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Under-18 Men's National Team Has Successful Tournament in Australia With Academy-Heavy Roster


CHICAGO (Jan. 22, 2009) – The U.S. Under-18 Men’s National Team that recently claimed the Australian Youth Olympic Festival championship featured 13 players that are current or former players in Development Academy clubs.

Before traveling to Australia, the U-18s held a 72-player mega camp at The Home Depot Center under Mike Matkovich, who was appointed head coach of the team just days before camp opened. From that camp, 18 players were selected for the Australia tournament.

Four of the players Matkovich selected had never been a part of the Youth National Team program before. Three of those players – Will Bates from the Richmond Strikers, Miles Byass from Arsenal SC and Scott Prozeller of FC Greater Boston – started all three games for the U.S. down under.

“I think that’s a tribute to the mega camp and to the whole process U.S. Soccer went through before I even came on board,” said Matkovich. “I have to give credit there to Tony Lepore, John Hackworth and the whole scouting network. They hired me as the head coach but the network did all the scouting and essentially ‘gave me’ great players.”  

Three players included in the roster were named to the inaugural Development Academy Starting XI squad as Gale Agbossoumonde (IMG Academy), Jossimar Sanchez (PDA) and Zarek Valentin (IMG Academy/PA Classics) earned the honor during the 2007-08 season. As a credit to those who nominated them for that honor, Matkovich chose the trio based on their performance at the mega camp.

“The philosophy I instilled in the Mega Camp from day one was that everything was based on their performance that week,” he said. “Nothing in the past mattered and nothing about their clubs mattered to me.”

Valentin, a defender who is also part of Thomas Rongen’s Under-20 pool, went on to be one of only three players to play all 270 minutes over the course of three games in Sydney.

“Obviously once we got to Australia, players earned their place on the field based on how they were performing,” Matkovich said. “I think it’s a neat thing to see that the system is working in this way and whoever the coach is can find great players quickly."

Now that he has more time to settle into his new position, Matkovich will be scouting more and becoming more involved with the Academy process. With upcoming domestic and foreign training camps ahead in 2009, he hopes to build on the success of his first international trip.

“I’ll be out watching Academy games and seeing a lot of players,” he said. “We had a great trip to Sydney, but there is certainly a lot of work ahead.”


U-15/16 Results
Friday, Jan. 16
Richmond Strikers 1, Bridge FA 1

Saturday, Jan. 17
Arsenal FC 3, LAFC Chelsea 0
Real So Cal 4, Pateadores 1
Atlanta Fire 1, North Meck SC 0
Birmingham United 2, South Charlotte SA 3
Vardar 1, Derby County Wolves 0

Sunday, Jan. 18
Birmingham United 2, North Meck SC 2
Atlanta Fire United 1, South Charlotte SA 2
Richmond Kickers 0, Bridge FA 2
Virginia Rush AS Monaco 0, Greensboro Youth Soccer 3

Monday, Jan. 19
Virginia Rush AS Monaco 2, Bridge FA 1


U-17/18 Results
Friday, Jan. 16
Richmond Strikers 1, Bridge FA 1

Saturday, Jan. 17
Arsenal FC 1, LAFC Chelsea 2
Real So Cal 1, Pateadores 1
Atlanta Fire United 1, North Meck SC 1
Birmingham United 1, South Charlotte SA 1
Vardar 1, Derby County Wolves 0

Sunday, Jan. 18
Birmingham United 2, North Meck SC 1
Atlanta Fire 0, South Charlotte SA 0
Richmond Kickers 1, Bridge FA 0
Virginia Rush AS Monaco 2, Greensboro Youth Soccer 0

Monday, Jan. 19
Virginia Rush AS Monaco 4, Bridge FA 1





U-15/16 Upcoming Matches
Sat, January 24, 2009
Time    Home                                    Away                          Location
10 am     Arsenal FC       vs     Irvine Strikers                  University of California, Riverside
1 pm     Bridge FA            vs     South Charlotte SA        Charleston Southern University
1 pm     Concorde Fire    vs     IMG Soccer Academy    Georgia Soccer Park - Field 1
1 pm     LAFC Chelsea    vs     Real So Cal                     La Canada High School
1 pm     AFC Lightning    vs     Birmingham United       McCurry Park South - Field 21
2 pm     Greensboro Youth Soccer        vs     Richmond Kickers         Bryan Park - Stadium Field
4 pm     CASL Chelsea FC Acad.    vs     Richmond Strikers   WRAL Soccer Center - Stadium Field
9 pm     Vardar                  vs     Carmel United SC         Ultimate Soccer Arena - Field 1

Sun, January 25, 2009
Time    Home                             Away                                         Location
9 am     Greensboro Youth Soccer               vs     Richmond Strikers         Bryan Park - Stadium Field
9 am     CASL Chelsea FC Acad.    vs     Richmond Kickers         WRAL Soccer Center - Stadium Field
10 am     AFC Lightning          vs     IMG Soccer Academy    McCurry Park South - Field 21
1 pm     Atlanta Fire United    vs     Birmingham United       Scott Hudgens Park - Field 2


U-17/18 Upcoming Matches
Sat, January 24, 2009
Time    Home                                Away                                  Location
12 pm     Arsenal FC      vs            Irvine Strikers        University of California, Riverside
3 pm     Bridge FA            vs          South Charlotte SA        Charleston Southern University
3 pm     Concorde Fire    vs           IMG Soccer Academy    Georgia Soccer Park - Field 1
3 pm     LAFC Chelsea    vs           Real So Cal U-17/18     La Canada High School
3 pm     AFC Lightning     vs            Birmingham United    McCurry Park South - Field 21
4 pm     Greensboro Youth Soccer       vs            Richmond Kickers        Bryan Park - Stadium Field
6 pm     CASL Chelsea FC Acad.    vs     Richmond Strikers        WRAL Soccer Center - Stadium Field
9 pm     Vardar                   vs           Carmel United SC        Ultimate Soccer Arena - Field 1
 
Sun, January 25, 2009
Time    Home                                      Away                                         Location
11 am     Greensboro Youth Soccer               vs     Richmond Strikers          Bryan Park - Stadium Field
11 am     CASL Chelsea FC Acad.    vs     Richmond Kickers          WRAL Soccer Center - Stadium Field
12 pm     AFC Lightning           vs     IMG Soccer Academy      McCurry Park South - Field 21
3 pm     Atlanta Fire United     vs     Birmingham United         Scott Hudgens Park - Field 2
 

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