Four-Time Finals Week Squad on Hunt for Second Championship Crown
Baltimore Bays Chelsea’s U-17/18 team has appeared in more Development Academy Finals Weeks than the rest of this year’s field. Baltimore returns once again to a familiar place when it kicks off Finals Week competition in Houston.
How they got to Finals Week: One of three group winners to collect all nine points during the Development Academy Playoffs, Baltimore Bays Chelsea did it with defense, holding opponents to just two total goals in three games. A game-winning goal in the 75th minute of a 2-1 win against Players Development Academy on the last day of competition helped put Baltimore through to Finals Week.
Finals Week and Academy Playoffs History: Baltimore Bays Chelsea is preparing for its fourth trip to Finals Week in the past five years. The inaugural Development Academy Finals Week U-17/18 champion in 2007-08, Baltimore Bays Chelsea is making its third consecutive appearance at Finals Week. The club has finished in fifth place in the past two editions of the tournament.
The first-ever Academy Finals Week is the team’s shining Academy moment. Known simply as Baltimore Bays during the 2007-08 season, the team defeated LAFC 4-2 on July 18, 2008, to win the U-17/18 title in Carson, Calif. The 2007-08 U-17/18 Player of the Year and current forward for USL PRO’s Richmond Kickers Chris Agorsor started that season’s final on the bench with a knee injury. But when LAFC scored the game’s first goal, Agorsor came into the match and tallied a game-tying goal in the 30th minute.
2011-12 Regular Season: Baltimore Bays Chelsea won the Mid-Atlantic Division with a 10-1-1 record, outscoring its opponents 26-7 in 12 division games. The club put together a 20-game unbeaten run during the season, including two separate winning streaks of seven games. Baltimore also held opponents scoreless for 465 consecutive minutes from March 17-April 15.
About head coach Steve Nichols: The Baltimore native has an extensive record of success as a youth coach at the national, regional and state levels. A seven-time Maryland State Coach of the Year, Nichols was named the NSCAA’s National Coach of the Year in 2008. In addition to his duties as Director of Coaching for Baltimore Bays Chelsea, Nichols serves as head coach at McDonogh School in Owings Mills, Md., and as head coach of the Baltimore Bohemians of the USL Premier Development League. As a player, Nichols played at James Madison University before transferring to Loyola College in Baltimore. He spent one year with the Baltimore Spirit in the National Professional Indoor Soccer League and was team captain of the Baltimore Bays of the USISL from 1993-1995.
About Baltimore Bays Chelsea: Formed in 2002 through a joint venture between the Soccer Club of Baltimore and the Baltimore Football Club, Baltimore Bays Chelsea has become a youth soccer powerhouse on the East Coast during the last 10 years. The club won the inaugural U.S. Soccer Development Academy U-17/18 championship in 2007-08 and has been a contender every year.
Scoring Leader in Academy Playoffs: Michael Gamble (2)
Scoring Leader During 2011-12 Regular Season: Michael Gamble (10) and Yaw Amankwa (10)
Inside the Numbers: Baltimore Bays Chelsea kept 16 clean sheets during the 2011-12 regular season … The club has received goals from 11 different players, including seven with five or more goals … Four of Baltimore’s six goals during the Development Academy Playoffs came during the 20-minute span between the 55th minute and 75th minute.
Did you know … Baltimore Bays Chelsea assistant coach Kevin Healey has been a fixture with the Major Indoor Soccer League’s Baltimore Blast since the organization’s 1998-99 National Professional Soccer League season, first joining as the team’s general manager and head coach. Healey, the current team’s President and GM, has been a part of five championship teams, winning MISL titles in 2003, 2004, 2006 and 2008, and the National Indoor Soccer League crown in 2009.
U-17/18 Baltimore Bays 2011-12 Finals Week Schedule:
Home team listed first
Monday, July 16: Solar Chelsea SC vs. Baltimore Bays Chelsea, 9 p.m. CT
Wednesday, July 18: Baltimore Bays Chelsea vs. FC Dallas, 8 p.m. CT
Friday, July 20: Chivas USA vs. Baltimore Bays Chelsea, 9 p.m. CT
Sunday, July 22: TBD