Influence of Academy Increasing with Each MLS Campaign: The 2015 Major League Soccer season got underway on Friday, March 6, and it was former Development Academy forward Jose Villarreal who kicked things off with the league’s first goal of the new campaign. Development Academy alumni Bill Hamid and Steve Birnbaum turned in impressive defensive performances in D.C. United’s shutout win against Montreal in the opening weekend. Entering the 2015 MLS season, there are 109 players with Academy ties rostered on MLS clubs. Additionally, seven players in MLS have featured for the U.S. Men’s National Team: Juan Agudelo, Steve Birnbaum, Wil Bruin, Luis Gil, Bill Hamid, Wil Trapp and Gyasi Zardes.
U-17 MNT Controls Fate in Group A Finale against Jamaica: The U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team, coming off a 2-2 draw against Honduras, heads into the final Group A match of the 2015 CONCACAF U-17 Championship with a two-point, first-place lead. A USA victory against Jamaica in Wednesday’s group finale would earn the top spot in the group and a berth to the 2015 FIFA U-17 World Cup in Chile. The USA and Jamaica kick off at 7 p.m. ET at Estadio Francisco Morazán in San Pedro Sula, Honduras. The match is live on FOX Sports 2, FOX Sports GO and Univision Deportes.
- Rejuvenated Gallardo: ussoccer.com caught up with Nomads alum Joe Gallardo who discussed his leg injury in August and how that has strengthened him both physically and mentally during his return.
- U-17 MNT vs. Honduras – March 8, 2015:
- U-17 MNT vs. Guatemala – March 5, 2015:
- U-17 MNT vs. Trinidad and Tobago – March 2, 2015:
- U-17 MNT vs. Cuba – Feb. 27, 2015:
For the latest Development Academy results, information and more, visit academy.demosphere.com and ussoccer.com’s Academy section. Follow the Academy on Twitter @ussoccer_acad, Instagram and Facebook.
ACADEMY QUICK HITS (March 7-8):
- West Conference: Luis Leon scored a game-winning goal in the 87th minute to lead the Pateadores U-17/18s to a 2-1 victory over San Diego Surf in Southwest Division play on Sunday. Leon is second on the team with 13 goals this season in 25 games. Cesar Murillo scored Pateadores’ other goal in the 61st minute. Pateadores has extended unbeaten streak to seven games (6-0-1) and is second in the division behind Real Salt Lake AZ.
- Central Conference: After going through a 1-2-1 patch from January to February, Frontier Division-leading Houston Dynamo’s U-17/18s appear to have righted the ship with a 5-2 victory against the Dallas Texans on Saturday. Christian Lucatero had a memorable performance with four goals. He leads the Dynamo with 14 goals this season in 16 games. The team improved to 12-3-2 (2.24 points per game).
- East Conference: In a rare two-day matchup, South Carolina United Battery’s U-15/16 team earned the edge against Kendall SC in Southeast Division action, earning a pair of 3-2 victories. On Saturday, South Carolina United Battery tallied three second-half goals from Nolan Coulter, Alexander Henderson and Robert Robinson. In Sunday’s rematch, Kendall SC held two separate leads in the first half, but Robinson’s two goals and Kellan O’Hara’s game-winner in the 63rd minute helped South Carolina United Battery prevail for its third straight victory. With the two-win weekend, South Carolina United Battery improves to 13-6-8 on the season, in fourth place at 1.74 points per game but knocking at the door against the three teams above in the standings.
- Academy Player of the Week: Indiana Fire’s Jeremiah Gutjahr earned Academy Player of the Week during the U-17/18 team’s 4-1 victory against Vardar on Saturday. The midfielder received high ratings as he moved to a center back role and saved two goals off of the line. Gutjahr also scored the game’s opening goal as Indiana Fire Academy improved to 6-3-5 this season.
- Academy Referee of the Week: Matthew Osterhouse, a 25-year-old Grade 6 referee from Florida, was named Academy Referee of the Week for his high ratings during the U-15/16 match between Orlando City and Weston FC. Osterhouse has worked Academy matches since 2013, in addition to Premier Development League and National Premier Soccer League games.
For all Development Academy results, standings and more, visit academy.demosphere.com or click on the following links:
Academy Coaching Spotlight: Molding the Elite Player: LA Galaxy U-15/16 head coach Mike Munoz spoke with ussoccer.com about how U.S. Soccer and the LA Galaxy are working together to provide an effective development model for players from the youth level all the way up to the first team.
Joe Gallardo Gets Back on the Field: U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team forward Joe Gallardo talks about coming back from an injury and making the USA squad for the 2015 CONCACAF Championship, where he has scored four goals in the tournament. Gallardo also sat down with ussoccer.com for a Q&A in Spanish.
U-16 BNT Opens Netherlands International Tournament: The U.S. Under-16 Boys’ National Team kicked off the Netherlands International Tournament on Wednesday against the Republic of Ireland in Rotterdam, dropping its first match 1-0. The USA camp runs through March 16, and a 21-player roster is representing the USA in the four-team tournament. Eighteen of the 21 players currently play in the Development Academy. The U.S. next faces the Czech Republic on March 13 and the Netherlands on March 15.
U-15 BNT Camp in Full Swing in Florida: The U.S. Under-15 Boys’ National Team is conducting a domestic camp through March 15 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Head coach John Hackworth selected a 36-player group to compete in the group’s first camp of the year, which features 32 players currently registered with Development Academy clubs.
- ESPN: Real Salt Lake AZ’s Aaron Herrera Makes ESPN SportsCenter’s Top 10
- mlssoccer.com: Darlington Nagbe Steals the Show
- New York Red Bulls: Academy Goes Unbeaten Over Weekend
- Portland Timbers: Darlington Nagbe Has Grown Alongside the Portland Timbers
- Real Salt Lake: Jordan Allen Returns to Field
- San Jose Earthquakes: Tommy Thompson Shows Off Juggling Skills in Secondary Kit Unveil (Video)
- Sporting Kansas City: Amadou Dia in Right Back Discussion after Solid Opener
- Sporting Kansas City: Academy U-16s and U-18s Go Undefeated on Texas Road Trip
- Sporting Kansas City: Erik Palmer-Brown Logs First MLS Minutes at Sporting Park
- Over There: Aron Johannsson Scores in Loss to FC Utrecht (Video)