In 1998, D.C. United made history as they became the first American club to be crowned champions of CONCACAF after beating Mexican side Toluca in that year’s Champions Cup Final.
Nearly 20 years later, a younger crop of players will represent the Black and Red as the U.S. Soccer Development Academy’s representatives to the inaugural U-13 Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League beginning Tuesday, Aug. 4 at the Mexico City-based Academy facilities of Liga MX club Cruz Azul.
“It’s a great honor for our club to be selected and represent U.S. Soccer in this tournament,” said D.C. United U-13 Academy head coach John Bello. “Our players were all very excited when they got the news that they were going to go down. They’re really proud of it and want to put their best foot forward in this tournament.”
When CONCACAF approached U.S. Soccer about who should represent the Development Academy at the tournament, they went in search of a club whose first team had some history in the regional championship. Along with winning the 1998 title, United’s 10 appearances in either the CONCACAF Champions Cup or Champions League, is an MLS record.
Beyond first team history, CONCACAF also looked for a club that had developed a good track record of developing players and the D.C. United Academy was a perfect fit according to U.S. Soccer’s Director of Scouting Tony Lepore.
“United has a strong history of player production,” he told ussoccer.com. “The D.C. area is a hotbed for developing talent for youth and senior national teams.”
The numbers back it up. Since 2007, the club has placed 38 players on U.S. Soccer Youth National Teams from the U-14 to U-23 age groups and has helped develop many notable professional players, including Bill Hamid, Andy Najar, Romain Gall, Jalen Robinson, Michael Seaton and Conor Shanosky. Still just 24 years old, Hamid has also played twice for the U.S. Men’s National Team.
Clint Peay, the Development Academy’s Technical Advisor for the Mid Atlantic region and a former D.C. United player, was familiar with the club’s player pool and with a tight timetable, pushed quickly to get the side involved in the tournament.
“Clint had worked together with the D.C. United Academy on a number of initiatives and felt good about what they had,” continued Lepore. “We immediately contacted Academy Director Nolan Sheldon and with the support of the club, Nolan immediately jumped at it because they value international competition and knew what an experience like this could mean for their young players as they continue with an eye towards developing more professionals.”
The tournament schedule is tight, with clubs playing three group matches in three days from Tuesday to Thursday. D.C. United will face fellow MLS Academy, the Montreal Impact, Jamaican club Harbor View FC and a club TBA from Liga MX. Should they finish in the top two in their group, they’ll play a semifinal on Friday with the final and third place matches coming on Saturday.
Bello admits that the trip to Mexico City will be the first time many of his U-13 side will play outside of the country. Now in his third year with the United Academy, he hopes the experience will keep his players focused on continuing to improve as they prepare for the fall Development Academy season.
“For them it’ll be a real eye-opener,” Bellow said. “I remember back to when I was growing up playing and went on an international trip, it was really eye-opening to see where the level was in other countries. Sometimes because these guys play for an MLS Academy, they’ll think they’ve already achieved everything, when the reality is they need to keep working really hard on their development in order to compete at an international standard, which is what their overall objective is.”
“Seeing where they stack up internationally should give them a good gauge of where they stand and what they need to build on.”
CHICAGO (July 31, 2015) – The U.S. Under-18 Women’s National Team will travel to Mexico City from Aug. 8-16 for a training camp that features two matches against the Mexico Under-20 Women’s National Team.
The games will take place on August 13 and 15 at Mexico’s National Training Center in Mexico City. U.S. Soccer Women’s Youth Technical Director April Heinrichs will run the camp that features 20 players, all born 1998.
All the players in this age group are eligible for the team that will attempt to qualify for the 2016 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup, but the goal for this age group is ultimately the 2018 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup.
U.S. U-18 WNT Roster by Position: Detailed Roster
GOALKEEPERS (2): Brooke Heinsohn (New England FC; Norfolk, Mass.), Gabrielle Kouzelos (Internationals SC; Wadsworth, Ohio.)
DEFENDERS (6): Malia Berkely (Fairfield Optimist SC; Liberty Township, Ohio.), Tierna Davidson (De Anza Force; Menlo Park, Calif.), Julie Doyle (San Diego Surf; Laguna Niguel, Calif.), Taylor Hallmon (Concorde Fire; Panama City, Fla.), Samantha Hiatt (Crossfire Premier; Newcastle, Wash.), Zoe Morse (Michigan Hawks; East Lansing, Mich.)
MIDFIELDERS (7): Grace Bahr (Internationals SC; Wadsworth, Broadview Heights, Ohio), Marissa Bosco (Eclipse SC; St. Charles, Ill.), Savannah DeMelo (Beach FC; Bellflower, Calif.), Jordan Harr (Dallas Sting; Sachse, Texas), Arlie Jones (San Diego Surf; Las Vegas, Nev.), Daria Petredes (Beach FC; Yorba Linda, Calif.), Haley Schueppert (Real Colorado; Highlands Ranch, Colo.)
FORWARDS (5): Jenna Bike (Connecticut FC; Trumbull, Conn.), Emily Fox (FC Virginia; Ashburn, Va.), Mia Gyau (Bethesda Lions; Silver Springs, Md.), Madison Haley (Dallas Texans; Dallas, Texas), Taylor Ziemer (Santa Rosa United; Santa Rosa, Calif.)
CHICAGO (June 29, 2015) – The Under-16 Girls’ National Team will hold a training camp from Aug. 1-9 at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, California, that will feature 24 players.
This will be the third camp of the year for the U-16 GNT, which features 21 players born in 2000 and three born in 2001.
The U-16 camp will be run by Women’s Development Coach Tricia Taliaferro, who is U.S. Soccer’s main scout for the ’00 birth year. All of the players in this camp are age-eligible for the next FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in 2016, but the main birth year for that tournament is 1999.
This age group is in a two-year cycle that will graduate the players to the U-18 and then the U-20 WNT with the goal of playing in the 2020 FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Cup.
U.S. U-16 GNT Roster by Position:
GOALKEEPERS (3): Katherine Asman (Tophat SC; Roswell, Ga.), Hensley Hancuff (Oklahoma FC; Edmond, Okla.), Katie Meyer (Eagles SC; Newbury Park, Calif.)
DEFENDERS (7): Maycee Bell (Sporting FC Blue Valley; Wichita, Kans.), Emily Crocco (Richmond United; Midlothian, Va.), Margot Ridgeway (Match Fit Academy; Fair Haven, N.J.), Skylar Smith (SoCal Blues; Coto de Caza, Calif.), Julietta Thron (Albertson Fury; Caldwell, N.J.), Madeline Vergura (FC Stars of Mass.; Concord, Mass.), Kennedy Wesley (SoCal Blues; Rossmoor, Calif.)
MIDFIELDERS (7): Ravin Alexander (Ohio Elite; Fairfield, Ohio), Corianna Dyke (Colorado Rush; Littleton, Colo.), Sierra Enge (Carlsbad Elite; Cardiff, Calif.), Brianna Martinez (New Mexico Rush; Albuquerque, N.M.), Kylie Minamishin (Honolulu Bulls; Mililani, Hawaii), Ashlynn Serepca (Carolina Rapids; Cornelius, N.C.), Kali Trevithick (Crossfire Premier; Sammamish, Wash.)
FORWARDS (7): Croix Bethune (Concorde Fire; Alpharetta, Ga.), Lia Godfrey (Oklahoma FC; Edmond, Okla.), Sophie Hirst (Crossfire Premier; Seattle, Wash.), Nohemi Mendoza (Heat FC; Las Vegas, Nev.), Allison Schlegel (Colorado Storm; Parker, Colo.), Sophia Smith (Real Colorado; Fort Collins, Colo.), Brooke Wilson (San Diego Surf; Vista, Calif.)
CHICAGO (July 29, 2015) – U.S. Paralympic National Team head coach Stuart Sharp has named 14 players to represent the United States at the 2015 Parapan American Games in Toronto, Canada.
Preliminary matches begin Sunday, Aug. 9, for the USA when it faces Canada. It will then face Venezuela, Argentina and Brazil on the following consecutive days. Elimination games will take place on Friday, Aug. 14, before the placement games and closing ceremony on Saturday, Aug. 15.
“The players and staff are looking forward to getting on the plane to Toronto to join up with the rest of Team USA at the Parapan American Games next month,” said Sharp. “It has been a busy and successful year for the USPNT program and all the U.S. Soccer National Teams in general, therefore we are keen to continue this momentum.
“We will be taking a squad with only two changes to the group that recently made the quarterfinals of the World Championships, therefore we will have a nice blend of youth and experience in Canada.”
Daniel Hoffman and Jackson McCabe join the team as the only two members who did not participate with the U.S. at the 2015 C.P. World Championships in England. The U.S. finished in 7th place at the World Championships to qualify for the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
“In 2015 so far, with squad qualifying for the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio, we have managed to achieve a number of our objectives but this season is not yet over,” said Sharp. “I am sure there will be teams in Toronto going out prove themselves against us, however we are firmly focused on finishing the competition in a podium place and representing the USA to our best.”
U.S. Paralympic National Team Roster by Position:
GOALKEEPERS (1): Keith Johnson (Houston, Texas)
DEFENDERS (2): Bryce Boarman (Colorado Springs, Colo.), Kevin Hensley (Memphis, Tenn.)
MIDFIELDERS (9): Mason Abbiate (San Diego, Calif.), Adam Ballou (Virginia Beach, Va.), Tyler Bennett (Wadsworth, Ohio), David Garza (Chula Vista, Calif.), Daniel Hoffman (Reisterstown, Md.), Seth Jahn (Tampa, Fla.), Gavin Sibayan (Colorado Spring, Colo.), Marthell Vazquez (Long Beach, Calif.), Jordan Weise (Jacksonville, Fla.)
FORWARDS (2): Jackson McCabe (Boulder, Colo.), Michael Moore (Plano, Texas)