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U.S. PNT Earns Third Place at 2014 America Cup

TORONTO, Canada (Sept. 26, 2014) – The U.S. Paralympic National Team scored three first-half goals and defeated host Canada 3-0 to capture third place at the 2014 America Cup at the University of Toronto.

“We knew if we played to our abilities that we would walk away with the medal,” U.S. PNT head coach Stuart Sharp said. “We made the most of our chances in the first half, and after that we looked fairly comfortable. The team was focused.”

Gavin Sibayan scored a pair of goals in the sixth and 22nd minutes and Kevin Hensley contributed a goal in the 15th minute.

The defense held Canada in check the full way through, anchored by goalkeeper Alex Hendricks who made three saves for the clean sheet.

“It’s been a year of transition with the squad, and we feel we have gelled well as a unit,” Sharp said. “We have seen the rewards with our effort in this tournament. It’s always disappointing to not win the overall competition, but things are progressing nicely. I believe we have a solid base to allow us to push on to bigger and better things.”

U.S. Paralympic National Team

-U.S. Paralympic National Team Match Report-

Match: U.S. Paralympic NT vs. Canada
Date: Friday, Sept. 26, 2014
Competition: 2014 America Cup
Venue: University of Toronto; Toronto, Canada
Kickoff: 5 p.m. local (5 p.m. ET)
Weather: 73 degrees

Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA                         3 0 3
CAN                         0 0 0

USA – Gavin Sibayan      6th minute
USA – Kevin Hensley      15
USA – Gavin Sibayan      22

USA: 18-Alex Hendricks 7, 2-Gavin Sibayan 7 (5-Bryce Boarman 5, 56), 4-Tyler Bennett 7, 6-Chris Ahrens 7, 7-Marthell Vazquez 5 (17-Michael Moore 7, 50), 10-Kevin Hensley 8 (capt.) (11-Rene Renteria 8, 46), 14-David Garza 6
Subs not used: 1-Keith Johnson, 15 Daniel Hoffman
Head Coach: Stuart Sharp

CAN: 1-Derek Whitson 5, 2-Liam Stanley 7, 5-Sam Charron 7, 7-Dustin Hodgson 7, 9-Trevor Stiles 5, 11-Matt Brown 7, 13-Kyle Payne 7
Subs not used: 4-John Phillips 7, 12-Vito Proietti 5
Head Coach: Drew Ferguson

Stats Summary: USA / CAN
Shots: 7 / 4
Shots on Goal: 5 / 3
Saves: 3 / 0
Corner Kicks: 7 / 1
Fouls: 7 / 5

U.S. Paralympic National Team

U.S. U-17 MNT Roster Named for Panama International Tournament

CHICAGO (Sept. 26, 2014) – U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team head coach Richie Williams named a 20-player roster for the four-team Panama U-17 International Tournament from Oct. 1-5.

The USA will face Costa Rica on Wednesday, Oct. 1, followed by Canada on Oct. 3 and host Panama on Oct. 5, with all games played at Estadio Maracaná in Panama City.

The U-17s most recently played in the Nordic Open Cup Tournament in Denmark and the third Copa Mexico in Mexico City, with the two events overlapping each other from late July to early August. The USA took sixth place in the Nordic Open Cup and earned fourth place at the Copa Mexico.

In international competition, Haji Wright and Christian Pulisic lead this group with 11 goals apiece this year. Six of Pulisic’s goals came during the Copa Mexico. Wright is the top goal scorer for the U-17s dating back to last year with a combined 17 goals over this stretch in 17 games.

The goalkeeping duo of William Pulisic (6-3-0) and Kevin Silva (5-0-1) has handled the majority of international play in 2014. Silva leads the team with three shutouts and a 0.87 goals against average.

The USA roster includes 15 players who are in the midst of their fall semester in the U-17 Residency Program in Bradenton, Florida. Fourteen players have current ties to the Development Academy.

The U.S. U-17 MNT is 12-5-1 in international competition and 13-5-5 overall in 2014.

U.S. U-17 MNT Roster:
GOALKEEPERS (2): William Pulisic (Richmond Strikers; Mechanicsville, Va.), Kevin Silva (PDA; Bethlehem, Pa.)
DEFENDERS (7):  Tyler Adams (New York Red Bulls Academy; Wappingers Falls, N.Y.), Hugo Arellano (LA Galaxy Academy; Norwalk, Calif.), Daniel Barbir (West Bromwich Albion; Allentown, Pa.), Tanner Dieterich (Real Salt Lake AZ; Nashville, Tenn.), John Nelson (Internationals; Medina, Ohio), Matthew Olosunde (New York Red Bulls Academy; Trenton, N.J.), Alexis Velela (San Diego Surf; San Diego, Calif.)
MIDFIELDERS (5): Eric Calvillo (Real So Cal; Palmdale, Calif.), Luca de la Torre (Fulham; San Diego, Calif.), Keegan Kelly (Baltimore Celtic; Baltimore, Md.), Thomas McCabe (Players Development Academy; South Orange, N.J.), Christian Pulisic (PA Classics; Hershey, Pa.)
FORWARDS (6):  Pierre Da Silva (New York Soccer Club; Port Chester, N.Y.), McKinze Gaines (Lonestar SC; Austin, Texas), Josh Perez (Unattached; La Habra, Calif.), Elijah Rice (Chicago Magic PSG; Highland Park, Ill.), Haji Wright (Unattached; Los Angeles, Calif.), Alejandro Zendejas (FC Dallas Academy; El Paso, Texas)

Sporting Kansas City Academy Duo Adapts to U.S. Futsal Experience

The 2014-15 Development Academy season kicked off for Sporting Kansas City over the Sept. 20-21 weekend, and for two of its players, the offseason included a side trip away from the customary outdoor pitch.

Sporting Kansas City Academy U-17/18 forwards Nic Jaimes and John Leisman have spent a portion of the year with U.S. Futsal National Team. They both traveled with the squad to Argentina in August, and Jaimes had earlier trained with the U.S. Futsal squad in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

The opportunity presented itself when Sporting Academy Director Jon Parry connected his players with U.S. Futsal National Team head coach Keith Tozer.

“Last year we had futsal nationals and had a good tournament,” Jaimes said. “I enjoyed it and expressed that joy to my coach Jon Parry, who put in a good word to Keith Tozer. I was later invited to train with the team in Wisconsin, and that opened the door.”

“I’m still fairly new to futsal – about three or four years for me – and after playing in futsal I.D. camps in the central region, Coach Tozer selected me to play for the U.S. Futsal Team,” Leisman said. “It was overwhelming before going in because I didn’t know what to expect, but I was able to adapt. The guys were great, too. It was welcoming and I fit right in.”

As part of its curriculum, the Development Academy has put greater emphasis toward futsal with the implementation of a portion of its U-13/14 schedule incorporating this element. For the 17-year-old Jaimes and the 16-year-old Leisman, they saw the rewards immediately when returning to the outdoor game.

“We got back and I could see the difference in how much more comfortable I was with the ball,” Jaimes said. “I felt like I had this time and space, and it helped increase my vision. I had a lot more confidence.”

“Coming back to outdoor, it felt like a much bigger game with more space and more time on the ball,” Leisman said. “One area where futsal really helped is the emphasis on your movement off the ball. When I went back to outdoor, my ability to move off the ball improved a lot.”

John Leisman and Nic Jaimes

Jaimes and Leisman were both very much thrown into the fray during the U.S. Futsal Team’s multiple games against Argentina. Tozer and the staff are focused on the big picture of the 2016 CONCACAF Futsal Championship and establishing both veteran and young talent to represent the best possible team. During this process, the Academy has had several players in the mix, one of the most noteworthy being former Shattuck-Saint Mary’s Soccer Academy midfielder Lucas Stauffer.

“The game is so quick and so fast. You really have to adapt on your toes and be smart about it,” Jaimes said. “In futsal, you do a lot of drills where you’re using the sole of your foot to maintain control of the ball. When the ball comes to you, you need to keep things in front of you to go forward and take guys on. There is also much more focus on quick and fast movements. In outdoor, your movements are overlapping runs. In futsal, you take off and cut in front of them – shorter and quicker movements.”

With Leisman making his first trip and limited training with the U.S. Futsal Team in Argentina, it was initially thought that he would be eased into the process. That hardly was the case.

“In the first game against Argentina, because I had only one or two practices, the initial plan was to watch the first game and see what the level was like,” Leisman said. “So, I did that for the first half. When the second half came around, I was thrown into the game. Argentina was quick with their movements and passing. Even though you are only on for maybe a minute and a half or two minutes, your heart rate is totally different.”

Leisman says that individual skill on the ball is such a premium because you have fewer teammate options and tight spaces to work with.

“A lot more focus is on the individual because you only have four players and the goalkeeper,” Leisman said. “You are constantly under everyone’s watch, so when you get the ball, Coach Tozer always preaches that you have to face up right away. Argentina’s defenders would already be on you. The key to the game is you need to explode out of your base. There also is no opportunity to catch your breath. You have to move immediately or you won’t be able to keep the player in front of you.”

It remains to be seen how heavily involved Jaimes and Leisman will be as part of the U.S. Futsal Team in this cycle, but working with Coach Tozer and playing the sport during a South America trip was a huge learning experience moving forward.

“I think I adapted and felt more comfortable after getting over the initial hump at the Wisconsin camp,” Jaimes said. “Playing at this level was great, and the coaches gave me some good tips and helped me out. Argentina was a great experience because they were so quick. One moment that stuck out to me was a corner kick that we had, where Argentina countered and I was able to catch up to him for a clearance on the end-to-end run.

“It’s such a demanding game, and it’s really helped me grow.”

John Leisman and Nic Jaimes