Since 2007, the U.S. Soccer Development Academy has strived to impact the Men’s National Team – never has the program’s influence been more felt than the four-day camp leading into Wednesday’s match against rival Mexico. The Academy is represented both on the field, with two former players participating in the camp, and on the sidelines, where Klinsmann’s staff has a wealth of experience at the elite youth level.
Here is a brief look at sixrepresentatives of the Development Academy who are currently in Philadelphia representing the MNT.
On the field ...
Bill Hamid joined the D.C. United Academy program in 2007, and by the next year he had been named the best U-17/18 goalkeeper in the Development Academy’s Mid-Atlantic Conference. In 2009, he was the top choice ‘kepeer for the D.C. United team that finished second at Finals Week, earning a 20-4-5 record during the course of that season. Hamid was the first D.C. United player to sign a Homegrown player contract in 2009, and has become the club’s top-choice goalkeeper.
Forward Juan Agudelo has already earned 10 caps with the Men’s National Team, so it’s easy to forget that he is still just 18 years old and debuted just nine months ago. When he stepped on the field in the 61st minute against South Africa on Nov. 17, 2010, he became the first product of the Development Academy program to appear for the MNT – 24 minutes later he became the first to score. The former New York Red Bulls Academy striker has scored five goals in Major League Soccer since signing a Homegrown contract in 2010.
On the sidelines …
Head coach Jurgen Klinsmann will begin his tenure by working with a range of assistant coaches. For his first training camp, he has called on three Development Academy coaches to work alongside him.
Martin Vasquez recently took over as the head coach and Director of Soccer Operations at Real Salt Lake AZ in Casa Grande, Ariz. There he will oversee all things soccer at Grande Sports World, while leading the U-15/16 and U-17/18 teams affiliated with Real Salt Lake.
A U.S. Soccer Hall of Famer, Thomas Dooley played in two FIFA World Cups during his playing career before transitioning to coaching. He was part of the technical staff for the Pateadores U-17/18 team that captured the Finals Week championship in July in Milwaukee.
Another Hall of Fame inductee, legendary midfielder Tab Ramos appeared in three World Cups while earning 81 caps for the MNT, and in 1996 was the first player ever signed by Major League Soccer. After hanging up his boots, Ramos founded NJSA 04, a Development Academy club in Aberdeen, N.J. He serves as the president and executive director of the club, and also worked with the U-20 MNT this year.
Goalkeeper coach Mike Curry worked with ‘keepers at FC DELCO during the first three years of the Development Academy. He oversaw goalkeeper training for the entire club, focusing on the Academy age groups and prioritizing overall player development.