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Sockers FC Reaping Benefits of Year-Round Training Since Joining U.S. Soccer's Development Academy


CHICAGO (October 9, 2008) – Since joining the Development Academy in the inaugural 2007-08 season, Sockers FC’s (Schaumburg, Ill.) training program has been enhanced. The Development Academy standards of training three to four times per week are not new to the Sockers, but Richardson believes that the more structured program has helped move his program in a positive direction.

Though not mandatory, more than half of his players have chosen to forego playing for their high schools and train year-round with the Sockers, a club that boasts alumni such as Men’s National Team players Jay DeMerit, Jonathan Spector and Michael Bradley.

“What the Academy has done is allowed us to continue to do the things we have done well in the past, and now we’ve been able to add some things that we feel makes the experience better in the long run,” said Richardson. “In the past we were training four times a week in the fall, but we also had to play all these different games and in various tournaments in the spring. Now it’s everything we’ve done for years in the fall, but we can do it all year.”

Richardson’s players are able to weigh various factors and make their own decisions, and he believes that the Academy has helped them see options other than playing high school and college soccer.

“As players get older, they tend to see the benefit of the environment we’ve put together and how that serves them as they look to the next step, whether it is college or pro,” he said. “Some players need to go through and experience both options and evaluate them. As an Academy player, they have this option to play year round and we show them what the potential benefits can be.”

The players’ commitment to their club was evident in their first Development Academy season, with both the U-15/16 and U-17/18 teams just missing qualification for the first inaugural Academy Finals Week.

The most recent test for Sockers FC was last weekend’s pair of friendly matches against the Under-17 Men’s National Team at the Socker’s home field in Schaumburg, Ill. Part of the Under-17 MNT Exhibition Tour, this the weekend’s games supplemented the Sockers’ year-round training. The players used the two matches as an opportunity to learn where they need to improve both individually and as a team.

“It was a good experience for our team and it was something they’ve been looking forward to this season,” said Richardson. “It can show them whether they’re close to being at that level, and what we can do to help them bridge that gap over time. They really get to feel that when they experience it, rather than just watching them play someone else.”

The club will now shift its focus back to preparations for the start of the 2008-09 Central Conference season, which kicks off on November 15 when Sockers FC hosts FC Milwaukee at Olympic Park.


Under-15/16 Results:

Friday, Oct. 3
Texas Rush AHFC 1 - 0 Texas SC

Saturday, Oct. 4
Atlanta Fire United 2 - 2 Miami FC Kendall
Birmingham United 2 - 2 Schulz Academy
Richmond Strikers 1 - 0 AFC Lightning
Sockers FC vs. U-17 Youth National Team
LA Galaxy 3 - 0 Cal Odyssey
Chivas USA 1 - 1 De Anza

Sunday, Oct. 5
Atlanta Fire United 0 - 2 Schulz Academy
Richmond Kickers 2 - 3 AFC Lightning
Birmingham United 0 - 0 Miami FC Kendall
Chivas USA 5 - 1 Cal Odyssey
LA Galaxy 3 - 2 De Anza
Nomads 1 - 0 San Diego Surf


Under–17/18 Results:

Friday, Oct. 3
Texas Rush AHFC 0 - 5 Texas SC

Saturday, Oct. 4
Birmingham United 0 - 0 Schulz Academy
Richmond Strikers 2 - 7 AFC Lightning
Sockers FC vs. U-17 Youth National Team
LA Galaxy 0 - 2 Cal Odyssey
Chivas USA 3 - 0 De Anza

Sunday, Oct. 5
Atlanta Fire United 1 - 0 Schulz Academy
Richmond Kickers 1 - 0 AFC Lightning
Chivas USA 4 - 0 Cal Odyssey
LA Galaxy 1 - 2 De Anza
Nomads 1 - 3 San Diego Surf






Under–15/16 Upcoming Matches:

Saturday, Oct. 11
Kickoff           Match-up                                                             Venue
11 a.m. ET    Richmond Strikers vs. U-17 MNT                     Striker Park
1 p.m. ET      IMG Soccer Academy vs. Bridge FA                  IMG Soccer Academy
2 p.m. ET      Clearwater Chargers vs. Richmond Kickers  IMG Soccer Academy
4 p.m. ET      Atlanta Fire United vs. Concorde Fire               Scott Hudgens Park
4 p.m. CT      Texas SC vs. Solar SC                                        Elizabeth Meyer Park
4 p.m. CT       Lonestar vs. Andromeda St.                             Stephen’s Episcopal School
5 p.m. CT      Texas Rush AHFC vs. Dallas Texans             Bear Branch Soccer Complex
5 p.m. CT      Classics Elite vs. FC Dallas                              Trinity University
12 p.m. PT    De Anza vs. Crossfire Premier                            Creekside Park
1 p.m. PT      Cal Odyssey vs. Washington Premier                 Clovis East High School
1 p.m. PT        San Diego Surf vs. LA Galaxy                              San Diego Polo Club
4:30 p.m. PT Santa Cruz County Breakers vs. Mustang SC   Cabrillo College


Sunday, Oct. 12
Kickoff              Match-up                                                                Venue
9 a.m. ET         Clearwater Chargers vs. Bridge FA                   IMG Soccer Academy
9 a.m. ET         IMG Soccer Academy vs. Richmond Kickers   IMG Soccer Academy
9 a.m. CT         Texas SC vs. Dallas Texans                               Elizabeth Meyer Park
9 a.m. CT         Lonestar vs. FC Dallas St. Stephen’s               Episcopal School
1 p.m. CT         Texas Rush AHFC vs. Solar FC Bear                Branch Soccer Complex
3 p.m. CT         Classics Elite vs. Andromeda Texas                 Lutheran University
10 a.m. PT       Cal Odyssey vs. Crossfire Premier                   Clovis East High School
11:30 a.m. PT  Nomads SC vs. Chivas USA                              Kinsell Field
12 p.m. PT       De Anza vs. Washington Premier                      West Valley College


Under–17/18 Upcoming Matches:

Saturday, Oct. 11
Kickoff             Match-up                                                        Venue
1 p.m. ET        Richmond Strikers vs. U-17 MNT                        Striker Park
3 p.m. ET        IMG Soccer Academy vs. Bridge FA                    IMG Soccer Academy
4 p.m. ET        Clearwater Chargers vs. Richmond Kickers    IMG Soccer Academy
2 p.m. ET        Atlanta Fire United vs. Concorde Fire                 Scott Hudgens Park
2 p.m. CT        Texas SC vs. Solar SC                                          Elizabeth Meyer Park
6 p.m. CT        Lonestar vs. Andromeda                                      St. Stephen’s Episcopal School
7 p.m. CT        Texas Rush AHFC vs. Dallas Texans                Bear Branch Soccer Complex
7 p.m. CT         Classics Elite vs. FC Dallas                               Trinity University
10 a.m. PT       De Anza vs. Crossfire Premier                           Creekside Park
3 p.m. PT         Cal Odyssey vs. Washington Premier              Clovis East High School
3:15 p.m. PT   San Diego Surf vs. LA Galaxy                              San Diego Polo Club
7 p.m. PT        Santa Cruz County Breakers vs. Mustang         SC Cabrillo College


Sunday, Oct. 12
Kickoff Match-up Venue
11 a.m. ET      Clearwater Chargers vs. Bridge FA                     IMG Soccer Academy
11 a.m. ET      IMG Soccer Academy vs. Richmond Kickers     IMG Soccer Academy
11 a.m. CT      Texas SC vs. Dallas Texans                                 Elizabeth Meyer Park
11 a.m. CT      Lonestar vs. FC Dallas                                          St. Stephen’s Episcopal School
1 p.m. CT        Texas Rush AHFC vs. Solar FC                           Bear Branch Soccer Complex
3 p.m. CT        Classics Elite vs. Andromeda                              Texas Lutheran University
12 p.m. PT      Cal Odyssey vs. Crossfire Premier                     Clovis East High School
2 p.m. PT        Nomads SC vs. Chivas USA                                  Kinsell Field
2 p.m. PT        De Anza vs. Washington Premier                         West Valley College

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