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2010 Development Academy Finals Week U-17/18 Team Previews

U-17/18 Group A

Team Name: Derby County Wolves
Location: Livonia, Mich.
Great Lakes Division
Central Conference
Overall Record: 14-3-5 (57 GF, 23 GA)
Playoff Seed: No. 8
Playoff Results: 3-0-0 (10 GF, 3 GA)

June 26 Derby County Wolves U-17/18 4-1 PA Classics U-17/18
June 27 Greensboro Youth Soccer U-17/18 0-3 Derby County Wolves U-17/18
June 29 Derby County Wolves U-17/18 3-2 NY Red Bulls U-17/18

Head coach: David Hicklin
Key Players: Reed Losee, Nathan Hicklin, Jordan Tyler, Joshua Gatt, Sean Cunningham

How they got here:
Last year’s U-15/16 champions return to try and repeat Indiana United Academy’s (formerly Carmel United) feat of last year by winning the U-17/18 title as well. 15 players from last year’s team return to Finals Week, after finishing runners-up in the Great Lakes Division to none other than Indiana United Academy. Fellow division team Vardar is in Group B, illustrating the gauntlet the Wolves have had to go through to finish the season so strong.

Reed Losee returned with 13 goals on the year and will be looked to for his experience as well on the attacking side of the ball. Goalkeeper Adam Grinwis returns to backstop the Wolves, while Nathan Hicklin and Jordan Tyler drive the midfield for the Livonia club.

Team Name: Crossfire Premier
Location: Redmond, Wash.
Northwest Division
West Conference
Overall Record: 13-6-8 (50 GF, 41 GA)
Playoff Seed: No. 23
Playoff Results: 2-0-1 (6 GF, 1 GA)

June 26 Crew Soccer Academy U-17/18 1-1 Crossfire Premier U-17/18
June 27 Crossfire Premier U-17/18 1-0 Dallas Texans U-17/18
June 29 Crossfire Premier U-17/18 4-0 LAFC Chelsea U-17/18

Head Coach: Bernie James
Key Players: Kelyn Rowe, Liam Kelly, Jose Ocampo

How they got here:
Crossfire Premier got off to a slow start in their division this season, finishing fourth, but countered that with stellar out-of-division play to earn a Wild Card berth into Playoffs. Once there, Crossfire overcame an initial draw to win their second match and set up a must-win final game—where they convincingly dispatched LAFC Chelsea to earn their trip to Los Angeles.

Liam Kelly and Kelyn Rowe account for an astonishing 44 of the team’s 56 goals this season including Playoffs, meaning that as they go, so will Crossfire. But a renewed defensive strength came at the right time in Greensboro, giving a solid base for the Washington club to depend on while they look to feed their attack.

Team Name: FC Dallas
Location: Dallas, Texas
Texas Division
Central Conference
Overall Record: 17-5-3 (53 GF, 28 GA)
Playoff Seed: No. 7
Playoff Results: 3-0-0 (9 GF, 5 GA)

June 26 F.C. Dallas U-17/18 3-2 Clearwater Chargers U-17/18
June 27 FC Greater Boston U-17/18 1-3 F.C. Dallas U-17/18
June 29 F.C. Dallas U-17/18 3-2

Head coach: Oscar Pareja
Key Players: Ruben Luna, Steven Adams, Moises Hernandez, Marlon Duran, Michael Ambrose, Victor Ulloa

How they got here:
FC Dallas returns to Finals Week one year after attending as a U-15/16 club, this year winning their highly contested division that sent four teams to Playoffs. They’re currently on an 11-game winning streak that at one point saw four shutouts in a row from the Texas club. Several players from last year’s squad have returned to help make up for the loss of Bryan Leyva, who signed with the club professionally this past year.

Last year’s U-15/16 Player of the Year Ruben Luna is the focal point of the attack with 25 goals in 26 appearances, including three in Greensboro. Midfielder Victor Ulloa is an engine in the midfield, starting 26 times this season for Dallas. The only one more consistent than Ulloa has been defender Moises Hernandez, whose two goals prove he’s more than just a reliable back.

Team Name: CASL Chelsea FC Academy
Location: Raleigh, N.C.
Atlantic Division
South Conference
Overall Record: 15-4-10 (46 GF, 20 GA)
Playoff Seed: No. 14
Playoff Results: 2-0-1 (4 GF, 2 GA)

June 26 CASL Chelsea FC Academy U-17/18 1-1 D.C. United U-17/18
June 27 Houston Dynamo U-17/18 1-2 CASL Chelsea FC Academy U-17/18
June 29 Colorado Rush AJ Auxerre U-17/18 0-1 CASL Chelsea FC Academy U-17/18

Head coach: Rusty Scarborough
Key Players: Chipper Root, Jared Girard

How they got here:
Finishing second in the Atlantic Division to in-state rivals Greensboro Youth Soccer, the CASL Chelsea FC Academy U-17/18s kept up their club’s impressive record of placing teams in Finals Week in both age groups this year with a gritty performance in Playoffs. Despite dropping points in their first match, the No. 2 seed rebounded to win their next two must-win matches to return to Finals Week.

Midfielder Chipper Root is the team’s top scorer, netting 15 goals on the year for the counter-attacking Chelsea club. Root’s ability to pressure an opponent into a turnover and quickly start the counter will be tested amongst the three other Group 1 finalists. Also in the midfield is Jared Girard, who has started 30 of the 31 matches he’s played in this year, providing consistency alongside Root.

U-17/18s Group B

Team Name: Real So Cal
Location: Calabasas, Calif.
SoCal Division
West Conference
Overall Record: 21-3-5 (77 GF, 23 GA)
Playoff Seed: No. 2
Playoff Results: 3-0-0 (6 GF, 2 GA)

June 26 Real So Cal U-17/18 2-0 Washington Premier FC U-17/18
June 27 Match Fit Chelsea U-17/18 2-3 Real So Cal U-17/18
June 29 Real So Cal U-17/18 1-0 Sockers FC U-17/18

Head coach: Julio Castillo
Key Players: Emilio Orozco, Moises Orozco, Edwin Rivas, Victor Chavez

How they got here:
The only local team at Finals Week, Real So Cal entered Playoffs on a seven-game unbeaten streak and kept right on rolling through Greensboro. Their 77 goals scored on the season propelled them to the top of the SoCal Division and a No.2 seed in Playoffs. They’ll face stiff competition, however, in Carson with two other division winners in Group 2.

Edwin Rivas is to be credited with most of that offensive prowess, contributing 18 goals during the season. But fellow strikers Victor Chavez and Samuel Ball scored 27 combined, illustrating the potency of the So Cal front line. In the midfield, Moises Orozco combines with defender and cousin Emilio to be true two-way players—able to stop the opposing team’s attack, but also responsible for ten goals of their own on the year.

Team Name: Concorde Fire
Location: Atlanta, Ga.
Southeast Division
South Conference
Overall Record: 20-6-4 (75 GF, 36 GA)
Playoff Seed: No. 10
Playoff Results: 3-0-0 (8 GF, 2 GA)

June 26 Concorde Fire U-17/18 3-2 Lonestar Aztex Academy U-17/18
June 27 New England Revolution U-17/18 0-4 Concorde Fire U-17/18
June 29 Indiana United Academy U-17/18 0-1 Concorde Fire U-17/18

Head coach: Ken Kurilec
Key Players: Carlos McCrary, Chris Duvall, Arturo Cruz

How they got here:
Yet another division winner in the U-17/18s, Atlanta’s Concorde Fire took the Southeast Division by only one point over IMG Soccer Academy. Averaging 2.5 goals a game, the Fire showed their strength in the first two games of Playoffs, scoring three and four goals. But it was their hard fought 1-0 win over No. 1 seed Indiana United Academy that put them into the final eight, displaying a determination and grit that will surely be called upon against top competition this week.

Carlos McCrary leads the team in scoring with 22 goals on the year after playing in all 30 games of the regular season. Midfielder Arturo Cruz also hit double digits in goals scored with ten however, while fellow midfielder Chris Duvall started every game of the regular season to provide a consistent presence in the center of the park.

Team Name: Vardar
Location: Rochester Hills, Mich.
Great Lakes Division
Central Conference
Overall Record: 12-6-4 (54 GF, 31 GA)
Playoff Seed: No. 19
Playoff Results: 2-1-0 (6 GF, 5 GA)

June 26 California Development Academy U-17/18 1-2 Vardar U-17/18
June 27 Vardar U-17/18 1-2 IMG Soccer Academy U-17/18
June 29 Vardar U-17/18 3-2 FC Milwaukee U-17/18

Head coach: Demir Muftari
Key Players: Caleb Stanko, Peter Jacobson, Ezekiel Harris

How they got here:
One of only two Wild Card teams to make it through Playoffs and into Finals Week, Vardar finished fourth in a tough Great Lakes Division behind three fellow Playoff teams. They emerged atop a Group H at Playoffs that saw each team earn at least one win, the only group to do so. Needing a win in their final game to advance, Vardar pulled out an exciting 3-2 victory to head to Finals Week for the first time in club history.

Forwards Peter Jacobson scored 17 goals this season to take top honors on the team, just one more than strike partner Ezekiel Harris. A strong midfield backs up the pair, netting 15 of its own. Caleb Stanko starts on the left midfield, but drifts up and down the field as the attack dictates, often the catalyst for balls up to Jacobson and Harris.

Team Name: Baltimore Bays Chelsea
Location: Baltimore, Md.
Mid-Atlantic Division
East Conference
Overall Record: 20-4-6 (75 GF, 29 GA)
Playoff Seed: No. 5
Playoff Results: 3-0-0 (11 GF, 4 GA)

June 26 Baltimore Bays Chelsea U-17/18 4-1 FC Westchester U-17/18
June 27 Texas SC DTH U-17/18 2-5 Baltimore Bays Chelsea U-17/18
June 29 Baltimore Bays Chelsea U-17/18 2-1 Chicago Fire U-17/18

Head coach: Steve Nichols
Key Players: Marquez Fernandez, Mamadou Kansaye, Oumar Ballo, Michael Raley, Peter Caringi

How they got here:
Winners of their Mid-Atlantic Division, Baltimore Bays Chelsea is one of two clubs to have both a U-15/16 and U-17/18 squad here at Finals Week. The U-17/18s won the inaugural Development Academy National Championship in 2008, but were unable to reach the final eight last year. This season, behind a scorching 75 goals scored and a 2.20 points per game average, they earned the No. 1 seed heading into Playoffs. Once in Greensboro, they took control authoritatively, with four and five goals in their first and second games, respectively. They arrive in Los Angeles on a seven-game winning streak, looking to reclaim their title of two years ago.

Striker Peter Caringi is the spearhead of this Baltimore attack, scoring 14 goals on the season. But immediately behind him are midfielders Mamadou Kansaye (14 goals on the year) and Michael Raley, who’s scored ten. Marquez Fernandez and Oumar Ballo anchor a backline that gave up just under one goal a game all season, with Ballo starting all 32 matches he’s played in.