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U15/16 Development Academy Honors Announced as Chicago Fire are Crowned Champion

CARSON, Calif. (July 16, 2010) –U.S. Soccer has announced the Development Academy Starting XI, Player and Coach of the Year and conference honors for the U-15/16 age group on the last day of Finals Week at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. The awards were announced on the Academy Update show following Friday night’s championship match between the Chicago Fire and Cal Odyssey.

The U-15/16 Player of the Year is forward Raul Mendiola from Arsenal, who scored seven goals in 23 appearances to lead Arsenal to the top of the highly competitive So Cal Conference. Mendiola, who was born in 1994, helped his team score 60 goals in 28 games with only four losses during the regular season.

The 2009-10 U-15/16 Coach of the Year is CASL Chelsea FC’s Carlos Somoano, who led his team to a seventh place finish at Finals Week. CASL FC Chelsea finished the regular season with a 20-1-7 overall record and the Atlantic Division title.

Three players who make up the 11-man Academy Starting XI are participating at Finals Week in Jalen Robinson (D.C. United), Vlad Lekarev (Internationals) and Michael Gamble (Baltimore Bays Chelsea). All but one member of the team participated in playoffs in Greensboro, N.C. and all 11 represent a different Development Academy club.

New England Revolution are the only team to place two players on the East Conference Starting XI, which contributed six players to the Academy XI. Led by East Conference Coach of the Year Brian Scales, the Revolution finished atop the Northeast Division standings.

Central Conference Coach of the Year Jared Embick led his Cleveland-based Internationals to a fifth-place finish in the club’s first Finals Week, while Chicago Fire midfielder Victor Pineda leaves Carson with both a spot on the list of honorees and also a Finals Week championship.

The South Conference features two players each from Greensboro, Weston FC, South Carolina United and CASL Chelsea FC, who finished Finals Week with a seventh-place finish as the lone South Conference representative in this age group in Carson.

In the West Conference, three California Development Academy players were honored, along with two players from 2009-10 runners up Cal Odyssey’s two honorees. Arsenal’s P.J. Brown took the conference coaching honor, while two Arsenal players, Mendiola and Adam Zepeda earned a spot on the Starting XI team.

The Development Academy playoff system was created to add to the number of meaningful games for Academy athletes, further enhancing the player development process. Since its launch in the fall of 2007, the Academy has improved the training environment, provided relevant, high-level matches on a consistent basis, increased the level and efficiency of scouting for the national teams and provided players, coaches and referees with structured programming.

U-15/16 Development Academy Starting XI
DEFENDERS: Jalen Robinson (D.C. United), Vlad Lekarev (Internationals), Brian Gallego (New York Red Bulls), Marcial Cazares (Chivas USA)
MIDFIELDERS: Daniel Metzger (PDA), Diego Fagundez (New England Revolution), Will Trapp (Crew Soccer Academy), Miguel Lopez (Lonestar Aztex Academy)
FORWARDS: Raul Mendiola (Arsenal FC), Michael Gamble (Baltimore Bays Chelsea)

U-15/16 Development Academy Player of the Year: Raul Mendiola, Arsenal FC
U-15/16 Development Academy Coach of the Year: Carlos Somoano, CASL Chelsea FC

U-15/16 East Conference Starting XI
DEFENDERS: Dakota Edwards (Albertson SC), Jalen Robinson (D.C. United), Kyle Roach (PDA), Taylor Washington (FC Westchester)
MIDFIELDERS: Diego Fagundez (New England Revolution), Christian Johnson (BW Gottschee NYC), Daniel Metzger (PDA), Andres Penfold (FC Westchester)
FORWARDS: Michael Gamble (Baltimore Bays Chelsea), Felix Debona (New England Revolution)

East Conference Coach of the Year: Bryan Scales, New England Revolution

U-15/16 Central Conference Starting XI
GOALKEEPER: Jonathan Kempin (Kansas City Wizards)
DEFENDERS: Sean Cunningham (Derby County Wolves), Vlad Lekerev (Internationals), Zach Carroll (Vardar), Kristian Garciamendez-Rowold (Andromeda)
MIDFIELDERS: Will Trapp (Crew Soccer Academy), Victor Pineda (Chicago Fire), Caleb Stanko (Vardar), Miguel Lopez (Lonestar Aztex Academy)
FORWARDS: Jonathan Top (FC Dallas), Leobardo Vazquez (Texas SC DTH)

Central Conference Coach of the Year: Jared Embick, Internationals

U-15/16 South Conference Starting XI
GOALKEEPER: Andrew Wolverton (Concorde Fire)
DEFENDERS: Jonathan Campbell (Greensboro Youth Soccer), Verneri Valimaa (Weston FC), Alessandro Mion (Miami FC Kendall)
MIDFIELDERS: Brian James (Weston FC), Nestor Jamarillo (South Carolina United FC), Cooper Vandermaas-Peeler (CASL Chelsea FC), Jonathan Ray (CASL Chelsea FC Academy), Joseph Amon (South Carolina United FC)
FORWARDS: Eduardo Alvarez (Greensboro Youth Soccer), Ryan Zinhan (Richmond Strikers)

South Conference Coach of the Year: Carlos Samoano, CASL Chelsea FC Academy

U-15/16 West Conference Starting XI
GOALKEEPER: Adam Zepeda (Arsenal FC)
DEFENDERS: Alexis Flores (Chivas USA), Joshua Alvarez (Cal Odyssey), Grant Silvester (CDA), Marcial Cazares (Chivas USA)
MIDFIELDERS: Oscar Gonzalez (San Diego Surf), Juan Guerrero (Mustang SC), Connor Hallisey (CDA), Seth Casiple (CDA) 
FORWARDS: Raul Mendiola (Arsenal FC), Villyan Bijev (Cal Odyssey)

West Conference Coach of the Year: P.J. Brown, Arsenal