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U-17/18 Finals Week Team Previews

Team Name: Real Colorado
Location: Highlands Ranch, Colo.
Frontier Division
Central Conference
Overall Record: 22-7-3 (70 GF, 32 GA)
Playoff Seed: No. 10
Playoff Results: 3-0-0 (8 GF, 2 GA)

June 26 Real Colorado U-17/18


Virginia Rush AS Monaco U-17/18
June 27 Richmond Kickers U-17/18


Real Colorado U-17/18
June 29 Crossfire Premier U-17/18


Real Colorado U-17/18

Head Coach: Neil Payne
Key Players: Defenders Matt Hemmett, Taylor Kemp and Kyle Venter, midfielder/forward Alex Tarnoczi

How they got here:
Real Colorado finished in third place in the competitive Frontier Division, sealing its place at Development Academy Playoffs with a 19-7-3 regular season record. As the No. 10 seed in Greensboro, N.C., Conference Starting XI honoree Taylor Kemp led the defense to two shutouts in the two opening games of Playoffs before battling with seventh-seeded Crossfire Premier with the group title at stake.

Kyle Venter, Drew Beckie and Matt Hemmett, who leads the team with 31 appearances, each scored for Real Colorado in its key victory that clinched a place at Finals Week. Head coach Neil Payne relied on Alex Tarnoczi and Kemp to lead the Highland Ranch club’s potent attack with 10 and nine goals respectively, as the team scored 70 goals to average more than two goals per game throughout the season.

Team Name: PDA

Location: Zarephath, N.J.
Mid-Atlantic Division
East Conference
Overall Record: 21-7-6 (63 GF, 39 GA)
Playoff Seed: No. 14
Playoff Results: 2-0-1 (5 GF, 1 GA)

June 26 PDA U-17/18


Columbus Crew U-17/18
June 27 De Anza Force U-17/18


PDA U-17/18
June 29 Albertson U-17/18


PDA U-17/18

Head Coach: George Nazario
Key Players: Goalkeeper Rafael Diaz, defender Jossimar Sanchez, midfielder Anthony Ciccone, forwards Ryan Finley and Dylan Renna

How they got here:
One of four teams in Finals Week that are here for a second consecutive year (last year as a U-15/16 club), PDA opened this season with a 1-4-1 record in their first six games. Getting back on track, the team found its stride in the last two months before playoffs, rattling off a 14-game unbeaten streak and building up a 12-0-2 record through March and April to end the regular season as division leaders.
Much of the team’s offense came from the foot of Conference Starting XI honoree Ryan Finley, who scored 26 goals in 26 appearances, while high school junior Dylan Renna added eight of his own. In the back, PDA demonstrated a stout defensive presence during playoffs, as Conference Starting XI defender Jossimer Sanchez and goalkeeper Rafael Diaz conceded only one goal in three games. Facing a must-win third game against Alberston, Finley and Sanchez lifted their team with a goal each to send the New Jersey-based squad through to Finals Week, where it will look to avenge last year’s championship game loss to Carmel United SC.

Team Name: CASL Chelsea FC

Location: Raleigh, N.C.
Atlantic Division
South Conference
Overall Record: 24-2-5 (71 GF, 19 GA)
Playoff Seed: No. 2
Playoff Results: 3-0-0 (6 GF, 1 GA)

June 26 CASL Chelsea FC Academy


Real So Cal U-17/18
June 27 Miami FC Kendall U-17/18


CASL Chelsea FC Academy
June 29 CASL Chelsea FC Academy



Head Coach: Rusty Scarborough
Key Players: Forwards Martin Murphy and Charles Root, midfielders Ryan Metts and Eli Garner, defenders Kevin Stam and Isack Nyongabo

How they got here:
Coming into playoff weekend as a No. 2 seed, CASL Chelsea FC Academy continued to illustrate why they tasted defeat only twice on the course of the season. Scoring six goals while conceding only one during Academy Playoffs, the Raleigh-based squad cruised through the weekend to earn a place in Finals Week.

Offensive production has been spread throughout the team, with three players scoring double-digit goals. Led by forward Martin Murphy, who scored 14 goals in 27 appearances, CASL averaged a remarkable 2.29 goals per game, while taking first place in the South Conference in the process. On the other side of the ball, a defense led by South Conference Starting XI honoree Isack Nyongabo and Kevin Stam kept a strong .61 GAA on the year. CASL will be looking to improve on last year’s performance that saw the team go 0-2-1 as a U-15/16 club.

Team Name: D.C. United
Location: Washington, D.C.
Mid-Atlantic Division
East Conference
Overall Record: 23-4-5 (70 GF, 22 GA)
Playoff Seed: No. 6
Playoff Results: 3-0-0 (13 GF, 1 GA)

June 26 D.C. United U-17/18


Sockers FC U-17/18
June 27 FC Westchester


D.C. United U-17/18
June 29 D.C. United U-17/18


LAFC Chelsea U-17/18

Head Coach: Judah Cooks
Key Players: Forward Christopher Hegngi, midfielders Paul Torres, defender Ethan White and goalkeeper Abdul Hamid.

How they got here:
Carson, Calif. seemed a likely destination for D.C. United when they opened the season with an 11-game unbeaten streak that included 10 wins and just one tie. As the only MLS youth club representative at Finals Week in the U-17/18 age group, D.C. United earned its place through an impressive display of offense during Academy Playoffs. Scoring 13 goals while only conceding one, the Mid-Atlantic division leaders have now earned the chance to renew a divisional rivalry with PDA in group two.

Led on the score sheet by forward Christopher Hegngi, who netted 15 goals in 28 appearances for the side, head coach Judah Cooks’ squad also features two East Conference Starting XI representatives in midfielder Paul Torres and defender Ethan White.

Team Name: Carmel United SC
Location: Carmel, Ind.
Great Lakes Division
Central Conference
Overall Record: 24-5-2 (85 GF, 29 GA)
Playoff Seed: No. 4
Playoff Results: 3-0-0 (10 GF, 2 GA)

June 26 Carmel United SC U-17/18


Potomac U-17/18
June 27 Clearwater Chargers U-17/18


Carmel United SC U-17/18
June 29 Carmel United SC U-17/18


Pateadores U-17/18

Head Coach: Dave Costa
Key Players: Forwards Austin Oldham and Matthew Sanner, midfielders Nikita Kotlov, Harrison Petts and Jeremy Vollmer, defenders Michael Wignot and James Vollmer.

How they got here:
One of the most offensively skilled teams in the Academy, Carmel United U-17/18 returns to finals week after winning the championship last year as a U-15/16 team. They made quick work of Academy Playoffs, after the second day of games with a 2-0 victory against the Clearwater Chargers and clinching advancement to Finals Week.

With 85 goals scored on the year, the Indiana club is paced by midfielder and Conference Starting XI representative Nikita Kotlov who scored 20 goals in 29 games. Factoring in forward Harrison Petts (19 goals), Matthew Sanner (14 goals) and Austin Oldham (12 goals), coach Dave Costa’s team is a threat to score from any point of the attack. Carmel is poised to defend its title with a strong showing at this year’s Finals Week.

Team Name: Dallas Texans

Location: Dallas, Texas
Texas Division
Central Conference
Overall Record: 17-6-8 (49 GF, 29 GA)
Playoff Seed: No. 17
Playoff Results: 2-0-1 (5 GF, 0 GA)

June 26 FC Dallas U-17/18


Dallas Texans U-17/18
June 27 Dallas Texans U-17/18


Derby County Wolves
June 29 Dallas Texans U-17/18


Santa Cruz County Breakers U-17/18

Head Coach: Hassan Nazari
Key Players: Forward Conor Doyle, Midfielder Zachery Barnes

How they got here:
One of the surprise entrants into Finals Week, the Dallas Texans overcame top-seeded Derby County Wolves in game two of Academy Playoffs by a 2-0 score and clinched advancement with a 3-0 victory against the Santa Cruz County Breakers, making them the only Texas representative at Finals Week at the U-17/18 division.

Thriving on playing well in pressure-packed situations, the Texans made the playoffs after a regular season that saw 22 games decided by one goal or less. Led in offense by forward Conor Doyle, who had 12 goals in 25 appearances, the Texans are out to prove that their playoff performance was no fluke.

Team Name: FC Greater Boston

Location: Waban, Mass.
Northeast Division
East Conference
Overall Record: 16-10-7 (61 GF, 47 GA)
Playoff Seed: No. 25
Playoff Results: 1-0-2 (5 GF, 2 GA)

June 26 Colorado Rush AS Monaco U-17/18


FC Greater Boston U-17/18
June 27 FC Greater Boston U-17/18


Andromeda U-17/18
June 29 Met Oval U-17/18


FC Greater Boston U-17/18

Head Coach: Marco Koolman
Key Players: Forward Charlie Rugg, midfielder Christian Rodriguez, defender William Donovan, goalkeeper Ciaran Nugent

How they got here:
Entering Playoff weekend as a #25 seed, FC Greater Boston was the lowest seed to advance to Finals Week in the U-17/18 age group. Drawing their first two games, the Bolts defeated Met Oval 3-0 to advance. Currently on a five game unbeaten streak, the Bolts will be looking to forward Charlie Rugg and Christian Rodriguez to add on to their 14 and 13 goal seasons, respectively. In the back, goalkeeper Ciaran Nugent and defender William Donovan hope to increase their season shutout total of seven.

Team Name: IMG Soccer Academy
Location: Bradenton, Fla.
Southeast Division
South Conference
Overall Record: 19-5-7 (65 GF, 32 GA)
Playoff Seed: No. 12
Playoff Results: 2-1-0 (7 GF, 4 GA)

June 26 IMG Soccer Academy U-17/18


Vardar U-17/18
June 27 Richmond Strikers U-17/18


IMG Soccer Academy U-17/18
June 29 FC Delco U-17/18


IMG Soccer Academy U-17/18

Head Coach: Tom Durkin
Key Players: Forward Luiz Calzadilla, midfielders Luis Ocejo and Reinaldo Brenes, goalkeeper Larry Jackson

How they got here:
Suffering only five losses throughout the regular season, IMG Academy entered Playoffs as a No. 12 seed and advanced through to Finals Week by virtue of two wins and a loss. Head coach Tom Durkin’s team scored seven goals in their first two games in Greensboro, putting them in position to advance, despite a 1-0 setback to FC DELCO in their last game.

With the backbone of standout goalkeeper Larry Jackson and two players who scored double digit goals on the year in Luis Ocejo (11) and Luiz Calzadilla (10), IMG won its Southeast division by giving up only 12 goals in 14 divisional games.