Final Futsal Regionals Set for this Weekend: The final three regional futsal showcases for the Academy’s U-13/14 age group are set for the upcoming Feb. 7-8 weekend. The regionals include New England, North Carolina and New Jersey. The showcases, which are part of the Academy’s futsal period that started in December and runs through February, feature a minimum of four futsal matches over the two-day stretch. The SoCal and Texas regions held their showcases over the Jan. 24-25 stretch, while Florida, Mid-America and NorCal were the over the Jan. 31-Feb. 1 weekend.
Futsal Top Performers:
Ashish Chattha (Juventus SC): Chattha showed great composure in the midfield role for Juventus throughout the showcase. Technically very smart, he created spaces in tight areas and took advantage of gaps in the opposing back lines. He was one of the leading goal scorers at the Sacramento event.
Tim Bielic (Sockers FC): Bielic, a U.S. Under-14 Boys’ National Team pool player, impressed with every touch of the ball and showed his technical superiority in high pressure situations. Speed of play and ability to read the game distinguished Bielic on the futsal court. Working primarily through the midfield, he was heavily involved in the building process from the back, acting as the linking player in the transition to attack. His offensive production was a direct result of his decision making abilities both on and off the ball.
Riley Ferch (Boca United): Ferch showed extraordinary comfort on the ball in Boca’s attack. His ability to find a pass with his back to goal allowed the defense to effectively support the attack. Ferch’s awareness on and off the ball presented a difficult challenge for his opposition, especially in the attacking third. Tactically very smart, Ferch showed a superior understanding of futsal and effectively showcased this skillset in each attack.
Academy Players Ink College Commitments: Wednesday marked National Signing Day, and numerous players in the Development Academy announced their college program choices starting this fall. Among the clubs to submit their commitments, D.C. United leads the pack with 16 players headed to the collegiate ranks. To submit Academy college commitments and updated signings for the Class of 2015, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Academy Coaching Spotlight: Planning for the Future: Sockers FC technical director David Richardson spoke with ussoccer.com about the new Youth Technical Director course and its role in transforming leaders within the youth soccer community. Richardson will be taking part in the 2015 U.S. Soccer Coaching Educational Workshop from March 14-22 in Lisbon, Portugal.
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 Referee of the Week: Justin DeSandre, a 24-year-old Grade 6 referee from Georgia, was named Academy Referee of the Week for his work during the U-16 and U-18 matches between Georgia United and Orlando City on Sunday. DeSandre has worked Academy matches since 2012, as well as the NASL, NPSL, W-League and local and state-level games.
ACADEMY QUICK HITS (Jan. 31-Feb. 1):
- West Conference: De Anza Force’s U-16s and U-18s had an unbeaten weekend. The U-16 side earned 1-1 draws against Seattle Sounders FC and the Portland Timbers on Saturday and Sunday, respectively. The older age group also went unbeaten, but with mixed emotions. De Anza Force’s U-18s were up 2-0 on goals by Keanu Mendoza and Brandon Magpayo before the Sounders’ Sean Bowman singlehandedly fought for a 2-2 draw with two goals in the final three minutes. The next day, De Anza trailed Portland 2-0 through 16 minutes. It stayed that way until Mendoza’s 56th-minute goal, followed by two clutch tallies from Luis Urias in the 83rd and 88th minutes for the 3-2 victory.
- Central Conference: Lonestar SC Academy’s Noah Murphy scored an 88th-minute goal and the U-18 side defeated the Texas Rush 1-0 in Frontier Division play on Saturday. Murphy leads Lonestar with seven goals as the team earned its fifth win of the season and first victory since the Academy Winter Showcase.
- East Conference: Weston FC’s U-16s earned a pair of victories to move above .500 for the season. Weston defeated the North Carolina Fusion 2-0 on Saturday, then followed that up with a 4-1 victory against Capital Area RailHawks Academy – CASL, which is third in the Southeast Division. Alfred Perez scored four goals on the weekend, including three against CASL, as Weston improved to 7-6-5.
For all Development Academy results, standings and more, visit academy.demosphere.com or click on the following links:
U-14s Travel to Spain for Three Games: The U.S. Under-14 Boys’ National Team departs for Madrid, Spain, on Friday for an 11-day trip that includes matches against Real Madrid (Feb. 10), Rayo Vallecano (Feb. 11) and Extremadura (Feb. 14). U-14 BNT head coach Brian Johnson named a 20-player roster for this camp, bringing a group that includes 13 current Academy players. “The style of play is going to be important for us when we’re there,” Johnson said, “We feel our opponents are also going to play a style that will suit us, which would be attack-minded, possession-oriented. It will be a good measuring stick for us.”
Trio of Academy Alumni Debuts for MNT: Three Development Academy alumni made their U.S. Men’s National Team debut during the USA’s 3-2 loss against No. 14 FIFA-ranked Chile last Wednesday. Defender Steve Birnbaum started and went the full 90 minutes and midfielder Wil Trapp and forward Gyasi Zardes were second-half subs.
Flores, Gil Among Academy’s Elite Continuing Pathway to MNT: Earlier this year, Academy coaches and technical staff had the opportunity to see some of its own products training under MNT head coach Jurgen Klinsmann at U.S. Soccer’s National Training Center. Two former Academy players – Arsenal FC alum Dennis Flores and former Pateadores midfielder Luis Gil – showed their progression to the senior team. ussoccer.com caught up with both players (see link above), as well as Arsenal FC Academy U-16 head coach Steve Lucey and Pateadores assistant coach Mario Gonzalez.