterjee said. “It’s awesome to have a nice big game at the end of the year to try and get something done, it’s beautiful.”
Club: Louisville City Academy
Year Founded: 2014
Club Location: Louisville, Kentucky
Things You Should Know: 07 – 2022 ECNL National Quarterfinalists
Quotables: Louisville City Academy enters this weekend’s Derby sitting at the top of the Ohio Valley Conference at both the 04/05 age group and the 08 age group, while also looking to solidify playoff positions at the 06 and 07 levels with those teams currently in third and fourth respectively.
“I think overall for our club we always want to be in a position where we are playing for the postseason,” said Louisville City Youth Academy Director Mario Sanchez. “This is another opportunity to solidify postseason participation for all of our age groups.”
While this weekend’s games are crucial for the Ohio Valley standings and are another key moment in the rivalry between the two clubs, Sanchez noted that it is a rivalry built on the respect that each team has for one another.
“It’s been a great rivalry. We have a lot of respect for their directors, their club, and how they play the game. They’re always super competitive games with some great soccer,” Sanchez said. “The players are well aware of how good the Nationals program is and they also know what is on the line.”
With Louisville City currently one spot ahead of Nationals in the standings at the 06 age group, and Nationals two spots ahead of Louisville City at the 07 level, Sanchez highlighted those as two key games for this weekend’s Derby because of the playoff implications that are on the line.
“One of the big reasons we joined the ECNL is to play in games like this,” Sanchez said. “It’s a game that everybody has their eye on.”