Across the Academy - Dec. 16, 2010
WHATâ€™S AHEAD THIS WEEK:
Light Weekend of Games Features Key Divisional Match Ups: With the holidays coming up, there is a light slate of games on tap for the weekend of Dec. 18-19, but teams in Atlanta, Austin, Birmingham and Dallas will be in action. Divisional match-ups in the Southeast, Texas and the Atlantic highlight the final match days of 2010.
Texas Division Heating Up: Solar Chelsea SC U-15/16 will look to stay on top of the Texas Division when they travel to Pizza Hut Park on Saturday to face FC Dallas. Solar has gotten off to an impressive 5-0-1 start in divisional play and a 10-1-2 overall record. FC Dallas currently sits in the middle of the pack with a record of 3-3-1 in the division.
U-20 MNT to Play Canada in Sunrise, Fla.: Eight former Academy players, including two winners of the Player of the Year award in Soony Saad and Dillon Powers, are in camp with the U-20 MNT this week in Sunrise, Fla. Thomas Rongenâ€™s side will play Canada on Thursday and Saturday to round out the eight-day camp.
U-18 MNT Continues Israel Trip: U.S. head coach Mike Matkovich traveled with 20 players to Tel Aviv, including 18 Development Academy players, with two professionals in goalkeeper Jonathan Kempin from Sporting Kansas City and midfielder Victor Pineda from the Chicago Fire. Kempin recently returned from the Torneo de las Americas where he helped the U.S. U-20 MNT to a pair of draws against Colombia and Mexico. Villyan Bijev recently scored three goals in the Select game at the ongoing Development Academy Winter Showcase. He was one of 11 players on the trip to have participated in that game.
U-15 BNT to Face India in Bradenton: There are 13 players currently playing two years up in the Development Academy in training camp with the U-15 Boysâ€™ National Team in Bradenton, Fla. Along with training twice daily, the group of 36 players born in 1996 will scrimmage local teams, including the U-17 Menâ€™s National Team, and will play one international game against the U-15 Boysâ€™ National Team from India on Dec. 16.
LAST WEEKâ€™S HIGHLIGHTS:
The winner of the Best Academy Story, part of the Best of U.S. Soccer Awards, has been unveiled! Best Academy Story recognized Gale Agbossoumonde (IMG Academy) and Juan Agudelo (New York Red Bulls) as the first two Development Academy alumni to get the call into the U.S. Menâ€™s National Team. Both earned their first caps against South Africa on Nov. 17 in the Nelson Mandela Challenge with Agudelo popping up to score the game-winner late in the match. Second place in the category commended the influx of homegrown academy players in Major League Soccer while the continued success of Academy Alumni moving to clubs abroad was deemed the third best Academy Story of 2010.
Twelve players for the 2010 NCAA Champion Akron Zips are former Development Academy standouts. Akron started seven freshmen and sophomores against Louisville on Sunday and five of those were Development Academy products. ussoccer.com spoke with former IMG Academy defender Zarek Valentin, who is now in training camp with the U-20 MNT.
The draw for the 2011 CONCACAF U-17 Championship was held on Dec. 15, and the U.S. was placed in Group B alongside Panama and Cuba for the event that will take place in February. The 12 teams participating in the CONCACAF event were drawn into four groups of three teams each. The top two finishers in each group will move on to the tournamentâ€™s quarterfinals, and the four quarterfinal winners will advance to the 2011 FIFA U-17 World Cup in Mexico.
Concorde Fire U-15/16 lost for the first time this season to South Carolina United, bringing their record to 17-1-2 overall. Concorde also drew with North Meck 0-0 for just their second tie of the season.
Concorde Fire is the only team that currently leads any division in both age groups.
North Caroline Fusion is the only team that picked up two wins in both age groups this weekend for a combined four wins against Atlanta Fire United and South Carolina United.
Derby County Wolves traveled to Texas last weekend and returned to Michigan with a three wins and a tie. Both age groups swept Classics Elite, the U-15/16 Wolves topped Lonestar 1-0 while the U-17/18 team tied 2-2.
The two Solar Chelsea teams each picked up a win against the Houston Dynamo, with the U-15/16 team winning 2-0 and the U-17/18 team winning 2-1.
Oakwood SC picked up a pair of good results against perennial East Conference power Baltimore Bays Chelsea. The U-17/18 Oakwood squad earned its first win of the season with a 3-1 victory, while the U-15/16 team earned a 1-1 draw.
California Development Academy U-17/18 picked up a solid 4-0 win against Crossfire Premier to improve their overall record to 3-3-1.
Pateadores U-15/16 continued to build on its impressive start to the season, earning a 3-0 win against Nomads SC to improve their overall record to 4-1-0.
WEEK 14 PEAK PERFORMER
Referee of the Week â€“ Elie Aguilar
Elie Aguilar earned Referee of the Week honors following a strong performance at the Winter Showcase and in the U-15/16 game between California Development Academy and Crossfire Premier on Dec. 12. A Grade 6 referee and a 2011 National Candidate, Aguilar impressed in Phoenix despite facing the difficult task of working back-to-back U-17/18 games after another referee went down with an injury. The Northern California native also referees NCAA games.
ACADEMY ALUMNI NEWS AND NOTES
White Signs with D.C. United: D.C. United product Ethan White decided to pursue a professional career after two seasons at the University of Maryland, signing with the clubâ€™s first team as a Homegrown Product. The 19-year-old defender is the first college player to leave college and bypass the MLS SuperDraft to sign with an MLS team on the basis of his participation in its academy program.
NCAA Season Wrap Looks at Academy Impact: Goal.comâ€™s JR Eskilson takes a look at the teams in the NCAA College Cup Final Four and the impact that former Academy players have had on college soccer in the past season. Eskilson looks at the Michigan Wolverinesâ€™ freshman tandem of Soony Saad (Derby County Wolves) and Dylan Mares (Indiana United Academy) as an example of the impact that successful Academy players can have.
ACADEMY IN THE NEWS:
- Goal.comâ€™s JR Eskilson discusses how the Development Academy has changed the face of college soccer ahead of the Final Four â€“ Goal.com
- The Charlotte News Observer takes a look back at CASL Chelsea FC Academyâ€™s Weekend â€“ NewsObserver.com
- Big Apple Soccer checks out the New York area players who are training with youth national teams this weekend â€“ BigAppleSoccer.com
- MLSSoccer.com takes a look at some of the top performers at the Winter Showcase â€“ MLSSoccer.com
- The Casa Grande Dispatch catches up with Real Salt Lake-Arizonaâ€™s first Winter Showcase â€“ Casa Grande Dispatch
- Seacoast Unitedâ€™s Josh Patten has been named a Scholar All-American â€“ EagleTribune.com
- Southern Indianaâ€™s Evening News and Tribune asks whether Louisvilleâ€™s successful season will help grow soccer in the area and bring in an Academy team â€“ NewsandTribune.com
- Three FC Dallas Juniors players check in with FCDallas.com from Tel Aviv â€“ fcdallas.com