Brian White and his Players Development Academy teammates walked off the field tired and dehydrated after grinding out a semifinal victory over FC Dallas in match that saw only one goal scored by either team – a 26th-minute tally by Anderson Asiedu that proved to be enough as a stingy PDA defense shut out FC Dallas 1-0 on Thursday.
With the victory, PDA will play Bethesda-Olney in the U-17/18 finals for a national championship, a fitting end for White in his ninth and final year with the club.
“It means a lot to us,” White said. “I’ve been at PDA for nine years, and it means a lot to end it on a national championship game. We’ve worked hard all season on our fitness and put in a lot of hard work at practice to get here, and it’s paying off.”
That hard worked has paid huge dividends for White who has had a special season by any measure, having scored 27 goals this season to easily lead his team. That includes seven goals in the postseason to help get PDA to the finals.
“I improved a lot,” White said. “I did a lot more work on my finishing and my fitness. It really all comes down to my teammates putting me in good positions. My job is to get the ball in the back of the net.”
In addition to scoring goals, White has played the role of Mr. Versatility for PDA throughout his career. He has played all over the field, at times defending the opposing team’s best player or on other occasions, as shown by his numbers this season, playing up top and putting the ball past opposing goalkeepers. Whatever the role, White is willing to do what he needs to in order to help the team win.
“Coach tells me to play there, and I’ve got to do the job,” White said. “He trusts me. If I play outside back to shut down their winger. He trusts me up front to put goals in. I’ve just got to get the job done for the team.”
That versatility, hard work and his impressive play this season have given White a chance to connect with the Youth National Team system. He has participated in camps before with U.S. Soccer and would relish the chance to be able to don the red, white and blue again.
“It would mean the world to me,” White said. “I always keep tabs on who is going into camps, how they’re doing at tournaments. It’s something I’ve been working to get to. It would mean a lot to me if I was able to wear the U.S. badge.”
Right now, White is focused on doing all he can to help PDA win on Saturday night at StubHub Center (7 p.m. PT, live on ussoccer.com) and bring a national championship to the club that has given him so much over nine years. White and his teammates know they will have to bring their best to beat Bethesda-Olney, and he says that PDA will need to improve on its semifinal performance to reach its ultimate goal.
“It wasn’t our best game I think,” White said of the win against FC Dallas. “They brought it to us a little more. They outplayed us at times. We’ve got to be a lot better if we want to win a national championship. But I’m over-the-moon excited. Especially to win a national championship, that would be awesome.”
White credits PDA, his teammates and coaches with helping him develop as a person and player, and for that to culminate in a national championship would be a dream come true.
“PDA has given me the world,” White said. “It’s been my second home since I was 9. The coaches are all like dads to me. It’s been my life really. I gave up a lot of social aspects. It would mean a lot to win a national championship for them.”