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Across the Academy – Feb. 25, 2015

ACADEMY/YNT SPOTLIGHT:
U-17 MNT Opens CONCACAF U-17 Championship on Friday: U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team head coach Richie Williams has named the 20-player roster that will represent the USA at the 2015 CONCACAF U-17 Championship. Nineteen of the 20 players have ties to the Development Academy. The USA is paired with Cuba, Guatemala, host side Honduras, Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago in Group A. After the USA’s game against Cuba on Friday, Feb. 27, the U-17 MNT faces Trinidad & Tobago on March 2, followed by Guatemala (March 5), Honduras (March 8) and Jamaica (March 11).

Futsal Period Enhancing Play at YNT Level: During the Development Academy’s futsal regionals, ussoccer.com caught up with U.S. U-14 Boys’ National Team head coach Brian Johnson and others to discuss how the Academy futsal period is aiding the players’ skill for the U-14 BNT, Academy teams on the outdoor front and levels beyond.

Academy futsal on ussoccer.com:

For the latest Development Academy results, information and more, visit academy.demosphere.com and ussoccer.com’s Academy section. Follow the Academy on Twitter @ussoccer_acad, Instagram and Facebook.

ACADEMY QUICK HITS (Feb. 21-22):

  • West Conference: Crossfire Premier’s Uriel Herrera scored his 20th goal of the season to lead his U-17/18 side to a 3-0 victory against the Portland Timbers in Northwest Division action. Herrera is tied with Real So Cal’s Spencer Held as the goal scoring leaders at the older age group. Cody Gibson and Joey Parish also added goals to help Crossfire Premier improve to 13-4-5 on the season.
  • Central Conference: The Texas Rush U-17/18s rallied from a two-goal deficit to earn a 2-2 draw on the road against FC Dallas. The heated Frontier Division is tight among the top of the standings. Texas Rush is 8-3-4 and in third place at 1.87 points per game, and FC Dallas is in fourth at 7-4-3 and 1.71 points per game.
  • East Conference: Orlando City had an unbeaten weekend on the road against South Carolina United Battery Academy, posting a 1-1 draw at the U-15/16 level and a 4-1 win at the U-17/18s. Benjamin Michel scored twice for Orlando City as the older squad overcame an early deficit.

Academy Honors:

  • Academy Player of the Week: Real Salt Lake AZ’s Brooks Lennon had a productive weekend with two goals, scoring the opener of his U-17/18 team’s 5-0 victory against Nomads SC, followed by the lone goal during a 1-0 win against San Diego Surf. Real Salt Lake AZ is first in the Southwest Division (18-3-3, 2.38 points per game), and Brooks has now scored 18 goals in 19 appearances. That ranks third among all goal scorers at the Academy’s U-17/18 age level.
  • Academy Referee of the Week: Jessica Nila, a 22-year-old Grade 7 referee from northern California, received high marks this past weekend during the U-15/16 match between Strikers FC and Pateadores, earning Academy Referee of the Week. Nila is in the midst of her first season working Development Academy matches.

For all Development Academy results, standings and more, visit academy.demosphere.com or click on the following links:

ON USSOCCER.COM:
Academy Playoffs, Showcases Return to Grand Park: The Development Academy’s U-13/14 Showcase and the Academy Playoffs for the older-age groups return to Grand Park in Westfield, Indiana. The younger-age showcase runs June 19-22. The U-16 and U-18 Showcases take place June 22-25, and the Academy Playoffs are set for June 23-26. Additionally, the Academy Championships will be held July 16 and 18 at U.S. Soccer’s National Training Center in Carson, California.

Academy Coaching Spotlight: Planning for the Future: Sockers FC technical director David Richardson spoke with ussoccer.com about the new Youth Technical Directors course and its role in transforming leaders within the youth soccer community.

OTHER LINKS:

Academy Futsal Period Enhancing Play at YNT Level

U.S. Under-14 Boys’ National Team head coach Brian Johnson is in a unique spot in that he sees firsthand the end product of his players’ club training on the international level.

The majority of the U-14 BNT players are groomed through the Development Academy system. During the Academy’s winter stage, that January-February futsal period is integral in enhancing the players’ skills as they continue their road to the National Team level.

“Futsal is another avenue and another tool to aid in their development,” Johnson said. “For them to be able to get the amount of touches that they’re getting, they can work on leadership qualities within the small numbers because they’re more influential with the players around them, versus a whole-size field. But overall, the technical work at this younger age group is the focus, and they’re really getting a lot of it when they’re playing futsal.”

YNT and Academy clubs are always driving home the importance of possession play and style, and futsal reinforces that approach to a level many players have not experienced before.

“I think for us, especially with futsal and the ball being on the ground so much, the ball starts with the keeper a lot, so we’re working on the confidence to build out of the back with pressure on,” Johnson said. “A lot of times on a bigger field with full-size numbers, you don’t quite have that confidence. Here, you don’t have a choice. In futsal, you have to play out, and people have to move with and without the ball. It translates from these smaller numbers into the bigger numbers really well because you build out of the back, are attack-minded and keep possession of the ball. Those are important things that we implement not only in the Development Academy but also with the Youth National Teams.”

Tim Bielic

Midfielder Tim Bielic, who plays for Sockers FC and the U.S. U-14 Boys’ National Team, said this is his first time playing futsal at a competitive level. During the Chicago regional futsal event, he saw many areas where he needed to be quick on his feet and his decision making.

“In futsal, you need to have a plan before you make a play or make a pass,” Bielic said. “Since everything is so fast, you need to have a plan right before you pass the ball or shoot the ball, and that’s very different from outdoor. In outdoor you have more space.”

After futsal, Bielic sees the benefits when he returns to Academy play or gets called into the U-14 BNT.

“I have been working on my touch a lot more during the game of futsal, and when I go outdoors to an 11-v-11 game, it makes it a lot easier to control the ball and make good plays,” Bielic said.

Academy Futsal

The futsal phase of the season, while certainly benefiting offensive-focused players, also strengthens the game for defenders and goalkeepers, such as Players Development Academy and U-14 BNT center back Dom DeAlmeida and New York Red Bulls and U-14 BNT goalkeeper Alex Rando.

“For someone such as Alex, this is going to help with his foot skills to build out of the back, which is what we ask and require all of our goalkeepers to be able to do,” Johnson said. “It’s also important for communication and organizing the players in front of him. For Dominic, it’s the same types of things, including positioning – when you have the ball and when you don’t. Futsal is important because there’s so much transition. As a defender, you have to be prepared. In the transitional part of futsal, that is really important for Dom so he is aware of the players around him.”

This is the second winter in which the Academy has incorporated its futsal period, and it will continue to be an important element moving forward for the U-13/14 age group.

“If players are starting to incorporate more repetitions, they’re becoming masters of the ball and students of the game,” Development Academy Director Jared Micklos said. “That is the foundation of developing their technical ability, which is what you need at the highest level. This is just the beginning of what they’re going to do, that starts that pathway to becoming an elite-level player that eventually ends up on our National Team, through all the other next steps that happen with hard work and translating what happens tactically into the game. They can take this futsal model, which is small in terms of numbers and space, and then grow as they take their game to the full field.”

Across the Academy – Feb. 18, 2015

ACADEMY/YNT SPOTLIGHT:
Benefits of Academy Futsal Period: The Academy Futsal Period for the U-13/14 age group is coming to a close. ussoccer.com spoke with a number of coaches and technical advisors, including U.S. Men’s National Team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann and Academy Director of Scouting Tony Lepore, about how this futsal period benefits the players in their pathway to the National Team youth system and beyond. The regional showcases, which are part of the Academy’s futsal period (January-February), featured a minimum of four futsal matches over a two-day stretch.

Here are the futsal top performers from all three weekends of regionals:

  • Kevin Negrete (LA Galaxy) – SoCal Regional, Jan. 24-25
  • Blaine Ferri (Solar Chelsea) – Texas Regional, Jan. 24-25
  • Ashish Chattha (Juventus SC) – NorCal Regional, Jan. 31-Feb. 1
  • Tim Bielic (Sockers FC) – Mid-America Regional, Jan. 31-Feb. 1
  • Riley Ferch (Boca United) – Florida Regional, Jan. 31-Feb. 1
  • Eric Calvillo (Prince William Courage) – North Carolina Regional, Feb. 7-8
  • Matteo Rittaccio (BW Gottschee) – New Jersey Regional, Feb. 7-8
  • Kevin Vang (New England Revolution) – New England Regional, Feb. 7-8

Academy futsal on ussoccer.com:

Academy Playoffs, Showcases Return to Grand Park: The Development Academy’s U-13/14 Showcase and the Academy Playoffs for the older-age groups return to Grand Park in Westfield, Indiana. The younger-age showcase runs June 19-22. The U-15/16 and U-17/18 Showcases take place June 22-25, and the Academy Playoffs are set for June 23-26. Additionally, the Academy Championships will be held July 16 and 18 at U.S. Soccer’s National Training Center in Carson, California.

For the latest Development Academy results, information and more, visit academy.demosphere.com and ussoccer.com’s Academy section. Follow the Academy on Twitter @ussoccer_acad, Instagram and Facebook.

ACADEMY QUICK HITS (Feb. 14-15):

  • West Conference: In a crossover matchup, the Southwest Division’s Strikers FC earned a pair of 3-2 victories against the Northwest Division’s Santa Cruz Breakers Academy at the older age groups. The Strikers U-17/18s overcame two deficits and eventually notched the game-winner thanks to an Evan Williams tally in the 79th minute. At the U-17/18s, Strikers FC built a three-goal lead and held on for a 3-2 win. Christian Bond-Flasza, Guillaume Marneau and Julian Anaya each scored for Strikers, before Santa Cruz mounted a two-goal response in the final 13 minutes.
  • Central Conference: Texans SC Houston and Lonestar SC posted a weekend split among the older age groups. Lonestar’s Adrian Rodriguez scored two goals to lead his U-15/16 side to a 2-0 victory on Saturday. At the U-17/18s, Texans SC Houston overcame an early first-half deficit to rally for a 2-1 victory. Jonathan Reyes scored a 16th-minute equalizer, Daltyn Knutson tallied the game-winner in the 23rd minute and Texans SC Houston kept Lonestar off of the score sheet the rest of the way.
  • East Conference: In Southeast Division play, Capital Area RailHawks Academy – CASL earned a pair of victories against Charlotte Soccer Academy. The U-15/16s, currently second in the division behind Orlando City, earned a 4-2 win that included a second-half brace from Alexander Rose. At the U-17/18s, first-place CASL’s William Ramirez and Donald Mason scored in the 42nd and 58th minutes, respectively, for a 2-1 victory against Charlotte Soccer Academy.

Academy Honors:

  • Academy Player of the Week: Capital Area RailHawks Academy – CASL forward Alexander Rose was named the Academy Player of the Week for his two-goal performance against Charlotte Soccer Academy on Saturday. Rose has now scored 19 goals this season, which ties for second in the Academy at the U-15/16 age group.
  • Academy Referee of the Week: Garrison Fratoni, an 18-year-old Grade 7 referee from North Carolina, was named Academy Referee of the Week for his work during the U-15/16 and U-17/18 matches between Capital Area RailHawks Academy – CASL and Charlotte Soccer Academy. Fratoni has worked Academy matches since 2013.

For all Development Academy results, standings and more, visit academy.demosphere.com or click on the following links:

ON USSOCCER.COM:
U-14 BNT Posts 2-1-0 Record During Spain Trip: The U.S. Under-14 Boys’ National Team wrapped up its three-game trip to Madrid and garnered two wins and a loss during that stretch. The USA ended the camp with a 2-0 loss to the U-15 side Extremadura Selection on Saturday. That was preceded by an impressive 4-0 win against Rayo Vallecano on Feb. 11, with goals from Weston FC’s Jose Rivas, Lonestar SC’s Grant Vernon, Bethesda-Olney’s Gabe Segal and Chivas USA’s Ulysses Llanez. The U-14 BNT opened the camp with a 2-0 victory against Real Madrid on Feb. 10.

Academy Coaching Spotlight: Planning for the Future: Sockers FC technical director David Richardson spoke with ussoccer.com about the new Youth Technical Directors course and its role in transforming leaders within the youth soccer community.

OTHER LINKS:

Benefits of Academy Futsal Period

Futsal is a key component to player development and a mandatory part of the seasonal training plan for the Development Academy U-13/14 Program. The showcases, which are part of the Academy’s futsal period (January-February) features a minimum of four futsal matches over the two-day stretch.

Across the Academy – Feb. 11, 2015

ACADEMY/YNT SPOTLIGHT:
Futsal Regionals Wrap: The third weekend of Academy futsal regionals for the U-13/14 age group wrapped during the Feb. 7-8 weekend in New England, North Carolina and New Jersey. The showcases, which are part of the Academy’s futsal period (December-February), featured a minimum of four futsal matches over the two-day stretch. Here are the futsal top performers from the three most recent regionals:

  • Eric Calvillo (Prince William Courage): Calvillo was technically one the most creative players at the event. He showed a good understanding of the game of futsal and extraordinary comfort on the ball in high-pressure situations. Calvillo used his awareness, technical ability and passing intelligence to carve out chances going forward and was consistently a threat for the opposing defenses.
  • Matteo Rittacio (BW Gottschee): Matteo was a clever, intelligent, technical player at the regionals. He was good at finding and creating space to receive the ball and positioned himself in threatening spots offensively. He was good in tight spaces, had good awareness and was a difference maker in the games. Rittacio was also dangerous in 1-vs.-1 opportunities, had scoring prowess and distributed well in the final third.
  • Kevin Vang (New England Revolution): Vang showed great consistency across the two days of the futsal event. He helped dictate tempo of the games, consistently broke pressure and also scored a number of goals. The Revolution had a successful run at the event and had good results in addition to displaying a sound style of play.

Academy Playoffs, Showcases Return to Grand Park: The Development Academy’s U-13/14 Showcase and the Academy Playoffs for the older-age groups return to Grand Park in Westfield, Indiana. The younger-age showcase runs June 19-22. The U-16 and U-18 Showcases take place June 22-25, and the Academy Playoffs are set for June 23-26. Additionally, the Academy Championships will be held July 16 and 18 at U.S. Soccer’s National Training Center in Carson, California.

For the latest Development Academy results, information and more, visit academy.demosphere.com and ussoccer.com’s Academy section. Follow the Academy on Twitter @ussoccer_acad, Instagram and Facebook.

ACADEMY QUICK HITS (Feb. 7-8):

  • West Conference: The LA Galaxy earned a pair of 2-0 victories against Real Salt Lake AZ at the older age groups. Ethan Zubak and Andrew Perez scored first-half goals to pace the LA Galaxy U-16s, while Adonia Amaya and Elijah Martin each scored a goal for the Galaxy U-18s. RSL’s U-18 team still is atop the Southwest Division (16-3-3, 2.32 points per game), but the Galaxy is close behind in second place (13-4-3, 2.10 points per game). The LA Galaxy U-16 team leads the division at 14-2-4 and 2.30 points per game while touting an eight-game unbeaten streak (7-0-1).
  • Central Conference: The FC Dallas U-16s held off Texans SC Houston for a 3-2 victory. FC Dallas looked to have the game wrapped up as Jommar Reyes, Hector Montalvo and Isaac Albaradei each scored a goal to build a 3-0 lead. Texans SC Houston made a game of it, though, as Alex Reyes and Kareem Facey scored in the closing minutes to cut the lead to one. FC Dallas is atop the Frontier Division at 10-1-2 (2.46 points per game).
  • East Conference: Capital Area RailHawks Academy – CASL’s U-16s moved into second place in the Southeast Division with a 2-1 victory against the Carolina Rapids. Samuel Millikan scored a goal in the opening minute and Colby Agu’s 45th-minute score proved to be the game-winner. CASL is now 12-6-3 (1.86 points per game) and trails only Orlando City (13-2-2, 2.41 points per game).

Academy Referee of the Week: Matthew Jackson, a 36-year-old Grade 5 referee from Georgia, was named Academy Referee of the Week for his work during the U-16 and U-18 Academy matches between the Concorde Fire and Kendall SC on Sunday at East Point, Georgia. He participated in the 2014 Academy Winter Showcase and the U-14 regional showcase in at BB&T Soccer Park in Advance, North Carolina. Jackson also has worked matches in USL PRO, the North American Soccer League and National Premier Soccer League.

For all Development Academy results, standings and more, visit academy.demosphere.com or click on the following links:

ON USSOCCER.COM:
Llanez Brace Lifts U-14 BNT Past Real Madrid: The U.S. Under-14 Boys’ National Team defeated Real Madrid’s U-14s 2-0 on Tuesday at Ciudad Deportiva. Uylsses Llanez, representing the Chivas USA U-14 Academy side, scored both goals in the 61st and 71st minutes to lead the way for the USA. Gabe Segal, who plays for Bethesda-Olney, assisted Llanez’s second tally on the breakaway.

U-20 MNT Drawn into Group A for World Cup: The U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team, which took third place at the 2015 CONCACAF U-20 Championship, has been drawn into Group A for the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup with host New Zealand, Ukraine and Myanmar. The draw took place Tuesday in Auckland. The USA opens the tournament on May 30 against Myanmar in Whangarei. ussoccer.com caught up with U-20 head coach Tab Ramos about the draw, qualifying and some challenging camps set for England and Austria in March and April, respectively.

Zardes Impresses in First MNT Start: Former LA Galaxy Academy forward Gyasi Zardes played a big role with an assist on Clint Dempsey’s goal during the U.S. Men’s National Team’s 2-0 victory against Panama on Sunday at StubHub Center in Carson, California. It was Zardes’ first start and second cap this year, making the most of his opportunity under head coach Jurgen Klinsmann. “It’s a big dream to play in my home stadium, but to play in my hometown, in front of friends, in front of my family who had been there with me the whole time and have seen me grow,” Zardes said. “It’s a dream come true. I’m just thankful Jurgen gave me the opportunity to perform on the field.”

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