The 2014 Development Academy Winter Showcase proved to be a springboard for various U-16 teams that entered around the middle of the pack. Following three competitive matches at the Premier Sports Campus in Lakewood Ranch, Florida, the season’s picture has changed a bit.
Several Academy teams that entered the Showcase with a .500 record or lower gained some momentum heading into the second half of the 2014-15 season. Crossfire Premier doubled its wins total with a perfect 3-0-0 event, with wins against FC Bolts Celtic, the Texas Rush and Chargers Soccer Club. Simon Lekressner scored four goals over the three-game stretch, and with 16 goals, he is tied for first place in the Academy’s U-16 age division with Concorde Fire’s Michael Ille and the LA Galaxy’s Ethan Zubak. Crossfire Premier is now 6-8-2 and in the middle of the Northwest Division standings in fifth place.
The San Diego Surf’s U-16s outscored its opponents 6-0 in a perfect 3-0-0 performance at the Winter Showcase. The Surf earned shutout wins against Richmond United, Internationals and FC Wisconsin Nationals. San Diego is now above the .500 mark with a 7-5-3 record.
FC Golden State, in the midst of its first Academy season at the two older age groups, entered the event with a .500 record. Thanks to three wins, FC Golden State is now 8-5-2 and in third place in the Southwest Division. FC Golden State earned victories against FC Wisconsin Nationals, Shattuck-Saint Mary’s and Solar Chelsea, outscoring its opponents by a 10-2 margin.
Among the other 3-0-0 teams, the Portland Timbers U-16s earned wins against Sporting Kansas City, the Chicago Fire and Weston FC and moved to 8-3-2 this season. The Timbers are second in the Northwest Division behind only Vancouver Whitecaps FC.
The Crew Soccer Academy Wolves U-16s went 3-0-0, opening with a 3-2 win against Bethesda-Olney, a 1-0 victory against the Montreal Impact and then rallying for a 2-1 win against the Colorado Rush. Farai Mutatu scored three goals, including a brace against Bethesda-Olney as CSA Wolves moved to 11-1-2 (first in the Mid-America Division).
The New York Red Bulls U-16s are the remaining unbeaten team in the Academy with an 11-0-2 record. The Red Bulls went 2-0-1 at the Showcase, with wins against the San Jose Earthquakes and Georgia United and a 1-1 draw against Vancouver Whitecaps FC. Six different players accounted for their nine goals, including braces from Jared Gilbey and Brian Saramago in the final match against Georgia United.