SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador (March 31, 2015) – U.S. Beach Soccer National Team captain Lewie Valentine scored three times on Tuesday night to help the USA earn a 6-2 victory over the Bahamas in its final group match of the 2015 CONCACAF Beach Soccer Championship at Estadio de Fútbol de Playa Costa del Sol in San Salvador, El Salvador.
Valentine opened and closed the USA’s scoring, notching his goals in the second minute, the 33rd and the 35th. Valentine’s goal in the first period was the first time the USA was able to break through and get on the board within the first 12-minutes of play.
Jason Leopoldo added a goal in the fourth minute for his second of the tournament, and helped guide the U.S. into the end of the first period with a lead for the first time in the competition.
Andrew Feld, who scored the opening goal for the U.S. in the tournament against Antigua and Barbado, also tallied a score in the 14th minute.
Unable to do much in the first two periods of the game, the Bahamas found some rhythm in the final period of the match. Lesly St. Fleur sent a right-footed strike inside the near post past Chris Toth to give his team a chance to perhaps ignite the comeback.
However, the USA’s Max Griffin quickly added to the U.S. lead, nabbing his first score of the tournament in the 31st minute.
After a second yellow card was shown to Ryan Futagaki in the third period, the Bahamas took advantage of the U.S. playing a man down and was able to get on the board in the 33rd in a second strike attempt from St. Fleur following a blocked penalty kick.
With a 4-2 lead quickly being reduced, Valentine took charge and closed out the game scoring two of his three goals in the last three minutes of the game.
With the win, the USA finished atop Group C standing with nine points and advances to the quarterfinals, where it will face Jamaica on April 2 at 7:45 p.m. ET. Beach Soccer Worldwide is streaming the tournament live. For game results and updates you can also visit ussoccer.com or follow on Twitter @ussoccer.
The 2015 CONCACAF Beach Soccer Championship runs from March 28-April 4, and for the first time in its history, it will feature a record 16 nations vying for two qualifying spots for the 2015 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup in Portugal from July 9-19.
- U.S. Beach Soccer National Team Match Report -
Match: U.S. Beach Soccer National Team vs. Bahamas
Date: March 31, 2015
Competition: 2015 CONCACAF Beach Soccer Championship
Venue: Estadio de Fútbol de Playa Costa del Sol; San Salvador, El Salvador.
Kickoff: 9:00 p.m. ET
Scoring Summary: 1 2 3 F
USA 2 1 3 6
BAH 0 0 2 2
USA Lewie Valentine 2nd minute
USA Jason Leopoldo 4
USA Andrew Feld 14
BAH Lesly St. Fleur 26
USA Max Griffin 31
BAH Lesly St. Fleur 33
USA Lewie Valentine 33
USA Lewie Valentine 35
USA: Chris Toth, Jason Santos, Jason Leopoldo Lewie Valentine (capt.), Andrew Feld, Max Griffin
Subs: Harry Abraham, Ryan Futagaki, Chris Cummings, Aldo Balsano, Alessandro Canale
*Nicholas Perera was serving a suspension due to yellow cards accumulation and did not play in the match.
Head Coach: Eddie Soto
BAH: Christopher Davis, Nesly Jean, Ehren Hanna, Lesly St. Fleur, Gavin Chrsitie
Subs: Tori Ferguson, Daron Beneby, Gary Joseph, Dwayne Forbes, Timothy Munnings, Kyle Williams, Donovan Williamson
Head Coach: Roberto Ceciliano
USA – Ryan Futagaki (caution) 7th minute
USA – Andrew Feld (caution) 14
USA – Ryan Futagaki (caution) 33
USA – Ryan Futagaki (ejection) 33
Academy Coaching Spotlight: Inspiring the Next Generation: PA Classics Director of Coaching Steve Klein spoke with ussoccer.com about how he uses his Youth National Team coaching experience and the success of their alumni to inspire the next generation of Academy players.
Academy Alumni: Allen Notches Game-Winning Goal With First MLS Score: With the fourth week of the 2015 Major League Soccer season in the books, it was a former Development Academy player who stole the spotlight with not only the game-winning goal for his team, but also the first in his MLS career. Real Salt Lake’s Jordan Allen, who played for Empire Revolution and Real Salt Lake AZ in the Academy, notched the game-winner for Real Salt Lake on Sunday to give his team the 2-1 victory over Toronto FC.
Four New Clubs Added for 2015-16 Season: Three east coast-based clubs and one west coast club will be joining the U.S. Soccer Development Academy to open the 2015-16 season. Baltimore Armour from Maryland and Sacramento Republic from California will field teams at all age groups, which include U-13/14s, U-15/16s and U-17/18s, to become full members beginning this fall. In addition, Florida-based club Boca United, who currently fields a team in the Academy at the U-13/14 age group, will play the 2015-16 Academy season at all three age groups adding teams to the U-15/16 and U-17/18 levels. New York City FC will be joining the U-13/14 age group at the beginning of next season and become part of the Academy for the first time.
For the latest Development Academy results, information and more, visit academy.demosphere.com and the ussoccer Development Academy section. Follow the Academy on Twitter @ussoccer_acad, Instagram and Facebook.
ACADEMY QUICK HITS (March 28-29):
- West Conference: With an 89th-minute goal, Spencer Held lifted Real So Cal U-17/18s past Strikers FC on Saturday. Held put Real So Cal on top early, scoring in the 19th minute and taking his team into the break with the advantage. In the second half, Strikers’ Gustavo Chavez notched his sixth goal of the season when he equalized the contest in the 76th minute. Held however, came through once again and completed his brace as the minutes dwindled down, giving his team the win and keeping it close to break into the playoffs pool. Held has now scored 24 of Real So Cal’s 61 goals this season.
- Central Conference: Nash Popovic had a terrific day for Vardar U-17/18s scoring two goals in the first half to secure his team a 2-0 victory over St. Louis Scott Gallagher Missouri. Popovic leads the team in goals scored this season with six.
- East Conference: Players Development Academy U-17/18s earned a 3-2 victory over PA Classics on Sunday behind a hat trick effort from Isaiah Young. Young gave PDA a 2-0 lead in the first half, yet PA Classics came storming back in second 45 to tie it all up at two goals apiece. Young wasn’t done and made his sure his third tally would come when his team most needed it, sealing the 3-2 win in the 70th minute.
Kendall SC U-17/18s and Orlando City SC met on Saturday for a Sunshine State showdown in South Florida. Kendall SC resulted victorious after Alexander Moztarzadeh scored the only goal of the contest in the 53rd minute. Kendall currently sits third in the Southeast Division and is one of nine Eastern Conference teams currently in the playoffs pool. Orlando City is also within reaching distance of jumping into playoff contention but for now is third in the wildcard pool with 1.79 points per game, trailing second place Real Salt Lake (1.89 ppg) and Crossfire Premiere (2.04 ppg).
- Academy Player of the Week: Bethesda-Olney U-17/18 forward Samson Sergi earned Academy Player of the Week honors after scoring a hat trick to his team to a 3-2 victory this past weekend over a strong PA Classic side.
For all Development Academy results, standings and more, visit academy.demosphere.com or click on the following links:
- Men’s National Team
- U-23 Men’s National Team
- U.S. U-23 MNT Falls 1-0 to Denmark to Wrap Up European Camp
- Zach Pfeffer Joins U.S. U-23 MNT in Copenhagen
- Video: U-23 MNT vs. Bosnia-Herzegovina: Highlights - March 27, 2015
- U-23 Opens Up 2015 with 5-2 Win Over Bosnia U-21’s
- U-23’S To Play Mexico U-23’s on April 22 in Carson
- Gallery: U-23 MNT Holds First Olympic Qualifying Prep Camp in Bosnia
- U-20 Men’s National Team
- Chicago Fire: Fire Hail Harry Shipp's Display vs. Union
- Deseret News: Even-keeled Jordan Allen Excited to Keep Working for RSL
- FC Dallas: Academy Update 2015 Tournament Week Preview (Video)
- LA Galaxy: In-form Jose Villarreal Showing His Versatility
- mlssoccer.com: Jordan Allen Nominated for MLS Goal of the Week
- mlssocer.com: Kelyn Rowe and Harry Shipp named to MLS Team of the Week
- mlssoccer.com: NE Revs Kelyn Rowe wins MLS Player of the Week
- mlssoccer.com: MLS Young Guns Shine (Video)
- New England Revolution: Kelyn Rowe Breaks Down Both His Goals Against San Jose (Video)
- Philadelphia Union: U-16s open GA Cup against Palmeiras of Brazil
- Portland Timbers: Academy Looks to Creat Players for First Team (Part 2)
- Salt Lake Tribune: With Jordan Allen's Heroics, RSL's Youth Movement Starts to Take Hold
- socceroverthere.com: Luca de la Torre Scores Two Goals for Fulham's U-18 Team (Video)
For the U.S. Men’s National Team, another camp in the books meant another 10 days for a group of players to come together and go to work in both training, and against opponents like Denmark and Switzerland.
Alejandro Bedoya, a veteran of these camps, knows how important they are.
“The last 10 days have been what I think we set out for them to be, which is, we tried to come in and get better and at the same time involve these younger guys and get them more experience and understanding of what it takes to play for the National Team on the international scene,” said Bedoya. “We were able to work on different formations with players in different positions, and that can only be better for our game and continued development.”
The camp allowed some of the veterans, like Bedoya, to gain experience with the newer faces. Two of those were goalkeeper William Yarbrough and center back Ventura Alvarado, who both earned their first cap with the U.S. MNT during this camp.
“I feel like the National Team, at the moment, is a lot younger than it maybe was before,” said Bedoya.
“I think being together for 10 days here in Europe; it allowed us to integrate ourselves more with each other not only on the field, but off the field as well. That translates to our performances. We were able to have different options, different formations, different looks and play alongside different players. For the new guys coming up and getting chances, this is going to give them experience and give them more confidence and motivation moving forward.”
Despite the tough 2-3 loss to Denmark on March 25, holding off No. 12-ranked Switzerland to a 1-1 draw while playing with 10 men in the last 22 minutes on March 31, was a valuable opportunity that gave players the chance for performances they can build on.
“Obviously, it’s frustrating to lose like we did against Denmark where we had the lead twice, but there are many positives to take from that game as we continue to work on our high pressure and different elements. With the result against Switzerland, which is a really good side, I think we put in a great effort all around. I think we outplayed them in the first half, and then in the second half, with the circumstances and playing a man down, it made it a lot tougher, but I think the effort was there and there were definitely some bright spots that we can take forward.”
Ultimately, the time spent on the training pitch and playing two games against quality European teams on the road over the past 10 days will only help the team as it continues preparation for the 2015 Gold Cup.
“[The Gold Cup] is the ultimate goal, and these friendlies allow us to tinker around and play with different things, whether it’s players taking different responsibilities or trying out different formations, to seeing who steps up, and what works and what doesn’t,” said Bedoya. “That what these friendlies are for, and that’s more important than results. The results are going to matter when the Gold Cup comes around, and hopefully all these games that we’ve played, we’ll serve us as the right preparation for the summer.”
The U.S. Under-20 Men's National Team ended its weeklong camp in England on Monday, March 30, as players returned to their clubs in nine different countries. For U-20 MNT head coach Tab Ramos, the first training camp since qualifying for the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup in January had a number of benefits.
"I think it was a very positive camp for us," Ramos said. "We had an opportunity to train at great facilities at Tottenham, and for me, it was an opportunity to see some new players that I hadn't seen before. I thought what I saw was very positive."
The group trained at Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur’s renowned facility for five days before playing England's U-21 MNT on March 29 in Plymouth.
Among the 20 players that made up the training camp, 10 were part of the group that participated in January's 2015 CONCACAF U-20 Championship, while four others were part of their first camp with a U.S. team, including Desevio Payne, Maki Tall, Ethan Solis and Thomas Olsen. Payne and Tall started in the 2-1 loss to England, while Sonis entered in the second half.
"I think it's very important to always to bring in new players in the national team environment,” Ramos said. “Not only for those players but also for the players who are already on the team because they realize how competitive it is. Now going into the World Cup, it's a brand new stage and a team that everybody has to fight for."
Payne, who was born in Greenwood, South Carolina, but was raised in Amsterdam, started at center back alongside Cameron Carter-Vickers.
"It was unbelievable to stand there wearing a USA shirt," Payne said of his debut. " When I put it on, I thought about my career and why I came here. It's an honor to play in this shirt so I'm very happy."
Maki Tall had a similar experience. Tall was born in Washington D.C. but moved with his family to Senegal when he was seven years old, and then to his parents’ native Ivory Coast when he was 11. He went on to play in France, signed professionally, and even made nine appearances with France’s U-18 and U-19 teams combined.
"Hearing the (USA) national anthem, I don't even know how to say it,” Tall said. “It was unbelievable. I've watched (MNT) games before on TV, so to hear it for the first time, it was crazy.”
For Carter-Vickers, another dual-citizen, the match against England was the first time he lined up against the country where he was born and raised. Carter-Vickers’ father, Howard Carter, is American and still lives in Louisiana.
"A little bit when you hear the national anthem, a little bit,” Carter-Vickers admitted to the odd notion of going up against England. “But it's also just another game, and you just have to get on with it. You stay professional and play."
The loss to England was the lone negative from the trip.
"In general, I thought the first half was very disappointing for us in terms of our effort and what we brought to the game,” Ramos said. “I thought it took us a good 20-25 minutes to get into the game and definitely in international games you can't afford to do that.”
Forward Lynden Gooch shared similar thoughts.
"It was a tough game,” said the Sunderland forward. “We're all trying to get familiar still; there are new players, and we have to make sure we're right for the World Cup. Aside from that, everything else from the week was 100 percent."
For Ramos, the camp was the first of two this year before he decides on the 21-man roster that will represent the U.S. at the U-20 World Cup in New Zealand this summer. The team will return to Europe from April 18-26 for its second training camp in Austria, with matches scheduled against Qatar and Croatia.
"Between this camp and the camp that we have in Austria, I think it's the last opportunity for us to make final conclusions on players," Ramos said. "I'm trying to see them in different positions and see how certain players may be able to help us. And then after that, we'll focus on trying to get the best group together. We don't have a lot of time for the World Cup but that's normally how this works."
Tall understands the process, and knows that despite scoring the USA’s lone goal against England, he needs to keep his form up.
"You always have to prove yourself,” Tall said. “Moving forward, we all want to play in a World Cup and we're all fighting for positions, like coach said. Everybody needs to impress him and work hard every day. If you're not doing well, you still need to work hard, and that's what's important on the team."
The message is also clear to Payne.
"Of course I'm happy and I'm thinking about the World Cup,” Payne added. “So it would be nice if I get the call to go, but I just need to do my best at my club and then we'll see."