Development Academy Starting XI Teams Announced as Group Play Concludes at Development Academy Finals
CARSON, Calif. (July 17, 2008) – The U.S. Soccer Development Academy announced the 2007-08 Academy Starting XI as well as the Academy Player and Coach of the Year for the Under 15/16 and Under 17/18 age groups as group play at the Development Academy Finals Week concluded at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif.
The U-17/18 Player of the Year is Chris Agorsor from the Baltimore Bays. Agorsor, a forward who earned call-ups to the U.S. U-20 and U-18 Men’s National Teams, led his team to the best record in the Academy heading into Friday’s Finals Week title match vs. LAFC, who is led by U-17/18 Coach of the Year Rafa Moran. The match airs on ESPN2 at 8 p.m. PT / 11 p.m. ET.
The U-15/16 Player of the Year is Soony Saad from Vardar. Saad has parlayed his impressive performance into call-ups to the U.S. U-17 Men’s National Team. The U-15/16 Coach of the Year is Giovanni Savarese from Met Oval, who coached three players on the U-15/16 Northeast Starting XI.
Agorsor headlines the U-17/18 Starting XI, and his Baltimore Bays will face off on Friday against LAFC and two members of the Starting XI, Richard Menjivar and Kevin Mejia. In addition to LAFC, the IMG Academy, with Larry Jackson and Gabe Agbossoumonde, and New York Red Bulls, with Matt Kassel and Cesar Blacido, each placed two players in the Starting XI.
The U-15/16 Starting XI features three players from New Jersey’s PDA - Rafael Diaz, Jossimar Sanchez and Jonathan Aguirre – who face off against fellow Starting XI honorees Harrison Petts and Austin Oldham from Carmel United in the U-15/16 Finals Week title match on Saturday at 8 p.m. PT / 11 p.m. ET.
The recipients of the honors were voted upon by U.S. Soccer’s Development Academy coaches and National Team scouts. Already, 13 of the 22 players on the Starting XI have been in camp with a U.S. Youth National Team, and the 10 players from the Starting XI have one more chance to impress the National Team scouts.
In the Under-18’s Group A, the Baltimore Bays challenged the Colorado Rush on Wednesday for a spot in the U-18 final to be broadcast live Friday, July 18 on ESPN2, 8 p.m. PT. The Bays entered the match with six points and the Rush trailed behind with four points, looking to clinch a spot in the final with a victory. The first half ended deadlocked at 1-1, with goals from the Bays’ Neil Vranis and Rush’s Zack Foxhoven. In the 81st minute, the Bays proved their prowess on the field with a final goal from Andrew Bulls, securing a spot in the live broadcast final match opposite the U-18 Group B winner, LAFC.
LAFC and the Columbus Crew entered the final day of Group play tied atop U-18 Group B with four points, but LAFC had a significant four-goal advantage in goal differential. The Crew were able to secure a 2-1 win vs. Concord Fire with two goals from Travis Wall, but could never catch up as LAFC’s built a massive +9 goal differential with a 5-2 win over CASL. Two goals from Menjivar led the way along with goals from Christian Alvisar, Cesar Barajas and Carlos Alvarez.
Thursday kicked off in Under-16 Group C with the potential for a three-way tie with Carmel United leading the group with six points and Schulz Academy and LAFC tied with three each. In a highly contested match, LAFC tied Carmel United 2-2 while Albertson FC and Schulz finished the day’s competition with a 0-0 draw. With all teams gaining one point from the draws, Carmel advanced to the Under-16 final with seven points.
Under-15/16 Real Colorado and CASL competed for top spots from Group D in Saturday’s placement matches to be broadcast on ESPNU. Real Colorado was able to come away with a 2-1 victory with two goals in the action-packed first half. PDA and Chicago Magic tied 1-1 in their competition, after PDA clinched a spot in the Under-15/16 final by the end of day Tuesday, securing a spot opposite Carmel United in the Under-16 final broadcast live on ESPNU on Friday, 8 p.m. local time.
U.S. Men’s National Team head coach Bob Bradley lead hour-long educational sessions for all 16 Academy teams on Wednesday and Thursday. Bradley addressed the state of soccer in the U.S. as it relates to the American player, referencing areas of development including crossing, passing, heading, fitness, mentality, and heart. Referring to real-world examples of the best players and teams in the world and the country, Bradley evaluated soccer in the U.S. opposite the rest of the world. Q&A sessions followed Bradley’s educational portion, providing Academy players with an opportunity to seek advice on how to progress to the next level of competitive soccer in the U.S.
U-15/16 Academy Starting XI
GK: Rafael Diaz – PDA
D: Zarek Valentin – IMG Soccer Academy
D: Jossimar Sanchez – PDA
D: Ryan Metts – CASL
D: Reginald Phelps – Schulz Academy
M: Johnathan Aguirre – PDA
M: Harrison Petts – Carmel United
M: Eduardo Alvarez – Greensboro
M: Paul Torres – DC United
F: Soony Saad – Vardar
F: Austin Oldham – Carmel United
U-15/16 Academy Player of the Year: Soony Saad – Vardar
U-15/16 Coach of the Year: Giovanni Savarese – Met Oval
U-17/18 Academy Starting XI
GK: Larry Jackson – IMG Soccer Academy
D: Anthony Arena – Crossfire
D: Taylor Kemp – Real Colorado
D: Gale Agbossoumonde – IMG Soccer Academy
M: James Andrew Wengner – PA Classics
M: Cesar Blacido – NYRB
M: Richard Menjivar – LAFC
M: Matt Kassel – NYRB
F: Chris Agorsor – Baltimore Bays
F: Kevin Mejia – LAFC
F: Kevin Bick – Chicago Magic
U-17/18 Player of the Year: Chris Agorsor – Baltimore Bays
U-17/18 Coach of the Year: Rafa Moran – LAFC
Development Academy Finals Week Placement Match Schedule
U-17/18 Placement Matches
Friday, July 18
Match Home vs. Away Time / TV
7th Place FC Westchester vs. CASL 12:30 p.m. PT / ESPNU
5th Place Chicago Fire vs. Concorde Fire 3 p.m. PT / ESPNU
3rd Place Colorado Rush vs. Columbus Crew 5:30 p.m. PT / ESPN U
1st Place Baltimore Bays vs. LAFC 8 p.m. PT / ESPN2
U-15/16 Placement Matches
Saturday, July 19
Match Home vs. Away Time / TV
7th Place Albertson vs. CASL 12:30 p.m. PT / ESPNU
5th Place LAFC vs. Chicago Magic 3 p.m. PT / ESPNU
3rd Place Schulz Academy vs. Real Colorado 5:30 p.m. PT / ESPNU
1st Place Carmel United vs. PDA 8 p.m. PT / ESPNU