2012-13 Season Preview: East Conference
The U.S. Soccer Development Academy’s East Conference welcomes two new teams to the fold in the Montreal Impact and Orlando City.
The Major League Soccer-affiliated Impact will compete in the Northeast Division, which features the defending U-15/16 champion New York Red Bulls. Orlando City joins as the fifth Florida-based team to compete in the Southeast Division. The former members of the South and East Conference have combined to form one conference for the 2012-13 season. These teams have been placed into three different divisions: the Northeast, Southeast and Atlantic.
Revolution Empire, formerly Empire United, formed a partnership earlier this year with the New England Revolution and the two sides will compete against each other in the Northeast Division.
2012-13 Team Breakdown
- Northeast Division (12): Albertson SC, BW Gottschee Academy, FC Bolts Celtic, FC Westchester, Met Oval, Montreal Impact, New England Revolution, New York Red Bulls, Oakwood Soccer Club, Revolution Empire, Seacoast United, South Central Premier
- Atlantic Division (12): Baltimore Bays Chelsea, D.C. United, FC DELCO, Match Fit Chelsea, McLean Youth Soccer, NJSA 04, PA Classics, Players Development Academy, Potomac, Richmond Kickers, Richmond Strikers, Virginia Rush
- Southeast Division (12): CASL Chelsea FC Academy, Chargers Soccer Club, Charlotte Soccer Academy, Concorde Fire, Georgia United, IMG Academy, Kendall SC, North Carolina Fusion, North Meck SC, Orlando City, South Carolina United Battery, Weston FC
2011-12 Development Academy Rewind: The New York Red Bulls U-15/16 team posted an unbeaten run from mid-May through Finals Week and defeated St. Louis Scott Gallagher Missouri 1-0 in the title game at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston for its first championship crown . In the U-17/18 age group, the North Carolina Fusion took third place at Finals Week. The Fusion capped off the season as Alec Rotunda scored a hat trick in a 17-minute span to lead the Fusion to a 4-1 win against Solar Chelsea SC in the third-place match.
Technical Advisor’s Take
Development Academy technical advisor Chris Brewer covers the Mid-Atlantic and Atlantic Region, and Juan Carlos Michia covers the Southeast Region. Both TAs provide their insight within the East Conference:
Returning a strong core of players:
- Michia: “Weston FC and Chargers Soccer Club return a strong core and should be good this season.”
Overcoming some significant roster changes:
- Brewer: “Bays lost a significant number of players, but it’s hard to point out one specific team because all clubs undergo a lot of turnover. I think we traditionally see in some of the stronger markets that their player pools can return a good amount of players because they bring guys up.”
Noteworthy coaching changes:
- Brewer: “CASL Chelsea FC Academy Director Rusty Scarborough is stepping in for Carlos Somoano, the head coach at North Carolina in Chapel Hill. Carlos had been coaching CASL and UNC at the same time and has done a great job. He was a coach of the year in 2009.”
- Michia: “Luis Calix is coaching the U-15/16 Kendall SC team after assisting the group last season.”
How training four days per week instead of three will help improve their play:
- Brewer: “Obviously the idea is to further increase the training to game ratio so it’s more training per competition. By expanding to a 10-month season, it allows for more contact hours than in past seasons and the idea is it will improve the overall quality of the environment.”
- Michia: “I think the style of play will improve because coaches will have more time to give information to their players and focus on one-game fixtures instead of two over the weekends.”
Academy teams that have a good base of YNT players and how they adjust to call-ups:
- Brewer: “The overall market in D.C. and Baltimore is strong. D.C. United and Bays consistently produce players for the Youth National Team programs. One of the reasons we ask for clubs to have a larger roster is to manage their pool so they can afford to lose players to the YNT, deal with injuries or play up players to a higher level. That’s part of the expectation.”
- Michia: “Concorde Fire has constantly demonstrated a strong ability to adapt when they are missing a few players to the Youth National Teams. It is a contributing factor to why they have had one of the most consistent programs in the five-year history of the Academy.”
Academy teams that benefit from players playing up:
- Brewer: “The North Carolina Fusion is a smaller market and has a consistent policy of moving up its players. A good example is Jeff Caldwell, a ’96, who was with the U-17/18 team last year, had a strong season, the team made it to Finals Week and he earned a spot in Residency for the fall.”
- Michia: “Kendall, Weston and Chargers are all doing a good job in this part of the game. I hope this season that everyone continues to encourage players playing up in their respective programs.”