Across the Academy - March 22
Five Academy Alumni Hoping to Book Spot in London Olympics: The U.S. Under-23 Menâ€™s National Team kicks off 2012 CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying on Thursday against Cuba at LP Field in Nashville, Tenn. The match begins at 8 p.m. CT and will be broadcast live on Universal Sports Network, mun2 and CONCACAF.com. Group play also includes matches against Canada (Saturday, March 24) and El Salvador (Monday, March 26). Four players on the roster have Development Academy ties: forward Juan Agudelo, defender Zarek Valentin, midfielder Joe Corona and goalkeeper Bill Hamid.
Busy Week Ahead for League: The final full weekend in March caps what will be the busiest month of the Academy season thus far, featuring 76 fixtures to finish off the month with 276 total fixtures. All divisions are in full swing as every Academy team has played six or more matches thus far. With some divisions coming to a close, Academy teams will be fixated on their final push for automatic playoff qualification.
Albertson Hosts FC DELCO: In an East Conference matchup, the Liberty Divisionâ€™s Albertson SC hosts the Mid-Atlantic Divisionâ€™s FC DELCO U-17/18 team on Saturday. Albertson is off to a 5-1-2 start, averaging two goals a game but more impressively allowing less than one goal a game (seven goals allowed in eight matches). FC DELCO is 5-1-3 on the season with 19 goals in nine games.
LAST WEEKâ€™S HIGHLIGHTS:
- Grant Baltes scored a 54th-minute goal as the Internationals U-17/18 team secured a big road victory, topping FC Dallas 1-0 last Sunday. Internationals improved to 5-2-0 while FC Dallas fell to 18-2-3. Internationals shut out an FC Dallas team that is averaging nearly three goals per game (64 goals in 23 matches).
- Players Development Academyâ€™s U-15/16 team overcame an early deficit to defeat D.C. United 2-1, improving to 8-1-0 on the season. D.C. Unitedâ€™s Michael Seaton scored a 12th-minute goal to gain the early advantage, but PDAâ€™s Kazari Trought and Leandro Lemache found the net in the 40th and 73rd minutes, respectively.
- Charlotte Soccer Academy posted a victory and a draw last weekend, with the U-17/18 team recording a 3-0 victory against IMG Soccer Academy. Hans Honor, Roland Minogue IV and Kyle Parker each had a goal. The Charlotte Soccer Academy U-15/16 team earned a 1-1 draw against IMG, with Giovanni Castro netting a 52nd-minute equalizer. IMG Soccer Academyâ€™s Brett Gravatt had a 35th-minute goal.
- First-half goals from Jordan Schweitzer, Ike Crook and Ian Lange helped the Seattle Sounders FC U-17/18 team defeat Crossfire Premier 3-1 on Sunday to maintain its second-place position in the Northwest Division. The Sounders (8-7-3 overall, 6-4-1 in the division) moved to within three points of first-place De Anza Force. Crossfire Premier (7-7-5 overall, 4-5-2 Northwest Division) is tied for third in the division with the Vancouver Whitecaps.
Week 26 Player of the Week: Alexander Bono, Goalkeeper, Empire United
Alexander Bono helped the Empire United U-17/18 team play to a 1-1 draw against Albertson SC last Saturday, followed by a 4-1 victory against FC Westchester on Sunday. Bono played the full 90 minutes on both days as he and the Empire United defense have conceded only 11 goals this season in nine games (1.22 average). Through Bonoâ€™s nine starts, Empire United has posted a 5-2-2 record and sits in first place in the Northeast Division.
Referee of the Week: Robert Sibiga
Robert Sibiga earns Referee of the Week honors for his performance during this past weekendâ€™s U-17/18 game between Met Oval and PA Classics. The 38-year-old grade 4 national referee has worked more than 40 Academy matches. He is a former 2010-11 Referee of the Week and worked the 2011 U-17/18 Academy championship between FC Dallas and Pateadores. Sibiga has been to the 2009 Spring Showcase and 2010 Winter Showcase, the 2011 Playoffs and 2011 Finals Week. He has worked regularly for MLS Reserve matches, WPS and W-League matches, PDL and USL PRO.
ACADEMY ALUMNI NEWS AND NOTES:
Nagbe Delivers: Development Academy alum (Internationals) and Portland Timbers forward Darlington Nagbe notched an equalizer last weekend to help Portland pull off a 1-1 road draw against FC Dallas. Visit The YNT Blog for the latest Development Academy alumni news.
ACADEMY IN THE NEWS:
- Q & A with U-23 MNT GK Coach Eric Yamamoto (talks about Academy alum Bill Hamid) â€“ ussoccer.com
- Klinsmann: U.S. Soccer Reaching to Find Talent from New Areas â€“ Goal.com
- N.Y. Red Bulls Academy Teams Go Perfect 9-0 â€“ SoccerAmerica.com
- Internationals Pull Big Upset in Dallas â€“ SoccerAmerica.com
- Colorado Rushâ€™s Ruben Siguenza Records Hat Trick â€“ TopDrawerSoccer.com
- Fire Gain Weekend Wins â€“ Potomac Soccer Wire