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Updated: 2 years 16 weeks ago

Esteban Rodriguez signs with Club Tijuana

Fri, 02/03/2012 - 5:54am

 

On Monday, 16-year-old U.S. youth international Esteban Rodriguez signed a professional contract with Club Tijuana Xoloitzcuintles de Caliente of the Mexican top flight.

Rodriguez, who prefers the nickname Stevie, is a product of the U.S. Residency Program and started all four games at the 2011 U17 World Cup, which is where the Mexican club started scouting him.  

"Club Tijuana saw me play in the World Cup this past summer and they have been contacting me since then," Rodriguez told TopDrawerSoccer.com on Wednesday.

Following the World Cup, Rodriguez returned to Southern California and decided to play for his former youth club Cosmos Academy West, which combined with Chivas USA's Academy in August 2011.

Stevie Rodriguez Rodriguez appeared in 13 games with the Chivas USA U18 team in the Development Academy and helped the team to the top spot in the SoCal Division through the first half of the season with his stellar play in the midfield.

The gifted attacker said his choice to leave Chivas USA was not easy, especially considering the bond he had grown with some of his teammates.

"My decision to leave Chivas USA was very difficult," said Rodriguez. "I didn't want to leave my brothers (my teammates) and the coaches."

On the other hand, Club Tijuana was very happy that the teenager decided to head south of the border.

"Esteban has joined our institution and we are thrilled to have him," Club Tijuana Assistant General Manager Roberto Cornejo told TopDrawerSoccer.com on Thursday.

Now that he is with Club Tijuana, he is eligible to play for any number of the teams within the club's system, but says he will mostly play for the reserves this season.

"Right now I am able to play for four teams: U17s, U20s, the reserve team in the third division, and the first team," said Rodriguez, who will turn 18 on February 11. "But I am mostly going to play for reserves this season so they can get me ready for the next one!"

Cornejo added that Rodriguez is now training with the top team at the club after getting settled with his new team. 

"He has been training with the Under 20 team except for the last couple of days where he has practiced with the our 1st division team," said Cornejo.

Xoloitzcuitles de Caliente, Club Tijuana's reserve team, is currently top of the table in the Tercera Division Professional in Group XIV and resumes play on Saturday, February 4. The first team is back in action on Sunday against Puebla F.C.

Fellow Americans Joe Corona, Edgar Castillo, Gregory Garza, and Bryan de la Fuente are also members of Club Tijuana. Rodriguez's U.S. U17 World Cup teammate Alejandro Guido is currently training there, as well.

While Rodriguez looks toward a bright future at his new club, his former club has some grievances with how the situation played out.

In an exclusive statement to TopDrawerSoccer.com, Chivas USA Academy Director Teddy Chronopolous conveyed frustration both with Rodriguez for leaving the Academy and the obstacles that prevent clubs from signing Academy players to Home Grown contracts.

"Chivas USA has invested a lot of resources into Esteban and we are disappointed with his decision to move elsewhere," said Chronopolous in the statement issued on Wednesday.

"It is difficult to sign a young player to a professional contract in MLS," added Chronopolous. "Esteban and his family felt they had an opportunity to become a professional for Tijuana's youth reserve teams so that is why he has chosen to leave."

Chronopolous went on to say that there was a plan in place to potentially ink an MLS contract with Rodriguez in the future.

"The club laid out a timeline in 2012 to potentially sign Esteban to a Home Grown player contract," said Chronopolous. "This timeline had precise plans for him, for example playing in reserve matches, first team training, and skill and physical training."

The difficulty Chivas USA had in signing Rodriguez apparently lied in the complex MLS rules for what constitutes a "Home Grown" player. The "Home Grown" rule is where a player who is involved with a given MLS club's youth system can sign with that club directly, rather than having to go through the MLS Draft. In this case, Rodriguez had formerly been involved with the Cosmos Academy West club, before it folded and Rodriguez moved to Chivas USA.

Despite the loss of Rodriguez, Chronopolous expressed that Chivas USA's ambitions remain the same with its Academy.

"Our goal and objectives for Chivas USA Academy continue to be to identify talented young soccer players and provide them with a comprehensive development plan, ensuring maximum growth and improvement to one day become a professional soccer player for our first team."

Categories: Youth Articles

Former U.S. Residency ace commits

Fri, 02/03/2012 - 5:43am

Many dreams were sealed with a signature this week as athletes around the country made their college plans official.



For Andrew Chang, his decision was a long time coming. Options can make committing a difficult task, and he certainly had them.



Chang has been a top rated prospect for years and his work ethic and hunger for development has always extended beyond the soccer field.



That's why Chang made his commitment to Harvard official, setting himself on a course that will challenge both his athletic and academic aspirations.

 

MORE SIGNING DAY COVERAGE: Photos | New Boys Commits | New Girls Commits

 



"I've always really valued education, and Harvard is one of the top schools in the world," Chang said. "I was always interested in the Ivy League, and the opportunity to attend such a great school and get to play soccer for an equally great soccer program was a clear choice to me."



Andrew and Michael ChangChang has been a popular choice of U.S. Soccer throughout his career, touring with the U14 and U15 squads before being called into U17 Residency last year.



Currently a Sockers FC standout, Chang's play has kept him inside of our Top 100 rankings. He's always possessed a great feel for the game and play-making ability that ultimately led him down his current path.



And what a promising one it is.

There were many other boys' commitments that came in during Signing season including a late one from Seattle Sounders FC striker Dominique Dismuke.



As late as a week ago, Dismuke had not completely made up his mind concerning his college destination though he was leaning towards Washington, where he ultimately signed this week.



"It's always been my favorite school, ever since I was little, so it's kind of been a dream of mine to play and get my education there," said Dismuke, his team's leading goal scorer. "It's a great school, the soccer team is getting better and better and the coaches are all amazing. I'm looking forward to playing for them."



Here is the rest of a group looking forward to joining their programs.

Spencer Semple (Everest SC) has signed to Wright State for the 2012 season. He is a regionally ranked standout.



Michael Butts (PWSI) has signed to George Mason for the 2012 season.

Derek Carver (Mt. Hamilton SC) has signed to Cal State Northridge for the 2012 season.

Alexander Behm (Strikers FV) has signed to Marquette for the 2012 season.



Evan Talkers (Cincinnati United Premier) has signed to Cincinnati for the 2012 season.



Taylor Cook (Tampa Bay United Elite) signed to Rollins College for the 2012 season.



Joey Hutchinson (IMG Soccer Academy) has signed to Florida Gulf Coast for the 2012 season. He is regionally ranked.

Martin Giordano (Weston FC) has signed to Stony Brook for the 2012 season. Giordano is a regionally ranked player.



Daniel Gonzalez (IMG Soccer Academy) signed to Florida Gulf Coast for the 2012 season.

Erik Anderson (Boise Nationals) has signed to Wright State for the 2012 season.

Haydon Bennett (Richmond Kickers SC) has signed to West Virginia for the 2012 season.

Jamie Luchini (Beadling SC) has signed to Lehigh for the 2012 season.



Emmanuel Raji (Norcross Fury) has signed to Georgia Southern for the 2012 season.



Nomis Raji (Norcross Fury) has signed to Clayton State for the 2012 season.



Andrew Starnes (CASL) has verbally committed to VMI for the 2012 season.

2013s

Michael Amick (DeAnza Force SC) has verbally committed to UCLA for the 2013 season.

William Raygoza (LA Galaxy) has verbally committed to UCLA for the 2013 season.

Troy Barr (PA Classics Academy) has verbally committed to Lipscomb for the 2013 season.



Donovan Capehart (Blast FC) has verbally committed to Ohio State for the 2013 season.

 

MORE SIGNING DAY COVERAGE: Photos | New Boys Commits | New Girls Commits 

Categories: Youth Articles

Former U.S. Residency ace signs to Ivy League

Fri, 02/03/2012 - 5:43am

Many dreams were sealed with a signature this week as athletes around the country made their college plans official.



For Andrew Chang, his decision was a long time coming. Options can make committing a difficult task, and he certainly had them.



Chang has been a top rated prospect for years and his work ethic and hunger for development has always extended beyond the soccer field.



That's why Chang officially signed with Harvard this past Wednesday, setting himself on a course that will challenge both his athletic and academic aspirations.

 

MORE SIGNING DAY COVERAGE: Photos | New Boys Commits | New Girls Commits

 



"I've always really valued education, and Harvard is one of the top schools in the world," Chang said. "I was always interested in the Ivy League, and the opportunity to attend such a great school and get to play soccer for an equally great soccer program was a clear choice to me."



Andrew and Michael ChangChang has been a popular choice of U.S. Soccer throughout his career, touring with the U14 and U15 squads before being called into U17 Residency last year.



Currently a Sockers FC standout, Chang's play has kept him inside of our Top 100 rankings. He's always possessed a great feel for the game and play-making ability that ultimately led him down his current path.



And what a promising one it is.

There were many other boys' commitments that came in during Signing season including a late one from Seattle Sounders FC striker Dominique Dismuke.



As late as a week ago, Dismuke had not completely made up his mind concerning his college destination though he was leaning towards Washington, where he ultimately signed this week.



"It's always been my favorite school, ever since I was little, so it's kind of been a dream of mine to play and get my education there," said Dismuke, his team's leading goal scorer. "It's a great school, the soccer team is getting better and better and the coaches are all amazing. I'm looking forward to playing for them."



Here is the rest of a group looking forward to joining their programs.

Spencer Semple (Everest SC) has signed to Wright State for the 2012 season. He is a regionally ranked standout.



Michael Butts (PWSI) has signed to George Mason for the 2012 season.

Derek Carver (Mt. Hamilton SC) has signed to Cal State Northridge for the 2012 season.

Alexander Behm (Strikers FV) has signed to Marquette for the 2012 season.



Evan Talkers (Cincinnati United Premier) has signed to Cincinnati for the 2012 season.



Taylor Cook (Tampa Bay United Elite) signed to Rollins College for the 2012 season.



Joey Hutchinson (IMG Soccer Academy) has signed to Florida Gulf Coast for the 2012 season. He is regionally ranked.

Martin Giordano (Weston FC) has signed to Stony Brook for the 2012 season. Giordano is a regionally ranked player.



Daniel Gonzalez (IMG Soccer Academy) signed to Florida Gulf Coast for the 2012 season.

Erik Anderson (Boise Nationals) has signed to Wright State for the 2012 season.

Haydon Bennett (Richmond Kickers SC) has signed to West Virginia for the 2012 season.

Jamie Luchini (Beadling SC) has signed to Lehigh for the 2012 season.



Emmanuel Raji (Norcross Fury) has signed to Georgia Southern for the 2012 season.



Nomis Raji (Norcross Fury) has signed to Clayton State for the 2012 season.



Andrew Starnes (CASL) has verbally committed to VMI for the 2012 season.

2013s

Michael Amick (DeAnza Force SC) has verbally committed to UCLA for the 2013 season.

William Raygoza (LA Galaxy) has verbally committed to UCLA for the 2013 season.

Troy Barr (PA Classics Academy) has verbally committed to Lipscomb for the 2013 season.



Donovan Capehart (Blast FC) has verbally committed to Ohio State for the 2013 season.

 

MORE SIGNING DAY COVERAGE: Photos | New Boys Commits | New Girls Commits 

Categories: Youth Articles

United Chronicles Ch. 3: Is It Real or Fiction?

Fri, 02/03/2012 - 5:22am

(The United Chronicles is a fictional account of an elite youth soccer team. Any similarity to real life people and situations in your area are almost surely coincidental, while any similarity in names is a complete accident.)

Click to read Chapter 1 and Chapter 2.
 
Derek walked out of the men's room and took a seat at the bar next to Pamela. The restaurant had largely emptied out as it was well past the dinner hour. He had thought the evening was just going to be about meeting his team and training it for the first time. Instead, he had gone through a dinner with the entire set of parents and now some kind of meeting with the person who seemed to project the most daunting personality over the club.

At his previous club, Derek's policy was to keep parents at arm's length. He recognized that they couldn't and shouldn't be ignored since they were paying the bill. He also knew that the more they were involved in day-to-day team functions, the less effective a coach could be in doing his job. With most of his teams, he would have to have a short discussion with a group of parents and explain this to them, and generally speaking, it worked out alright after that.

Now though, he was at a new club, with a much richer pedigree, and he was the acting director of coaching due to Warren's stroke. On top of all of that, there was something about Pamela. She knew

As Pamela turned to look at Derek, she managed to appear vulnerable and threatening all at once. He was a little angry at himself for being so affected by her, but he was also enjoying it.

"Thanks so much for staying," she said with that perfect inflection. "Some of the other parents get a little touchy if I seem to be too friendly with the coach, but I feel like it's better to be direct and not trying to sneak around."

Well," Derek replied. "It depends on what we're sneaking around for."

He meant it as a joke and Pamela laughed, but he found himself holding internal dialogue at this own comment, as in "Derek - what are you doing here?"

Pamela smiled and put her hand on Derek's arm. "Well I'm sure something can be arranged."

The feel of her soft hands on his forearm got his blood running again and he involuntarily started scanning the room to see if he recognized any of the parents lingering.
Pamela continued, lowering her voice slightly.

"I want you to know how glad I am that you are here. Warren told me all about your record and I told him how much I wanted you to coach our team. My older son Hunter played at this club too. His coach always told us how great he was doing and that he would get him a scholarship.

"Then the time comes and getting a scholarship changed to getting a spot on the college team. Now, my husband does very, very well with his business and we don't need any help paying for college, but now Hunter is about on the verge of quitting soccer and he's not even sure if he wants to stay in college.  I know he could have been a much better player but now it's too late. I don't want that to happen to Trevor, and I know you are the one to take him to the next level."

Derek listened intently, trying to focus on being a professional. He took a breath and replied.

"Well that is what I'm here for," he said. "But it's important to be realistic going in. There are opportunities for boys to play at a higher level, but it's very competitive. My promise is to take all of these players and try to teach the game and to give them the greatest opportunity. I want the best for each player, but it would be wrong to make promises I can't keep."

Pamela seemed perhaps a little disappointed by the answer, but Derek wasn't sure. She still had a pleasant enough look on her face, and her lips glistened in the bar light so delightfully.

"Do you believe in free enterprise," she asked.

Surprised by the question, Derek stammered back something in the affirmative.

"Well," she followed. "What I want to do is to make it worth your while, in all the right ways, for you to make Trevor your own personal project, not at the expense of the team of course, but I know as a coach you can take on personal training assignments. That's what I'd like you to consider. Of course we'll pay you for your time. I also want you to know our home is at your disposal. We have a workout room that you can think of as your own personal gym, and our pool is a great place to unwind. My husband is gone as much as he is home and he is fine with someone like you, who would be helping us so much, being over. I can tell already you're someone to be trusted. I hope you will help us. I need you to."

Derek wasn't sure if he gulped, but he felt like he had. He didn't know how red his face was turning, but he felt like it was some kind of crimson beacon.  He had provided supplemental training to players before, but in this case he felt like there were multiple strings attached. He also wasn't sure if he liked that or not. His broken engagement from the year before changed the dynamic of all of this he knew, and he was at a loss for how to tell her no.

"I'm sure something can be arranged," he finally said. "I'm happy to help so long as it doesn't affect my other duties."

"That was the right thing to say. Wasn't it?" he thought to himself.

"Oh I'm so glad to hear you say that," Pamela said. "I want you to know I  would love to be your #1 friend at this club. I've been through all the soccer stuff with Hunter and I know this area and a lot of people. I can be a big help to you and that's what I like to do - to help people."

Pamela smiled softly and finished her wine, then they walked to the door. She thanked him and kissed him as she left for her SUV. It was an old friend or socially OK, Beverly Hills kind of kiss, Derek told himself very unconvincingly as he watched her walking away.

Derek walked to his car, his mind racing. As he drove to his apartment he left the window down, enjoying the cool night air rushing in. He kept telling himself he hadn't done anything wrong, and he was determined to keep it that way, but he also knew this was going to be a little complicated. He made a note to stop by Warren's the next day.

Categories: Youth Articles

United Chronicles Ch. 3: Is It Real or Fiction?

Fri, 02/03/2012 - 5:22am

(The United Chronicles is a fictional account of an elite youth soccer team. Any similarity to real life people and situations in your area are almost surely coincidental, while any similarity in names is a complete accident.)

Click to read Chapter 1 and Chapter 2.
 
Derek walked out of the men's room and took a seat at the bar next to Pamela. The restaurant had largely emptied out as it was well past the dinner hour. He had thought the evening was just going to be about meeting his team and training it for the first time. Instead, he had gone through a dinner with the entire set of parents and now some kind of meeting with the person who seemed to project the most daunting personality over the club.

At his previous club, Derek's policy was to keep parents at arm's length. He recognized that they couldn't and shouldn't be ignored since they were paying the bill. He also knew that the more they were involved in day-to-day team functions, the less effective a coach could be in doing his job. With most of his teams, he would have to have a short discussion with a group of parents and explain this to them, and generally speaking, it worked out alright after that.

Now though, he was at a new club, with a much richer pedigree, and he was the acting director of coaching due to Warren's stroke. On top of all of that, there was something about Pamela.

As Pamela turned to look at Derek, she managed to appear vulnerable and threatening all at once. He was a little angry at himself for being so affected by her, but he was also enjoying it.

"Thanks so much for staying," she said with that perfect inflection. "Some of the other parents get a little touchy if I seem to be too friendly with the coach, but I feel like it's better to be direct and not trying to sneak around."

"Well," Derek replied. "It depends on what we're sneaking around for."

He meant it as a joke and Pamela laughed, but he found himself holding internal dialogue at this own comment, as in "Derek - what are you doing here?"

Pamela smiled and put her hand on Derek's arm. "Well I'm sure something can be arranged."

The feel of her soft hands on his forearm got his blood running again and he involuntarily started scanning the room to see if he recognized any of the parents lingering.

Pamela continued, lowering her voice slightly. "I want you to know how glad I am that you are here. Warren told me all about your record and I told him how much I wanted you to coach our team. My older son Hunter played at this club, too. His coach always told us how great he was doing and that he would get him a scholarship.

"Then the time comes and getting a scholarship changed to getting a spot on the college team. Now, my husband does very, very well with his business and we don't need any help paying for college, but now Hunter is about on the verge of quitting soccer and he's not even sure if he wants to stay in college.  I know he could have been a much better player, but now it's too late. I don't want that to happen to Trevor, and I know you are the one to take him to the next level."

Derek listened intently, trying to focus on being a professional. He took a breath and replied.

"Well that is what I'm here for," he said. "But it's important to be realistic going in. There are opportunities for boys to play at a higher level, but it's very competitive. My promise is to take all of these players and try to teach the game and to give them the greatest opportunity. I want the best for each player, but it would be wrong to make promises I can't keep."

Pamela seemed perhaps a little disappointed by the answer, but Derek wasn't sure. She still had a pleasant enough look on her face, and her lips glistened in the bar light so delightfully.

"Do you believe in free enterprise?" she asked.

Surprised by the question, Derek stammered back something in the affirmative.

"Well," she followed. "What I want to do is to make it worth your while, in all the right ways, for you to make Trevor your own personal project, not at the expense of the team of course, but I know as a coach you can take on personal training assignments. That's what I'd like you to consider. Of course we'll pay you for your time. I also want you to know our home is at your disposal. We have a workout room that you can think of as your own personal gym, and our pool is a great place to unwind. My husband is gone as much as he is home and he is fine with someone like you, who would be helping us so much, being over. I can tell already you're someone to be trusted. I hope you will help us. I need you to."

Derek wasn't sure if he gulped, but he felt like he had. He didn't know how red his face was turning, but he felt like it was some kind of crimson beacon.  He had provided supplemental training to players before, but in this case he felt like there were multiple strings attached. He also wasn't sure if he liked that or not. His broken engagement from the year before changed the dynamic of all of this he knew, and he was at a loss for how to tell her no.

"I'm sure something can be arranged," he finally said. "I'm happy to help so long as it doesn't affect my other duties."

"That was the right thing to say. Wasn't it?" he asked himself mentally.

"Oh I'm so glad to hear you say that," Pamela said. "I want you to know I  would love to be your #1 friend at this club. I've been through all the soccer stuff with Hunter and I know this area and a lot of people. I can be a big help to you and that's what I like to do - to help people."

Pamela smiled softly and finished her wine, then they walked to the door. She thanked him and kissed him as she left for her SUV. It was an old friend or socially OK, Beverly Hills kind of kiss, Derek told himself very unconvincingly as he watched her walking away.

Derek walked to his car, his mind racing. As he drove to his apartment he left the window down, enjoying the cool night air rushing in. He kept telling himself he hadn't done anything wrong, and he was determined to keep it that way, but he also knew this was going to be a little complicated. He made a note to stop by Warren's the next day.

Continue to Chapter 4 

Categories: Youth Articles

Men's College Recruiting Classes Ranked

Fri, 02/03/2012 - 3:15am

Ranking recruiting classes is a dicey proposition. While it's easy enough to figure out which college program (in any sport) brought in the most players widely agreed on as the best prospects in the nation, the danger is then assuming that program X will be assured of on-field success over the next four years. There are just too many intangibles unfolding between now and then to draw such a conclusion.  It's preferred to think of recruiting classes as bad or good based on what that program needs and whether or not it got it. Nonetheless, when it comes to sports, people are into comparison. So here is our best take on which men's college soccer programs brought in the most talent among 2012 graduates.  MORE SIGNING DAY COVERAGE: Photos | New Boys Commits | New Girls Commits 
  1. Akron - Caleb Porter and his staff are just plain good recruiters. A class that includes four veterans of Bradenton Residency brings to mind the haul brought in by the Zips a few years ago which led to back-to-back trips to the College Cup and the program's first national championship in 2010.
  2. Virginia -An excellent array of talent from the east, south and Midwest has George Gelnovatch sitting in a good position looking ahead, as usual.
  3. UCLA  - Jorge Salcedo will like his chances of returning to the College Cup in years to come. This class could have been #1 if early commit Marc Pelosi had not opted to sign with Liverpool, but the likes of Mario Rodriguez and Javan Torre ensure the Bruins will keep the talent pipeline flowing.
  4. North Carolina - Can you say dynasty? That's what Carlos Somoano and his staff are building at Chapel Hill. Academy standouts Joseph Amon, Nico Rittmeyer, Jonathan Campbell, Alex Olofson and Daniel Garcia all signed with the Tar Heels. Trasnfers don't count in this reckoning, but Andy Craven coming over from College of Charleston is another big get for UNC.
  5. Wake Forest - Michael Gamble and Jalen Robinson are just the start of this class, but what a start!
  6. Georgetown - Brian Wiese is building a strong program in D.C. and this class, including top prospects Cole Seiler, Brandon Allen and Melvin Snoh will only add to it.
  7. Santa Clara - Kendall McIntosh and Ryan Masch make an excellent 1-2 recruiting punch for the Broncos.
  8. Maryland - A pair of Dakotas, Edwards and Niedermeier, along with former Residency defender Michael Ambrose lead the class for Sasho Cirovski.
  9. Tulsa - Surprised? Don't be. Tom McIntosh and staff are staking a claim to run with the biggest dogs in college soccer. Tarik Salkicic is a great get for the Golden Hurricane.
  10. SMU - This program has to recruit Texas well and it did.
  11. Among the other programs who did well for themselves this year are (in no particular order) Indiana, Cal Poly, Duke, Syracuse, UC Santa Barbara, Rutgers, Stanford and San Diego State.
Categories: Youth Articles

Women's College Recruiting Classes Ranked

Fri, 02/03/2012 - 3:01am
 It's risky business whenever you talk about ranking recruiting classes. While it's easy enough to figure out which college program (in any sport) brought in the most players widely agreed on as the best prospects in the nation, the danger is then assuming that program X will be assured of on-field success over the next four years. There are just too many intangibles unfolding between now and then to draw such a conclusion.  It's preferred to think about recruiting classes as bad or good based on what that program needs and whether or not it brought in players who meet that need. Nevertheless, when it comes to sports, people are into other people being better or worse than one another, so here is our best effort to show which women's college soccer programs brought in the most talent among 2012 graduates. MORE SIGNING DAY COVERAGE: Photos | New Boys Commits | New Girls Commits 
  1. Notre Dame - It was a close call but Randy Waldrum's Fighting Irish get the nod. We especially like defenders Katie Naughton and Brittany Von Rueden, and midfielders Glory Williams and Cari Roccaro.
  2. North Carolina - Really a 1 and 1a situation here. The Tar Heels already have goalkeeper Bryane Heaberlin on campus, with Lindsey Horan, Reilly Parker and Caroline Lindquist headlining the rest of the list. A great recruiting class for Anson Dorrance and staff.
  3. Stanford - No worries about a letdown for Paul Ratcliffe and the Cardinal, as Palo Alto continues to be a destination of choice for top prospects. The national champions will welcome in an all-California class including Laura Liedle, Maya Theuer and Haley Washburn.
  4. Virginia - Steve Swanson is bringing nothing but quality into Charlottesville, with Makenzy Doniak, Brittany Ratcliffe, Kristen McNabb and Emily Sonnett among the top-notch class.
  5. Maryland - The Terps lost coach Brian Pensky to Tennessee, but the fruits of  his recruiting labors still put them in the top 10 among classes.
  6. Kentucky - Volume does not equal quality but the Wildcats are bringing in some very strong prospects among their long list of commitments. Sockers trio Kylie Morgan, Kelli Hubly and Courtney Raetzman are among the best.
  7. Duke - Great recruiting by Robbie Church helped the Blue Devils make the College Cup in 2011. Well here they go again with Kelly McCann, Cassie Pecht and Kara Wilson leading a strong class.
  8. Boston College - Alison Foley and staff have recruited Region I quite well over the past few years. Now Texas standouts Jill Lutz and Jana Jeffrey, plus Atlanta-area defender Bria Washington come in, along with easterners Emily Armstrong, McKenzie and Madison Meehan and Lauren Bernard.
  9. Oklahoma State - The Cowgirls recruited very well locally to register in our Top Ten. Kansas City pair Allie Stephenson and Delaney Kiely are joined by a quartet from Texas including Kelsey Bass and local product Madison Mercado.
  10. UCLA - The Bruins bring a very talented group including Kodi Lavrusky, Kristiana Konkol-Mroczkowski, goalkeeper Cassie Sternbach, Belden Long, Madison Tye and a trio of Taylors, Smith, Alderete and Dragoo.
  11. Other top recruiting classes for the 2012 graduating class have been brought in by (in no particular order) Washington, Texas, USC, Rutgers, Santa Clara, LSU, Virginia Tech, Illinois, Ohio State and Florida.
Categories: Youth Articles

The best talent heads to likely landing spots

Thu, 02/02/2012 - 3:41am

On Wednesday, college soccer programs began to announce their recruiting classes for the 2012 season. While many of them are still trickling in, some of the top women's soccer classes already put the finishing touches on the paperwork and the coaches were thrilled to finally go on record about how great their classes are shaping up for next season.

"Just completed signing one of the best recruiting classes for Irish women's soccer since 2005," Notre Dame head coach Randy Waldrum tweeted on Wednesday.

While Notre Dame has not officially released the class of new players for 2012, some of the standouts announced their signings on their own.
Cari RoccaroCari Roccaro, the #5 ranked player in our top 100 for 2012, announced she signed with Notre Dame on Wednesday via Twitter. Nine others are supposed to join Roccaro in South Bend for the fall including four ranked in our top 100: Katie Naughton (#10), Glory Williams (#15), Stephanie Campo (#39), and Brittany von Rueden (#59).

Notre Dame was not the only program that enjoyed a day full of good news via the fax machine. Oklahoma State also roped in an impressive class of new recruits, which includes the #46 ranked player, Allie Stephenson, and #69 recruit, Delaney Kiely. Five others are joining Stephenson and Kiely in Stillwater for the 2012 season, and coach Colin Carmichael is ecstatic with his new group.


MORE SIGNING DAY COVERAGE: Photos | New Boys Commits | New Girls Commits


"These seven young ladies may be the most talented group that we have brought on campus to date," said Carmichael. "We are very excited about the unique qualities that each of these players brings to our team. Not only are they wonderful soccer players, but they all have the values and work ethic that has been a signature of our program over the past several years."


LSU head coach Brian Lee also thought he brought in one of the most talented classes in the program's recent history for the 2012 season.

"We're excited that each of these young women decided to continue their athletic and academic careers as LSU Tigers," said Lee. "We feel this class is potentially the most talented we have signed as a group as we continue to build a championship program at LSU. They have the chance to build upon the foundation we've already laid and help us compete for championships for years to come."

Topping the list of recruits for the Tigers is our #31 ranked player for the class of 2012, Heather Magee. Also signing with LSU on Wednesday was Morgan Ruhl (#80), Haley Emerson, Jade Kovacevic, and Colby Maffei.

It should come as no surprise that North Carolina also had a very good day on Wednesday when the fax machine started receiving the letters of intent. The UNC Athletic Department said it would officially announce the recruiting class later in the spring.

Like with the other programs though, the players were quick to show off their colors. Incoming freshman midfielder Caroline Lindquist signed her letter of intent on Wednesday morning, according to her high school.  

Lindquist is #53 in our ranking for the 2012 class, she is expected to be joined in Chapel Hill by the top two ranked players in our top 100, Bryane Heaberlin (#1) and Lindsey Horan (#2).  Heaberlin actually enrolled at Chapel Hill beginning this semester.

Five star recruit Reilly Parker, Vicky Bruce, Lindsey Harris, and Paige Nielsen are also expected to don the Tar Heel Blue in 2012.


MORE SIGNING DAY COVERAGE: Photos | New Boys Commits | New Girls Commits

Categories: Youth Articles

Top programs announce impressive new classes

Thu, 02/02/2012 - 3:13am

National Signing Day rather predictably made a number of coaches very happy on Wednesday, or at least prompted them to go into positive overdrive in highlighting the incoming talent at their program.

All over the nation, players signed the National Letter of Intent form and sent them to the school of their choice. NCAA rules restrict the number of publicity announcements each program can make about incoming recruiting, so many schools choose to withhold their announcements until they have the full set of  forms turned in.

Still, a number of programs were able to toot their own proverbial horns at the news of the day.

Wake Forest head coach Jay Vidovich could not hide his excitement on Wednesday when he announced a new class of Demon Deacons.


MORE SIGNING DAY COVERAGE: 
Photos | New Boys Commits | New Girls Commits 


"I love this kid," said Vidovich about new signing Michael Gamble. "And [I] believe he will make an immediate impact on the program. He thinks only of winning, driving to goal and getting the ball - from teammates and opponents alike."

Michael GambleGamble is just one of the talented pieces that put his pen to the paper on Wednesday to join Vidovich's program. The gifted playmaker from Baltimore Bays is our #14 overall prospect of the 2012 class.

He is joined at Wake Forest by our #13 ranked player, Jalen Robinson. Robinson, who graduated high school early and already enrolled at the ACC school, drew rave reviews from coach Vidovich as well.

"He's probably coming in as gifted as anybody we've ever had," said Vidovich. "He's a no-brainer in terms of what he can help us with, so we just can't wait to have him here. For us, he's going to be an impact player from the word, 'go.'"

Rounding out the stellar class for the Deacons is goalkeeper Andrew Harris, midfielder Ricky Greensfelder, midfielder Thomas Haws, defender Philip Parker, and defender Ryan Perry.

The South Carolina Gamecocks also officially announced its class on Wednesday. Head coach Mark Berson only signed four players, but he was confident they all would contribute immediately.

"We don't have a big class, but all these guys are going to help us next year," said Berson.

The veteran coach stayed local with most of his recruits, as he plucked two of the top talents for South Carolina United Battery's Development Academy U18 team in Wesley Eads and Devin L'Amoreaux.

L'Amoreaux is our #63 ranked player overall for this class. He is a midfielder with experience in the youth national team program.

"Devin is composed on the ball and he has a good ability to come forward," said Berson. "He has great potential."

Ryan Arambula and Connor Steele rounded out the solid recruiting class for the Gamecocks.

UCF jumped on the opportunity to announce its class on Wednesday with a group of four recruits joining Bryan Cunningham's squad for the 2012 season.

"We feel great about these young men," said Cunningham. "They fulfill a lot of needs, not just replacing our group of seniors that just left, but moving forward as we prepare to head to the Big East. This group will get us well on our way."


MORE SIGNING DAY COVERAGE: Photos | New Boys Commits | New Girls Commits 


UNC transfer Anton Sealey, Mason Miller, Michael Russo, and Romario Williams make the quartet of new faces on the Knights roster.

Replacing Sealey on the Tar Heel's roster is FC Dallas Academy product Daniel Garcia. The U.S. U18 national team midfielder signed with the Tar Heels on Wednesday, as announced by his club.

The defending national champions have yet to release their official class of players, which is expected to include Joseph Amon (#8), Jonathan Campbell, Nyambi Jabang, Alex Olofson, Nico Rittmeyer, Nicholas Williams, and transfer Andy Craven.

Out West, New Mexico jumped on the opportunity to get its list of recruits out in the public early with a class of five new student-athletes headed to Albuquerque in the fall.

"It's easy to recruit at a place that you've become whole-heartedly invested in," said New Mexico associate head coach Paul Souders. "I think that's the attitude that all three of us have - our facilities, our fans, the whole environment, it's the best in the country. We go into the process knowing that if we can get a guy to visit, the place will sell itself."

Charles Klepac, Christopher Wehan, Nicholas Rochowski, Michael Calderon, and Joe Harris comprise the class for the MPSF defending champions.

Washington landed a big time recruit to help fill the void that senior Brent Richards left when he signed with the Portland Timbers. Huskies head coach Jamie Clark signed local product Dominique Dismuke on Wednesday. Dismuke has 11 goals in 14 games this season to lead the Sounders U18 team, which is on top of the Northwest Division.

Fellow Sounders Academy forward Jesse Klug also signed his letter of intent on Wednesday. Bucknell head coach Brendan Nash announced that the Washington product sent in his fax early on Wednesday.

Down the coast in Corvallis, Oregon State landed a top recruit of its own in U.S. residency product Mikhail Doholis. The striker is one of our top 100 ranked players of the 2012 class, and has already enrolled at the school.

In California, only Cal and UCSB announced their signing classes on Wednesday. The Golden Bears only signed one player, junior college transfer Luis Fuentes, for next season, as Kevin Grimes' side returns everyone from last year's squad.

UCSB added two freshmen and three transfers during this signing period after losing six players to professional contracts from last year's team. The Gauchos incoming class is highlighted by local standout Ema Boateng, who is a product of the Right to Dream Academy in Ghana. 

The UCLA Bruins have not announced their class yet, but are expected to have another stellar group with U17 national team forward Mario Rodriguez headlining the list of new arrivals.

Rodriguez is #5 in our top 100 for the 2012 class. Cole Nagy, #26 in the top 100, and Nico Gonzalez, who faxed in his letter of intent according to his club San Juan Soccer, will join Rodriguez in Westwood.  

The rest of the class for UCLA is expected to include star goalkeeper Juan Cervantes, defender Javan Torre, and midfielders Tim Fairley, Holden Fender, and Grady Howe.

MORE SIGNING DAY COVERAGE: Photos | New Boys Commits | New Girls Commits

Categories: Youth Articles

Academy contenders try to avoid slump

Wed, 02/01/2012 - 7:35am

One of the greatest challenges for a Development Academy coach is a factor that inevitably creeps into every team's season.



Rust.



Rust from the high school season and the few-month layoff that interrupts the momentum each coach works so hard to establish.



The teams in the USSF Academy U16 Southeast Division are tackling that very trial right now.

While the Florida clubs like Weston FC, Clearwater Chargers and Kendall SC have been off since December and won't resume until March, the division-leading South Carolina United Battery is preparing for a four-month break that will last until June.





With a satisfying record of 15-3-3 this season and the division virtually in hand, you'd think South Carolina would be resting most comfortably at the finish line. But they may in fact have the most to lose from all this inactivity.

"It's a challenge," said U16 South Carolina coach Robert Strickland. "We'll try to get some friendly competition in during that time frame at the end of February. Once you do get them back (from the break) you almost have to regroup with a minicamp. You have to get them back in good habits and adjust them to the speed and training." 



Every team contends with the same issues at different times (except the teams that have gone to a year-round schedule, eschewing high school soccer), but a South Carolina lapse might be the only hope the Southeast Division has of catching them.

 Concorde Fire sits in second, having been defeated rather handedly by the first-place team on two occasions, and Georgia United looms in third but the gap is significant. 



South Carolina has found a great mix of youth and experience and they're attacking opponents with conviction.



James Carlin, a 6-foot-4 striker, has paced the team with 20 goals this season though he's far from the only threat on the roster.



"Our team has a very attacking style of play. It makes us strong because we have multiple players who are a scoring threats," said forward Rex Epps, a 1996 who is one of the youngest players on the team. 

"We have a very direct style of play and are really good on the counterattack. I feel confident enough in our ability as a team that we have a good chance to win against any team as long as we use our strengths."



The group's back line, which features returners Philip Tran, Lewis Schooler and William King, is also a cohesive unit that can be called a strong suit. 

Having reached the postseason year ago, South Carolina appears to be a lock to return.



Concorde Fire forward Cameron Mosely likes his team's chances to reach another postseason as well, if the squad can do a better job finishing off matches.



"Throughout the season we have given away games because of mental weakness and mistakes on the field," said leading scorer Moseley. "Once we have more consistency we'll be difficult to beat."

Categories: Youth Articles

2012 NCAA National Signing Day

Wed, 02/01/2012 - 7:22am
Signing Day is here and so is our daylong coverage. Join us!  
Categories: Youth Articles

Development Academy U16 Atlantic Division

Wed, 02/01/2012 - 5:46am

Four years ago, CASL Chelsea SC joined the Development Academy as one of the inaugural members in the elite nation-wide U.S. Soccer Federation league. Since that time, the Raleigh, North Carolina club has reached a level of distinction, both in terms of results and player development that is beyond reproach from even the staunchest critics.

CASL has remarkably placed seven of eight possible teams into the Development Academy Finals Week, which is the competition at the end of the season for the top eight teams in each age group.  

"We have similar expectations every year," CASL U16 head coach John Bradford told TopDrawerSoccer.com. "We expect to do well. It is the competitive standard for the club."

Part of the reason for CASL's success is the ability to attract players early in their development to the club, which helps them prepare the players for the Academy level years in advance.

Eric O'Brien"It starts at a young age with these players so when they get to the Academy level, it is not as shocking," said Bradford. "From group to group, it is not that different from the previous standards."

For this year's CASL U16 team, the expectations are no different.

Bradford's squad started the season with two wins and two draws, a small sample of success. But last weekend CASL ran into a very good South Carolina United Battery, which leads the conference-sharing Southeast Division by 11 points, and suffered its first loss of the season in a 2-0 defeat on the road.

The North Carolina club has some ground to make up within its own division as well. Virginia Rush U16 currently tops the table with a 4-1-1 record to start the season. Mason Duke, who has seven goals in 15 games this year, leads the Rush in scoring.

Fellow Virginia club, McLean Youth Soccer, also started division play on the right foot with a 3-1-1 record. Michael Madigan's club is led by the play of forward Matthew Ledder and defender Khalil Davis.

But the North Carolina teams are quickly surging back into the thick of things now that they have returned to Academy play after a brief winter retreat.

Charlotte SA collected two division wins last weekend to jump within seven points of Rush with four games in hand. Charlotte SA U16 won the division last season and finished with the top points per game mark in the nation.

Local rival, North Meck, also began division play over the weekend. North Meck only collected four points though with a draw against Virginia Rush and a win over Richmond Kickers. North Meck is fourth in the standings thanks to the hot start from striker Zhuvonte Wilson, who has four goals in his first six games.

Yet all the early season back patting comes with some trepidation, as every team looks over its shoulder for the omnipresent CASL club, which is always in the mix at the top of the table.

"This group has been around success," said Bradford referring to the carry-overs from the team that finished eighth in the nation last year.

One of the players that returned for another season at the U16 level is Eric O'Brien, who has already verbally committed to the University of North Carolina for the 2013 class. Even though the season just started, O'Brien already claims four goals in the first six games.  

"There are very high expectations for him," said Bradford. "He has lived up to the billing."

Bradford also highlighted the play of Evan Krause, Kellen Foster, and Yanni Hachem, as the key contributors to the positive results to start the season.  

The coach added that there is a cohesion growing among this group in training, but he is "waiting to see it translate to the game."

Bradford will have to wait a little longer. CASL has another weekend off before it returns to the field on February 11 for a showdown with current division leaders Virginia Rush.

Categories: Youth Articles

Signing Day anticlimactic in American soccer

Wed, 02/01/2012 - 5:19am

While the parties involved will no doubt be glad to make it official, National Signing Day as it pertains to American soccer is a bit anticlimactic, especially in comparison to other college sports. In the women's game there is no comparison. Top prospects routinely commit during their sophomore year of high school. Players who don't give a verbal before Christmas of their junior year are made to feel as if their train has already left the situation. Lauren Bohaboy signed with Nortre Dame last year.Along with this kind of mania, we are now starting to see an increase in players going back on their word (which is what they give to a college coach when they make a verbal, by the way) and switching schools. One player, if reports are to be believed, has actually committed and reneged to three separate schools before deciding on a fourth. I should note that one source says the same young lady is actually working on school #5, since it is still 24 hours before Signing Day as I write this on Tuesday. Maybe the number of de-commits approaching serial levels will give more coaches pause about offering scholarships so early in the process, but I doubt it. Every coach pays lip service to the issues, but nearly every one continues to operate in the same way. Signing Day on the women's side is almost a reminder of who committed where way back when. On the men's side, the commitments aren't so early because at a comparable age many boys have barely begun to mature physically. Still, I hear from families of male players on a regular basis during fall of the player's senior year, just beside themselves that their opportunity has been lost. In football however, that's when the brunt of recruiting is going on, with players routinely committing through December and January, right up to the Signing Day deadline (which actually is not a deadline, but rather the FIRST day a prospect can sign an NLI). So Signing Day in soccer is mainly a chance for the players, their families and the programs to certify what they've already agreed to do, and we're happy to share with them in that. In college football and basketball, following recruiting is practically a spectator sport all its own. The motif in club soccer makes that difficult, however. Getting that college opportunity is the reason 99.9 percent of the families participate, but a great majority of those families tend to be pretty close-mouthed about what their options are during the process. If one or two kids on a team don't end up getting the college soccer opportunity, it tends to affect the whole dynamic of how the team members publicize and celebrate their decision, which tells me that some kind of Keep Up With The Joneses motif is way too much a part of things in the club soccer world. Just enjoy it folks. It's not for everyone to move on to the next level, even if they did pay out the wazoo to try and get there.  You don't have to act like you are not getting attention and enjoying the payoff. More of this kind of thinking could make National Signing Day a much bigger deal in soccer circles than it currently is.
Categories: Youth Articles

Roster named for U20 WNT Trip to Spain

Wed, 02/01/2012 - 2:55am

CHICAGO (Jan. 30, 2011) - The U.S. Under-20 Women's National Team will travel to La Manga, Spain, from Feb. 3-15 for the Four Nations Tournament that also features Switzerland, Germany and Norway. 
U.S. head coach Steve Swanson has called up 20 players for the tournament, which will see the USA open with the Swiss on Feb. 9, face the Germans on Feb. 11 and finished with the Norwegians on Feb. 13. Fifteen of the 20 players on the roster are in college with five in high school, including both goalkeepers, Bryane Heaberlin of the Clearwater Chargers and Abby Smith of the Dallas Texans. 
Swanson is preparing his squad for CONCACAF Qualifying that will take place in Panama City, Panama, from March 1-11. That tournament will send three teams to the 2012 FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup, which was to be held in Uzbekistan but has since been relocated by FIFA. The new host has not yet been confirmed, but Japan is the front-runner. 
U.S. U-20 Women's National Team Roster by Position:  GOALKEEPERS (2): Bryane Heaberlin (Clearwater Chargers; St. Petersburg, Fla.), Abby Smith (Dallas Texans; Dallas, Texas)  DEFENDERS (6): Stephanie Amack (Mustang Blast; Pleasanton, Calif.), Olivia Brannon (Virginia; Troy, Mich.), Crystal Dunn (North Carolina; Rockville Center, N.Y.), Kassey Kallman (Florida State; Woodbury, Minn.), Mollie Pathman (Duke; Durham, N.C.), Cari Roccaro (Albertson Fury; East Islip, N.Y.)  MIDFIELDERS (6): Morgan Brian (Virginia; St. Simmons Island, Ga.), Vanessa DiBernardo (Illinois; Naperville, Ill.), Julie Johnston (Santa Clara; Mesa, Ariz.), Sarah Killion (UCLA; Fort Wayne, Ind.), Mandy Laddish (Notre Dame; Lee's Summit, Mo.), Sam Mewis (UCLA; Hanson, Mass.)  FORWARDS (6): Micaela Capelle (Portland; Gresham, Ore.), Maya Hayes (Penn State; West Orange, N.J.), Lindsey Horan (Colorado Rush; Golden, Colo.), Kealia Ohai (North Carolina; Draper, Utah), Katie Stengel (Wake Forest; Melbourne, Fla.), Chi Ubogagu (Stanford; Coppell, Texas)
Categories: Youth Articles

ECNL's Midwest Conference offers quality

Tue, 01/31/2012 - 6:29am

KCFC U16 is 17-0-0 in conference play this season with an extraordinary plus 62 goal differential.

How did a recently promoted team take such a commanding lead of a very difficult conference?

By putting its foot on the gas on offense and never taking it off.

"We are very aggressive with this team, maybe crazy, but we are playing a 3-4-3," KCFC Huw Williams told TopDrawerSoccer.com. "It is pretty much an all out attack. We scored a ton of goals."

Williams' team averaged a remarkable 4.1 goals per game in a conference that includes two teams that finished in the top ten in the nation last year.

Haley HansonKCFC, on the other hand, was the champion of Flight B last year and was promoted to the top flight for this season.

"There are no real superstars on this team," said Williams. "They work for each other and work well together. They're a committed bunch of girls who work very hard."
Williams' team is currently second in the national Flight A standings with an impressive 2.27 points per game average.

It was the second week of the season when Coach Williams knew he had something special with this group.  

"The biggest win we had was against the Michigan Hawks early in the season," said Williams. "We came away from Detroit with a 1-0 win and that is when I realized this team is for real."

The Hawks finished in the top nine in the Challenge A National Standings last season, and were also the regional champions for the area.  

"I have a lot of respect for the team and the coaching staff," said Williams about the Michigan Hawks, which is coached by Doug Landefeld and led by Technical Director Brian Doyle.

"They are a very good team," said Landefeld about KCFC U16. "They are very difficult to play against with quality players and good athletes."

Landefeld's side trails KCFC by 23 points in the conference, but the Hawks do remain in the top 10 in the national standings this year.

"We are always trying to improve on the year before," said Landefeld. "We did a lot of things last year with state cup and ECNL, we were spread out a little thin. ECNL is the primary focus this year."

Leading the way to national glory for the Hawks is forward Megan Buckingham.

"Her improvement this year has made a big difference," said Landefeld about the U15 national team player. "She has responded with some very important goals for us."
The coach also talked about Ally Herron, whom he described as a "confident defender."

Williams highlighted a handful of stars from his KCFC U16 team as well.

"Cristina DeZeeuw allows us to play that three back system," said Williams.  "She is physical, good tactically, and good on the ball."

Haley Hanson is the cog in the midfield for the team, "she wins a lot of balls and is technically gifted too."

Up front, the forwards have been on fire all season, but Williams specifically mentioned Abigail Sieperda and Dorian Bailey.

"Bailey creates mismatches for us. She is equally as effective with her left or right foot."

Conference leaders KCFC have three games at the San Antonio National Showcase event at the end of February before the team takes a break for high school soccer. Williams said he will not see his players again until June and is hopeful the red-hot offense will continue in the postseason.

U17 Midwest Conference

The Eclipse U17 team is the standard of the ECNL Midwest Conference: top of the table, multiple national team players, and countless awards over the years.

"We often judge ourselves by how we do against Eclipse," said Michigan Hawks U17 coach Doug Landefeld. "We have a tremendous amount of respect for them."

This year, Hawks split the season series with each team winning the home game. Eclipse holds the top spot in the standings due to a better point per game average, but Hawks have a one point lead with two extra games played.

"That U17 [Eclipse] team is a terrific team," said Landefeld. "They have had a lot of success."

Eclipse finished sixth in the national standings last year, while the Hawks ended the year one spot below the Illinois club.

"There is a bit of disappointment in getting to nationals last year and not doing as well as wanted there," said Landefeld. "This group - they are high achievers."

Landefeld added that there are some special players on this team, which has made it a national contender. At the top of the list in terms of talent on this U17 Hawks team is Summer Green.

"Summer Green is as good as anybody in the country," said Landefeld. "She has bailed us out in a couple games."

Green is a member of the U17 national team program and has already given her verbal commitment to the University of North Carolina.

Chasing Eclipse and the Hawks in the standings is Minnesota Thunder, which is undefeated on the season, but has only played four games.

"Our girls play high school soccer, so we compact the rest of the season," said Thunder head coach Mark Yueill. "It makes for a busy schedule, but it helps to stay on task and focus. There isn't a two or three week break in our schedule once we start."

Yueill's team currently sits near the top of the national standings in Flight B, but with only two games played at that level there is still work to do.

"Our goal is to qualify for the national finals in the B Bracket, we think that is a realistic goal," said Yueill.

The coach also talked about how the competition in this conference has helped his team, as it regularly faces some of the top teams in the nation for this age group.

Yueill also spoke about some of the stars of his Thunder U17 side in forward Jenna Roering and defender Kylie Schwarz.

Thunder returns to the field on February 11, when the Minnesota club will begin a stretch of 15 games in three months.

Categories: Youth Articles

Girls' commitments coming in fast and furious

Tue, 01/31/2012 - 6:04am

 
With National Signing Day upon us, commitment updates are rolling in by the minute. Don't forget to join us tomorrow for our special coverage of Signing Day


For now, let's take a look at a rather large list of girls' commits.

Kim Murphy (Empire United SA) has verbally committed to Mercer for the 2012 season.

Abby Springer (St. Francis SC) has verbally committed to Evansville for the 2012 season.

Kelly Mack (Cincinnati United Premier) has verbally committed to Wright State for the 2012 season.

Taylor Rhodes (Fort Worth FC) has verbally committed to Montana for the 2013 season.

April Cronin (FC United) has verbally committed to Valparaiso for the 2013 season.

Stephanie Heys (Southampton SA) has verbally committed to Loyola Marymount for the 2012 season.

Katie Richmond (Gulf Coast Texans) has verbally committed to Florida for the 2013 season.

Lindsay DeStefano (Bethesda SC) has verbally committed to Syracuse for the 2013 season.

Alex Meador (Carmel United) has verbally committed to St. Bonaventure for the 2012 season.

Jennifer Wittick (Penn Fusion) has verbally committed to Georgia Southern University for the 2013 season. She is regionally ranked.

Alyson Brown (Richmond Kickers) has verbally committed to N.C. State for the 2013 season. Brown is regionally ranked.

Veronica Ellis (Chicago Fire Juniors) has verbally committed to Indiana for the 2013 season.

Syrina Lopez (Las Vegas Premier) has verbally committed to Northern Arizona for the 2012 season.

Mackenzie Akins (San Diego Surf) has verbally committed to Montana for the 2012 season.

Ani Sarkisian (PDA) has verbally committed to Florida State for the 2013 season. Sarkisian is a regionally ranked standout.

Penn Fusion has several commits, including 2012 standouts: Rachel Barbella (Temple), Caroline Dwyer (Penn), Kendall Frey (East Carolina), Hollie Garber (Towson), Karissa Smith (UNC  Wilmington) and Loren Reiley (Charlotte).

Penn Fusion 2013 commits, include: Caitlin Green (Vermont), Andrea Gunderson (Penn State), a regionally ranked player, and Ari Reilley (Charlotte).

Brenna Brown (World Class FC) has verbally committed to Fairfield for the 2013 season.

Kelsie Burns (West Virginia Soccer Club) has verbally committed to Army for the 2013 season.

Brianna Brancato (North United) has verbally committed to St. Francis for the 2012 season.

Sydney Fuertes (So Cal Blues) has verbally committed to UC Santa Barbara for the 2013 season.

Jenna Weiner (FC United) has verbally committed to Miami (Ohio) for the 2013 season.

Caroline Zadina (FC United) has verbally committed to Saint Louis for the 2012 season.

Susana Zigante (CASL) has verbally committed to Grand Canyon University for the 2012 season.

Katie Sprouse (TSC Hurricane) has verbally committed to Clemson for the 2013 season.

Fiona McKenna (Eclipse Select) has verbally committed to Princeton for the 2013 season.

Courtnie Northern (Solar SC) has verbally committed to UAB for the 2012 season.

Emily Geyer (Ohio Premier) has verbally committed to Notre Dame for the 2013 season.

Bria Outland (Pleasanton Rage) has verbally committed to Nevada for the 2012 season.

Natalie Zelenky (Hershey Attack) has verbally committed to Delaware for the 2013 season.

Emily Johnson (Santa Cruz County Breakers) has verbally committed to Santa Clara for the 2013 season.  

Civanni Moss (Shattuck St. Mary's) has verbally committed to Drexel for the 2012 season.

Courtney Stutts (Charlotte Soccer Academy) has verbally committed to Virginia Tech for the 2012 season.

Casey Chalupny (JB Marine) has verbally committed to Morehead State for the 2012 season.

Marissa Delgado (St. Louis Scott Gallagher Metro) has verbally committed to SIUE for the 2012 season.

Danielle Paz (NASA 12 Elite II) has verbally committed to Georgia State for the 2012 season.

Halie Conroy (Real Colorado) has verbally committed to West Virginia for the 2013 season.

Callie Duliba (PDA) has verbally committed to Villanova for the 2013 season.

Categories: Youth Articles

Development Academy recap: January 28-29

Mon, 01/30/2012 - 8:41am
After scoring 22 goals last year, there were lofty expectations for Charlotte SA's Ben Burdon in his final season at the Development Academy level this year. Through the first five games of the season those expectations were not met, as Burdon was goalless and Charlotte SA U18 was winless.

Burdon and his team changed that this weekend. The forward found the back of the net twice on Saturday and his team exploded for a 5-1 win over Richmond Kickers in its first division game of the season. On Sunday, Charlotte SA U18 was again in fine form with a commanding 4-0 victory over Virginia Rush for a flawless six point weekend.

Ben BurdonWho else enjoyed the last weekend of January?

Central Conference:

Solar Chelsea SC U18 ended January with a perfect 3-0-0. Kevin Smith's side recorded a 3-1 win over Lonestar SC Academy on Saturday. Lonestar's Kekuta Manneh opened the scoring early in the second half with goal number 21 of the season for the Gambian.

Solar answered back with three goals from Zachary Mathers, Samuel Hayward, and Alfred Koroma in the final 30 minutes to claim all three points. Solar remains second in the standings, as FC Dallas U18 holds an 11 point lead after defeating Classics Elite 6-0 on Sunday.

For the younger age, Solar collected a 1-0 road win thanks to an early game-winner from Toryima Asom. The U16 team is also second in the division standings.

On Sunday, Andromeda and Texans SC Houston settled for a 0-0 draw in both fixtures.

West Conference:


Chivas USA U18 took over the top spot in the SoCal Division thanks to a 1-0 victory over Real So Cal on Saturday. Mark Verso provided the game-winner late in the second half on a nifty spinning finish after a cross from Eduardo Quezada.

In the U16 game, Chivas USA controlled the possession, but struggled to create chances, which has been the standard for this team this season.

The young Goats did have one moment of brilliance rewarded with the ball in the back of the net. A dozen passes between the midfielders and forwards highlighted the movement as Chivas prodded to find an opening in the Real So Cal defense.

The scrambling and retreating defenders gifted some space to young Jorge Ruiz, who blasted a shot off a defender's shin. The forward, who has been exceptional the last two weeks, collected the block and calmly slotted the rebound into the net.

Real So Cal answered the goal in undeniable fashion via a thunderous strike from Kevin Cervantes. The home side was back on level terms at 1-1 at half, which would be the final score.

Down in Riverside, LA Galaxy U18's slip in the standings continued with a 1-0 loss to Arsenal FC. After starting the season 10-0-0, LA Galaxy has lost its last two contests by the same 1-0 score. Brian Benjume scored his first goal of the season for the winner, and Wade Hamilton recorded the shutout for the Gunners.

In the later game, Arsenal U16 went toe-to-toe with the defending Development Academy National Champions in a 4-4 thriller.

Out in Arizona, RSL-AZ U18 and De Anza Force fought to a 2-2 draw. RSL-AZ took the lead twice, but the visitors fought back both times to claim a point on the road. Nicholas Lima and Greg Singer put their names on the score sheet with the goals for the Northern California club.

For the U16 sides, RSL-AZ overcame a red card and held onto a 1-0 win thanks to Jonathan Stadler's first goal of the season.

South Conference:


North Meck easily won its first divisional game of the season with a 4-0 result over Virginia Rush. Erick Suarez, Andre Diouf, Jason Andrejchak, and Mason McCarter all had a goal in the home win.

For the U16 side, Virginia Rush's Michael Abraham struck first in the second minute of the game, but North Meck's Zhuvonte Wilson answered right before half for his third goal in five games this season. Neither side found the winner in the second half and the sides split the points.

Sunday's proceedings were not as simple for the U18 North Meck side, as it dropped a 2-1 result to the visiting Richmond Kickers. The U16 North Meck side did not have any trouble though with an easy 4-0 win over the Kickers.

CASL Chelsea FC returned to action on Sunday after a month off. The U18 team improved to 5-1-1 on the season with a 1-0 win over South Carolina United Battery, McAmos Paye's diving header in the final minutes proved to be the difference.

The CASL U16 side came out sluggish after the six-hour bus ride to South Carolina the previous day, and was punished for the slow start. The Battery used a goal in each half on the way to a 2-0 win.
Categories: Youth Articles

National Signing Day coverage February 1

Mon, 01/30/2012 - 8:14am

We're celebrating the biggest day in recruiting and you're invited!
This Wednesday, February 1, National Signing Day is taking over our site as we bring you coverage of the biggest soccer prospects in the country making their college choices official.
Here's the plan: We'll be updating TopDrawerSoccer.com all day with recent signings, fan comments and photos from college programs of all levels. 
From photo galleries of standouts in their new gear or signing the NLI, tweets and Facebook comments, we're gathering it all to bring you a look at Signing Day's big picture. 
So, here's what we need from you:
  1. Send us your tweets @TopDrawerSoccer.com with hashtag #SIGNED
  2. Send us Facebook comments and pics @ Facebook.com/TopDrawerSoccer 
  3. Email us your comments and pics at  ' ); document.write( addy_text871 ); document.write( '<\/a>' ); //-->\n ' ); //--> This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ' ); //-->
  4. ALL OF THE ABOVE!
Whether you're just a fan of the game, a recent signee, a parent or coach we want to hear from you. 
Your school have a killer signing class? Tell us. 
Surprised by a big signing? Tell us. 
We'll exclude no one as we share in this special day for future college athletes. Ready to join the festivities? Cool. 
See you Wednesday. 
Categories: Youth Articles

Play concludes for 96 Boys at ODP in Florida

Mon, 01/30/2012 - 7:20am

The US Youth Soccer Olympic Development Program (US Youth Soccer ODP) Boys 1996 Winter Interregional concluded today in Bradenton, Fla., on the campus of IMG Academies.

Continuing its tradition of elite play and competition, youth from the nation's premier player identification and development program, US Youth Soccer ODP, trained and competed in front of U.S. National Team staff, professional and collegiate coaches to maximize their exposure for selection to the next level of play.

More Action: Day 1 | Day 2

Summaries from today's matches...

Region III finished an undefeated 2-0-1 weekend with a 2-0 win over Region I, who finished with a win and two losses. Johnny Nartowicz (Florida Rush) scored his second goal of the weekend for the eventual game winner in the 27th minute, bending a direct free kick over the wall and just out of reach of the keeper from 23 yards away. Mario Da Silva (Parkland Predators, FL) also scored his second goal of the weekend just four minutes later to seal the game for Region III.

Region II also completed the weekend unbeaten with a 2-0-1 record after a 1-0 victory, handing Region IV their third loss. Sidney Otiendo (Higher Ground Academy, MN) struck for the lone goal of the game in the 55th for the Midwesterners.

US Youth Soccer ODP is known as the premier identification and development program for the nation's youth seeking the opportunity to compete at the national and collegiate levels of play. US Youth Soccer ODP is the original Olympic Development Program and the only elite player development program that can claim members of Major League Soccer and Women's Professional Soccer as well as a majority of current and past national and youth team members, as alumni.

2012 US Youth Soccer ODP Boys Winter Interregional

IMG Academies, Bradenton, Fla.
Scores | Sunday, Jan. 29, 2012

1996 Region III 2, Region I 0

Goal scorers: RIII - Johnny Nartowicz (27:00), Mario Da Silva (31:00)

1996 Region II 1, Region IV 0
Goal scorers: RII - Sidney Otiendo (55:00)

Categories: Youth Articles

Region I registers convincing win at ODP event

Sun, 01/29/2012 - 11:49am
The US Youth Soccer Olympic Development Program (US Youth Soccer ODP) Boys Winter Interregional continues with the 1996 age group competing at IMG Academies in Bradenton, Fla. IMG Academies is the world's largest and most advanced multi-sport and education complex, and home of the U.S. Soccer Under-17 Residency Program.
 
Continuing its tradition of elite play and competition, youth from the nation's top player identification and development program, US Youth Soccer ODP, will train and compete in front of U.S. National Team staff, professional and collegiate coaches to maximize their exposure for selection to the next level of play.

Summaries from today's matches...

Region III came from behind late to pull out a 1-1 draw with Region II. Region II took the lead in the 16th minute as recent U-17 National Team call-up Amar Sejdic (United FC, KY) scored his third goal of the weekend to lead all scorers. With time winding down, Johnny Nartowicz (Florida Rush) scored the equalizer for Region III on a controversial goal after a scramble in front of the net.

Region I felt they squandered yesterday's game allowing Region II to come back from two goals down in the second half to win. The Easterners wouldn't make the mistake again as they jumped on Region IV with three goals in a 12 minute span in the first half and finished out a 4-0 victory. Zachary Zandi (Penn Fusion, E-PA) got things going by converting a penalty kick in the 19th minute and Patrick Berneski (Lehigh Valley United, E-PA) doubled the lead just two minutes later. Daniel Kaiser (SAC, MD) scored again for Region I in the 31st for a three goal lead at the break before William Eskay (FC Frederick, MD) grabbed his second of the weekend a minute after the restart.

Games conclude tomorrow with both games kicking off at 8:30 a.m.

2012 US Youth Soccer ODP Boys Winter Interregional

IMG Academies, Bradenton, Fla.
Scores | Saturday, Jan. 28, 2012

1996 Region III 1, Region II 1
Goal scorers: RIII - Johnny Nartowicz (80:00)
RII - Amar Sejdic (16:00)

1996 Region I 4, Region IV 0
Goal scorers: RI - Zachary Zandi (19:00), Patrick Berneski (21:00), Daniel Kaiser (31:00), William Eskay (41:00)

Upcoming Schedule
Sunday, Jan. 29
8:30 a.m.    Region IV    v    Region II    Field 5
8:30 a.m.    Region III    v    Region I     Field 6
Categories: Youth Articles