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De Anza Force U-15/16 Squad off to Perfect Start in Academy Season


Forward Navarro, Midfielder Zelaya Called into U.S. U-15 Boys' National Team Camp

Forward Navarro, Midfielder Zelaya Called into U.S. U-15 Boys’ National Team Camp

Since the inception of the Development Academy, De Anza Force has sent 14 different players to U.S. Under-15 through U-20 National Team programs.

The national success is a byproduct of a club that has flourished in the Academy at all age levels, from the U-15/16 team clinching a Finals Week berth in 2009-10 to the U-17/18 team advancing to its first Finals Week at that age level in the recent 2011-12 season.

The San Jose-area club is once again making some noise in northern California, especially the U-15/16 team, which is off to a 6-0-0 start to the 2012-13 Academy season.

“It’s going great,” De Anza Force forward Jonathan Navarro said. “We’ve been training hard for these past several weeks and it’s been good.”

Navarro is one of 36 players called into the U.S. Under-15 Boys’ National Team training camp from Oct. 27 to Nov. 3 at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. De Anza Force midfielder Brian Zelaya also will be at the camp, headed by U.S. U-15 head coach and Academy Director of Scouting Tony Lepore.

This marks Navarro’s first season in the Development Academy and with De Anza Force, and the 14-year-old Navarro is enjoying the experience.

“I love how the club plays its soccer,” Navarro said. “The team passes the ball around well and is organized. I’m getting a lot out of it.”

Navarro has been called into previous U.S. U-14 Boys’ National Team camps, and he says the Academy play is good preparation for playing at a national team level.

“It’s not that big a difference because the speed of the game is high for both,” Navarro said. “It’s physical, and you have to demonstrate your abilities.”

With head coach Shaun Tsakaris at the helm, Navarro says the team is pushed to a high level whenever they take the field.

“The coaches put pressure on you to do well,” Navarro said. “They want a lot out of us, and that’s great.”

Weekly Recognition: Earlier this season, Navarro earned Academy Player of the Week honors for Week 3 after he scored the team’s lone goal for a 1-0 victory against Santa Cruz Breakers Academy on Sept. 22. With the U.S. U-15 BNT camp this weekend, the team will be without Navarro and Zelaya when it hosts the San Juan Soccer Club this Saturday.

U-17/18 Team Near Top in Northwest Division: The De Anza Force U-17/18 team is currently 3-2-1 (10 points) and second in total points (third in points per game at 1.67) in the Northwest Division. The San Jose Earthquakes lead the division at 4-0-0 (12 points; three points per game) and Crossfire Premier (2-1-1, 7 points) is second in points per game at 1.75.

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