Weston FC’s U-13/14 Development Academy team, the USA’s representative at the 2014 Manchester United Premier Cup, will be back in action on Aug. 6 in England. Weston was rewarded with the selection to this tournament back in mid-June at the first Academy U-13/14 Showcase, and it is an opportunity the club is looking forward to on many levels.
“This is the highest youth soccer competition at this level and we’ll be facing some great teams that are participating in this tournament,” Weston FC head coach Marcelo Neveleff said. “We came with one simple goal – to put the U.S. Soccer name as high as we can.”
Getting to this stage was a yearlong process of success and continued development. Over the Academy’s first U-13/14 season, Weston FC posted an impressive 28-1-4 record, with a wide array of players contributing on both ends of the field. Nicolas Garcia-Morillo (28 goals) has been the team’s scoring leader, and it was only fitting that his tally won the finale of the 2013-14 Academy U-13/14 Showcase against Georgia United.
Heading into the Manchester United Premier Cup, Weston FC has taken some extra steps to get ready for the event.
“We put together a mini-camp in Wigan, a week before the Manchester Cup kicks up, to properly prepare for the tournament,” Neveleff said. “This has allowed the players to adapt to the country, environment and competition so we can get to the first game in the best possible shape.”
The pinnacle of Weston’s 2013-14 season came on the final day of the 2013-14 Development Academy U-13/14 Showcase in Westfield, Indiana. Weston and Georgia United were both in heavy consideration for the Manchester United Premier Cup spot by U.S. Soccer’s technical advisors heading into the June 16 matchup.
Both teams played at an intense level, with George Acosta boosting Weston’s lead to 2-0 in the opening 20 minutes, followed by Georgia United’s Carlos Pineda and Langston Blackstock scoring a goal apiece in a two-minute span to tie the score at 2-2 in the 59th minute. Carlos Dulcey’s 69th-minute tally helped Weston regain the lead, but Blackstock’s second goal in the 74th minute once again tied the score heading into the final minutes. Weston FC had the final say thanks to a dramatic 80th-minute goal from Garcia-Morillo.
That goal ultimately catapulted Weston FC to the top spot as the USA’s representative at the 2014 Manchester United Premier Cup.
“We are proud to represent the U.S. in this prestigious Manchester Cup, and we take this responsibility with great pride and humility,” Neveleff said. “This reward comes after many years of trying to develop a club culture, a way of playing and a lifestyle. The constant support and effort made by a lot of people, including coaches, board members, volunteers and most importantly our players, has made this possible.”
More than 8,000 teams from 43 countries have taken part in this tournament. The Manchester United Premier Cup opening ceremony and draw will take place on Tuesday, Aug. 5, as Weston FC will learn its first opponent for the following day.
The following 20 clubs are on hand for this year’s tournament:
Argentina: CA Rosario Central
Austria: SK Sturm Graz
Brazil: SC Internacional
China PR: Shandong Luneng Taishan FC
England: Manchester United (host)
England: Chelsea FC
Germany: Hertha BSC Berlin
Ghana: Right to Dream Academy*
Italy: AS Roma
Japan: Sanfrecce Hiroshima FC
Korea: Joongdong Middle School FC
Mexico: Tigres FC
Netherlands: Feyenoord Rotterdam
New Zealand: Waitakere City FC
Russia: FC Dynamo Moscow
South Africa: Mamelodi Sundowns FC
Spain: Valencia CF
Sweden: Malmo FF
Thailand: Assumption College Thonburi
USA: Weston FC
* Note: Right to Dream Academy became Africa's representative on Aug. 5, after Esperance Sportive de Tunis (Tunisia) had to withdraw
- Head coach: Marcelo Neveleff
- Overall record in 2013-14: 28-1-4
- Goal scoring leaders: Nicolas Garcia-Morillo 28, Christian Koat 20, George Acosta 14, Carlos Dulcey 12, Joshua Jackson 9
- Twitter: @westonfc_ussda
- Full Man U Premier Cup details: ManchesterUnitedPremierCup.com