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2008-09 U.S. Soccer Development Academy U-17/18 Conference Starting XI Teams Unveiled

CHICAGO (July 9, 2009) – The 2008-09 U-17/18 Development Academy Conference Starting XI and Conference Coaches of the Year have been unveiled as Development Academy Finals Week is set to kick off on Friday, July 10, at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif.

A total of 44 players selected to the Starting XI teams, chosen by Development Academy clubs and national staff coaches, represent 31 different clubs. Four clubs - PDA, Miami FC Kendall, CASL FC Chelsea and Chivas USA - have three players represented on their respective Conference Starting XIs. The Central Conference is the most evenly distributed with 10 different clubs represented, as only the Crew Soccer Academy having two players on that list in goalkeeper Justin Luthy and defender Matt Wiet.

Wiet is one of a number of Conference honorees who has spent time with youth national teams, due in part to the vast network of Development Academy technical advisors and scouts. He recently teamed up with Gatorade Player of the Year Dillon Powers (Andromeda) and Andrew Wenger (PA Classics) for a trip to Egypt with Thomas Rongen’s Under-20 Men’s National Team, where the U.S. won and drew against the hosts of the upcoming FIFA U-20 World Cup.

Will Bates (Richmond Strikers), Miles Byass (Arsenal SC) and Powers also traveled with the Under-18 MNT to Lisbon, Portugal, in late May, where the Americans topped Finland and battled to a scoreless draw against Germany before falling to Portugal in an impressive showing under head coach Mike Matkovich. Steve Palumbo (Seacoast United), Jossimar Sanchez (PDA) and London Woodberry (FC Dallas Juniors) have also participated in prior camps with the U-18s.

Chivas USA Academy’s Bryan de le Fuente and FC DELCO’s Joseph Schmid participated on the Development Academy Select Teams that squared off against the U.S. U-17 MNT at the Spring Showcase in Sarasota, Fla. Schmid went on to participate in ensuing training camps under head coach Wilmer Cabrera and his staff as they continue preparations for the FIFA U-17 World Cup this fall.

IMG Academy goalkeeper Larry Jackson, who was honored in the South Conference Starting XI, spent three semesters in U.S. Soccer’s U-17 Residency Program. Korey Veeder (Clearwater Chargers) and Jesse Paredes (Chivas USA Academy) were also part of Residency for two semesters while LAFC Chelsea’s Pablo Cruz (LAFC Chelsea) spent one semester in Bradenton, Fla.

The Development Academy Starting XI and Players and Coaches of the Year will be announced next week, when Finals Week will be well underway. Now wrapping up its second season, the U.S. Soccer Development Academy has improved the training environment, provided relevant, high-level matches on a consistent basis, increased the level and efficiency of scouting for the national teams and provided players, coaches and referees with structured programming.

Eight teams from each age group will face off at the U.S. Soccer National Training Center in Carson, Calif., during Development Academy Finals Week from July 10-17. Two groups of four teams will play on the fields used by the U.S. National Team Programs, including the Men's National Team. Finals week will conclude with placement matches on Thursday, July 16, for the U-17/18 age group and Friday, July 17, for the U-15/16 age group. To advance to finals week, the 16 teams below finished atop a four-team group at the Academy Playoffs.

2008-09 East Conference U-17/18 Starting XI:
GOALKEEPER (1): Rafael Diaz (PDA)
DEFENDERS (3): Greg Cochrane (FC DELCO), Ethan White (D.C. United Academy), Jossimar Sanchez (PDA)
MIDFIELDERS (5): Zak Kupfer (Albertson SC), Steve Palumbo (Seacoast United), Andrew Wenger (PA Classics), Paul Torres (D.C. United Academy), Joseph Schmid (FC DELCO)
FORWARDS (2): Brian Rogers (Albertson SC), Ryan Finley (PDA)

East Conference Coach of the Year: Steve Klein (PA Classics)

2008-09 Central Conference U-17/18 Starting XI:
GOALKEEPER (1): Justin Luthy (Crew Soccer Academy)
DEFENDERS (3): Matt Wiet (Crew Soccer Academy), Taylor Kemp (Real Colorado), London Woodberry (FC Dallas Juniors)
MIDFIELDERS (4): Nikita Kotlov (Carmel United SC), Dillon Powers (Andromeda), Ian Christianson (Chicago Fire Academy), Josh Beard (Sockers FC)
FORWARDS (3): Seth Rudolph (St. Louis Scott Gallagher Metro), Zack Foxhoven (Colorado Rush AS Monaco), Shane Lyons (Derby County Wolves)

Central Conference Coach of the Year: Oscar Pareja (FC Dallas Juniors)

2008-09 South Conference U-17/18 Starting XI:
GOALKEEPER (1): Larry Jackson (IMG Soccer Academy)
DEFENDERS (4): Andrew Quintana (Miami FC Kendall), Isack Nyongabo (CASL FC Chelsea), Daniel Villegas (Miami FC Kendall), Korey Veeder (Clearwater Chargers)
MIDFIELDERS (4): Ryan Metts (CASL Chelsea FC), Steven Saballos (Miami FC Kendall), Eli Garner (CASL FC Chelsea), Eric Lawrence (AFC Lightning)
FORWARDS (2): Eduardo Alvarez (Greensboro Youth Soccer), Will Bates (Richmond Strikers)

South Conference Coach of the Year: Peter Mannino (Clearwater Chargers)

2008-09 West Conference U-17/18 Starting XI:
GOALKEEPER (1): Juan Quiroz (Chivas USA Academy)
DEFENDERS (3): Anthony Arena (Crossfire Premier), Bryan de la Fuente (Chivas USA Academy), Chris Smith (Real So Cal)
MIDFIELDERS (4): Anthony Salciccia (De Anza Force), Miles Byass (Arsenal FC), Pablo Cruz (LAFC Chelsea), Jesse Paredes (Chivas USA Academy)
FORWARDS (3): Norberto Ochoa (Arsenal FC), Benny Estes (Pateadores), Rodolfo Godinez (Nomads SC)

West Conference Coach of the Year: Derek Armstrong (Nomads SC)