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Updated: 3 years 21 weeks ago

PDP is a new way for players to get noticed

Tue, 01/10/2012 - 9:12am

More initials please. While another serving of the alphabet soup that is our national identification system may seem like the last thing needed, the Elite Clubs National League is launching a new program that should provide greater structure and depth to the organization's efforts to bring its player ID platform to a level equal to the burgeoning competitive setup for which it is best known. Player Development Program, or PDP, is actually part of both ECNL and US Club Soccer, and will also work in conjunction with US Club Soccer's id2 program and the National Premier Leagues (for age groups younger than the ECNL leagues). ECNL's new PDP program provides a new avenue to get noticed.The premise of the program is to gather select players from pods of 5-8 clubs, 15 players in each of four age groups, for a two-day camp. There will be 10 of these nationally for ECNL players, and participants have the opportunity to be identified for the id2 national camp to be held in the summer, or for U.S. Soccer Training Centers, as well as college recruiting. ECNL President Christian Lavers said the implementation of the events, beginning this winter, is the logical next step in the organization carrying out its vision for elite youth soccer in this country. "What U.S. Club Soccer is trying to do is look at the entire landscape of competition, administrative requirements, helping clubs and coaches to do a better job in player development, and in identification," he said. "Doing this has helped significantly change things, even in the past 5 years. As the soccer calendar has gotten more crowded and financial requirements to play at a higher level have become greater, we look at it and say 'We don't need that many steps.  We don't have to send these players to another day of tryouts or another week of games. Let's try to keep costs low.' I think there has been a good response to that." Lavers said the ECNL events will be for age groups 93s to 96s, and will focus on player recognition, development and identification. "PDP is designed to drill down deeper, taking these very good players who can benefit from additional exposure and from playing with and against other top players, some who may have been missed and should be pushed into top level of id2 and identification in the national scouting system," Lavers said. "It gives them another opportunity to show what they can do." The separate PDP events in conjunction with the National Premier League will be similar, with coaches and scouts from each division nominating players in their respective age groups. In both cases, Lavers said the organization intends to include an off-field component where coaches and high-level players can make a presentation to the invitees about the finer points of making it to the next level.
Categories: Youth Articles

MLS Combine Day 2: Read Joe's Analysis

Mon, 01/09/2012 - 8:14am
  Click here for Joe's analysis of Day 1 of the MLS Player combine. Fort Lauderdale, FL - Day Two of the MLS Player combine is complete. Here are my observations following the two matches, watched by the MLS coaching and front office cadre. Game One adiPower (Red) remained undefeated with a convincing 2-1 victory over adiZero (Blue) in the second day of the MLS combine.  Hunter JumperOn the second day, it's important for players to either demonstrate that they can play at the high level that they exhibited on the first day or show that the first day was an anomaly.  Lineups adiPower Red 1st HalfF: Lucky Mkosana (Dartmouth)M: Yuri Gorentzvaig, Calum Mallace (Marquette), Kelyn Rowe (UCLA), Jason BantonDM: Tony Wells (Wisconsin Green Bay)D: Gienir Garcia, Matt Hedges (North Carolina), Justin Chavez (Tulsa), Aubrey Perry (South Florida)GK: Brian Rowe (UCLA) 2nd half F: Casey Townsend (Maryland), Chandler Hoffman (UCLA)M: Alec Purdie (Indiana), Luis Silva (UCSB), Kelyn Rowe (UCLA), DM: Greg Jordan (Creighton),D: Hunter Jumper (Virginia), Matt Hedges (North Carolina), Justin Chavez (Tulsa), Aubrey Perry (South Florida)GK: Brian Rowe (UCLA) adiZero Blue 1st HalfF: Dom Dwyer (South Florida), Evans Frimpong (Delaware)M: Miguel Ibarra (UC Irvine), Benjamin Ubierna, Kenney Walker (Louisville), Tony Cascio (Connecticut)D: Shawn Singh (UCLA), Mykell Bates (Santa Clara), Aaron Maund (Notre Dame), Warren Creavalle (Central Florida)GK: Ryan Meara (Fordham) 2nd HalfF: Colin Rolfe (Louisville), Emiliano BonfigliM: Brian Ownby (Virginia), Enzo Martinez (North Carolina), Warren Creavalle (Central Florida), Evan James (Charlotte)D: Shawn Singh (UCLA), Charles Rodriquez (Charlotte), Aaron Maund (Notre Dame), Mykell Bates (Santa Clara)GK: Ryan Meara (Fordham)
ASSESSMENT Who had a good game (or played better than I expected)?
  • Justin Chavez (Tulsa) - is playing solid defense. He makes plays and keeps his head when the defense is starting to break down. He even made a slick dribbling move to elude Emiliano Bonfigli and maintain possession and start the play.
  • Greg Jordan (Creighton) - made a critical through pass to set up the game winner. I love his vision. Part of the reason that he sees the game so well, is that he is so fundamentally strong on the nuances of the game. He is unafraid to go in hard on the tackle.
  • Hunter Jumper (UVA) - did the things that he's good at doing. He stroked the ball with his cultured left foot. He played with effort in the air. Essentially, he induced Evans James to switch sides, because James couldn't figure out how to beat him (hint. Go at Jumper with speed and pop outside as you near him trying to not get grabbed or pushed; repeat).
  • Calum Mallace (Marquette) - continues to impress with his unbridled enthusiasm and his motor. He beat Aaron Maund on the dribble, but Warren Creavalle dispossessed Mallace forcing Mallace to foul. Mallace related that the heat is quite different from his training in Milwaukee. It's a disadvantage for a talented player to come from a school that doesn't have a long history of sending players to the combine and properly prepare them for the combine. His touch wasn't as tight as it was the first day.
  • Kelyn Rowe (UCLA) - showed his calmness on the ball with composure under pressure. He took a precise pass from Greg Jordan to set up Casey Townsend for the game winning goal. The game seems slow for Rowe.
  • Luis Silva (UCSB) - is the focal point for good things on the attacking side of the ball. His vision is exemplary. But, not only can he see the play, he has the skill to complete it. He was able to beat Kenney Walker (not an easy task) and release his shot with Walker nipping at his heels.
  • Casey Townsend (Maryland) - is my man of the match with an assist and a goal. His goal was a one-time blast from Kelyn Rowe. He crossed the ball to the far post finding Chandler Hoffman open for his assist. I was thoroughly impressed with the way that Townsend tracked a deep corner kick - finding space on the backside.
  • Aaron Maund (Notre Dame) - continues to dominate in the air and not complicate the game by being reckless with the ball. He's sending long searching balls.
  • Kenney Walker (Louisville) - is top-notch in the center of the field. His passing is precise. With Warren Creavalle forward, he quickly and smartly went to cover his position.
Who was adequate?
  • Jason Banton - has brashness and quickness. He loves taking on defenders, but he loses the ball because he's going too fast for his level of competence. He seems like a high-maintenance player.
  • Gienir Garcia - is a competent passer, might be lacking a step of quickness. He's someone that could be a competent left back.
  • Chandler Hoffman (UCLA) - tracked back to score the first goal at the far post. Today, his touch was off, turning the ball over infrequently.
  • Lucky Mkosana (Dartmouth) - needs to get in better positions for better looks at the goal. He's trying to combine with his teammates. He looks stronger.
  • Aubrey Perry (South Florida) - was much better not allowing Miguel Ibarra to beat him like he was allowing everyone else on Friday.
  • Alec Purdie (Indiana) - was supposed to start in the first half, but a last minute change and Jason Banton started, instead. Combined with Luis Silva, Casey Townsend and Chandler Hoffman to create several opportunities in the second half.
  • Brian Rowe (UCLA) - was inconsistent catching the ball. He dropped a couple of balls, but he was clean on a few high balls. He doesn't endear confidence in me.
  • Mykell Bates (Santa Clara) - was enigmatic. Surprisingly, he was competent playing center back, but was more mistake-prone at his more familiar right back. He lost concentration late in the game.
  • Warren Creavalle (UCF) - is a raw right back. Not too surprising given that he's played defensive midfield for the past several years. His ball skills need further refinement, but his willingness to get in on tackles and take the ball forward is commendable. He is a tremendous athlete.
  • Dom Dwyer (South Florida) - battled Matt Hedges winning a few of the battles including dispossessing him deep in the corner. He wasn't able to break through the defense with the ball.
  • Evans Frimpong (Delaware) - has quick feet and moves the ball elusively on the dribble. His first touch isn't always clean - popping the ball up into the air. He needs to think quicker and move the ball to his teammates.
  • Miguel Ibarra (UC Irvine) - combined effectively with Evans Frimpong to get behind the defense, but his cross was blocked by Aubrey Perry, because Ibarra didn't release the cross quickly enough. Ibarra wasn't aggressive enough taking on Perry.
  • Evan James (Charlotte) - scored the lone goal on a blast from 25 yards. He shifted speeds to give him space to release the ball. He had a hard time getting into the game as he entered at half-time. He was not moving the ball quickly enough, putting Colin Rolfe in an off-side position, rather than providing the ball in a timely manner.
  • Enzo Martinez (UNC) - had problems completing passes - not entirely his fault. For example, he got the ball wide to Mykell Bates who had a mini-Florida vacation and the ball bounded out of bounds. Martinez's shooting was soft. He was best working in tight spaces, but his teammates aren't prepared to handle the passes.
  • Ryan Meara (Fordham) - is still the best goalkeeper in the combine and senior goalkeeper in the nation. He made several reliable stops. However, he could have really stepped up and stopped either goal; he could have preserved the draw.
  • Brian Ownby (UVA) - was active on both sides of the ball. He didn't distinguish himself, but as long as he stays healthy, it's a victory for him.
  • Charles Rodriguez (Charlotte) - was adequate in the air. His passing wasn't sharp.
  • Colin Rolfe (Louisville) - isn't able to find good goal scoring positions and he's not receiving service. Rolfe isn't demonstrating that he could create his own opportunities and finish those chances.
  • Benjamin Ubierna - was more tenacious on 1v1 defense specifically against Kelyn Rowe winning the ball from him. He blocked a shot by Calum Mallace. He showed his lack of foot quickness by tackling (er, wrapping his arms around) an opponent who beat him. His shooting is ill-advised.
Who needs to improve?
  • Matt Hedges (UNC) - made many good plays in the air where he reigns supreme. But, he made a dumb play giving up a needless chance to Dom Dwyer. On the play, he tried to cut the ball back against the grain and work the ball forward, but Dwyer picked his pocket. Additionally, he fouled Dwyer outside the box. Hedges needs to clean up his passing which is typically not something that he's careless to complete.
  • Yuri Gorentzvaig - is slow to react to the play. He shows too much of the ball, allowing quick footed defender to dispossess him. He's apt to shoot, but his shot isn't threatening.
  • Tony Walls (UWGB) - started slow with an uncontrolled pass; calmed down a little to get the ball to Kelyn Rowe. He needs to inject more terror in the middle.
  • Emiliano Bonfigli - has not figured out how to be complement the attack. He looks like he has some ideas, but he isn't connecting with his team mates. In the waning seconds, he made a poor pass on the dribble that could have leveled the match.
  • Shawn Singh (UCLA) - didn't make defensive plays against Yuri Gorentzvaig. His passing was inaccurate creating transitional attacks.
Who do I need to continue to observe/didn't do enough today?
  • Tony Cascio (Connecticut) - didn't make any noticeable impact on this match.

Game Two Darren MattocksadiPure (white) outclassed Prime (green) with four first half goals before surrendering two second half goals to make the final 4-2. Ethan Finlay scored a hat-trick in 30 minutes after flying in from the Hermann awards ceremony on Friday night.  Lineups adiPure White 1st Half F: Luke Holmes (Akron), Sam Garza (UCSB), Ethan Finlay (Creighton)M: Kevon George (Central Florida), Kohei Yamada, Andy Rose (UCLA)D: Diogo de Almeida (Southern Methodist), Austin Berry (Louisville), Andrew Jean-Baptiste (Connecticut), Andrew Duran (Creighton)GK: Chris Blais (South Florida) 2nd HalfF: Luke Holmes (Akron), Ethan Finlay (Creighton), Karo Okiomah (High Point),M: Arthur Ivo (Southern Methodist), Kohei Yamada, Michael Green (New Mexico)D: Tyler Polak (Creighton), Andrew Duran (Creighton), Andrew Jean-Baptiste (Connecticut), Nick Blake (Connecticut)GK: Chris Blais (South Florida)
Prime Green 1st HalfF: Bryan Gaul (Bradley), M: Eder Arreola (UCLA), Christian Barreiro (Penn), Aldo PaniaguaDM: Kirk Urso (North Carolina), Rafael Garcia (Cal Northridge),D: Chris Estridge (Indiana), Tommy Meyer (Indiana), Patrick Sigler (Cal Poly), RJ Allen (Monmouth)GK: Jhojan Obando (Providence) 2nd halfF: Darren Mattocks (Akron), Babayele Sodade (Alabama-Birmingham)M: James Kiffe (UCSB), Lance Rozeboom (New Mexico), Brendan King (Notre Dame), Antoine Hoppenot (Princeton)D: Chris Estridge (Indiana), Patrick Sigler (Cal Poly), Bryan Gaul (Bradley), Kirk Urso (North Carolina)GK: Jhojan Obando (Providence)
Who had a good game (or played better than I expected)?
  • Darren Mattocks (Akron) - has blazing speed which changed the game when he was inserted in the second half on the wrong side of a 0-4 score. He was instrumental on both Prime goals. If Montreal doesn't take him, Vancouver will.
  • Antoine Hoppenot (Princeton) - continues to show the speed of play that has been missing from his game in his senior season. He blew past Tyler Polak with pace. He provided the through ball that Mattocks struck that Chris Blais initially stopped and James Kiffe acrobatically knocked in for the first goal. If Hoppenot continues attacking defenders and playing with his teammates, he has a shot to get invited to camp. The key for me will be watching if he gets back on defense.
  • James Kiffe (UCSB) - scored the first goal for Prime (see above).
  • Babayele Sodade (UAB) - understands team tactics and he isn't afraid to urge his teammates to play appropriately. He scored the second goal when Mattocks got free after colliding with Tyler Polak and Mattocks got up quicker. Mattocks' cross was precise and Sodade finished it from 6 yards.
  • Ethan Finlay (Creighton) - is my man of the match, and I wouldn't be surprised if he's everyone's man of the match. Finlay scored a hat trick. He was quick and precise on his shot. He exhibited why he was on the top of "Joe's Big Board" for much of 2011. I'm concerned that he may have injured himself in the second half.
  • Sam Garza (UCSB) - continues a strong combine demonstrating his size and strength with the ability to play wide and up top. Garza exploded around the right corner leaving Chris Estridge in his wake. Garza stole the ball off Patrick Sigler's foot, freeing Finlay for his first goal. On the third goal, he gathered the rebound and dropped it to Finlay for a medium range shot.
  • Luke Holmes (Akron) - scored his first combine goal, sliding the Andrew Duran cross into the goal. He was successful working as part of the top 4 of Garza, Finlay and Kohei Yamada.
  • Andy Rose (UCLA) - started the second goal looping the ball to Andrew Duran down the sideline. Rose is smart on the ball. He isn't shy to unleash a rocket from distance.
  • Kohei Yamada - is a player. He's small, but quick. He's tenacious. I have taken a liking to his play. He's dynamic and a precise player. On the third goal, Yamada blasted a shot that Jhojan Obando didn't hold and Garza snapped up the rebound. He doesn't speak English which could be a deterrent for some teams. I wouldn't be surprised to see him go to the Pacific Northwest (Seattle/Vancouver).
Who was adequate?
  • RJ Allen (Monmouth) - shielded Luke Holmes out of a play. After getting crunched by Tyler Polak, he tried to get paybacks, but he didn't get full contact on Polak near the end of the game. He made several crosses into the box and 1 poor one in the second half.
  • Rafael Garcia (Cal State Northridge) - made a nice run, but didn't help enough in the first half Prime colander defense. He combined with Urso for a quick combination early in the game.
  • Bryan Gaul (Bradley) - lacking in the first half at his usual forward, but he was serviceable as a center back in the second.
  • Brendan King (Notre Dame) - didn't look bad as a defensive midfielder in the second half including getting forward to make a neat cross.
  • Aldo Paniagua - unleashed a 30 yard shot requiring Chris Blais to tip it over the cross-bar. He stuck Diogo de Almeida, dispossessing him on the way.
  • Kirk Urso (UNC) - combined with his teammates to try and hold possession. As a right back in the second half, did a serviceable job.
  • Austin Berry (Louisville) - wasn't challenged sufficiently and coasted through the first half. His passing continues to not be on-target consistently.
  • Chris Blais (South Florida) - made a few good plays, but he allowed 2 goals including the first that looked soft. His best stop was on an open shot by Mattocks that he deflected wide.
  • Andrew Duran (Creighton) - had an assist as a right back demonstrating that he is a competent attacking option. He didn't do as well as a center back struggling to contain Maddox and his quick feet.
  • Kevan George (UCF) - picked up the first yellow card of the combine on a crunching (out of control) tackle. He's a good hitter, but he needs to be more composed on the ball.
  • Arthur Ivo (SMU) - changed the point of attack successfully. He has a good first touch, but he wound up mis-touching a ball that he was trying to set up for a shot.
  • Andrew Jean-Baptiste (Connecticut) - is a strong center back but his ball skills continue to elude him.
  • Tyler Polak (Creighton) - was better than he was on Friday. But, he was torched by Antoine Hoppenot with speed. As the game progressed, his confidence grew especially after a crunching tackle of RJ Allen. Polak relished in the physical play including successfully shielding the ball. He needs to clearly demonstrate that he is a competent defender. I've seen it, but just not at this combine.
Who needs to improve?
  • Eder Arreola (UCLA) - was little more than a speed bump in the rocky first half with his side particularly abused. He didn't handle Kirk Urso's pass, turning it over.
  • Christian Barreiro (Penn) - wasn't able to generate any type of attack in the first half requiring his defense to defend for the vast majority of the first half.
  • Chris Estridge (Indiana) - continues to struggle to do the things that he has been successful doing in college and PDL. He couldn't stay with Finlay for the fourth goal. He got forward in the second half including one series pressuring Nick Blake and Andrew Jean-Baptiste.
  • Tommy Meyer (Indiana) - was unable to stop the goal scoring in the first half, but to his credit he remained calm and composed. He's a player, but he's on a bad team.
  • Who should consider a couple of days on the beach before starting a regular job?
  • Nickardo Blake (Connecticut) - has lightning feet and clogs for shoes. I have no confidence that he has sufficient technical skills to be a viable right back. He has a lot of work to do to get to that point.
  • Jhojan Obando (Providence) - is over his head. He allowed a goal by allowing a rebound. I like his distribution to his right, but too often that is after he's picking the ball out of the back of the net.
  • Patrick Sigler (Cal Poly) - for the second consecutive game allowed an attacker to take the ball off his foot and it led to a goal. He isn't quick enough.
Who do I need to continue to observe/didn't do enough today?
  • Lance Rozeboom (New Mexico) - entered the game in the second half, but he wasn't challenged much.
  • Diogo de Almeida (SMU) - didn't do much in the first half, other than be dispossessed by Aldo Paniagua.
  • Michael Green (New Mexico) - didn't do much in his first half of play.
  • Karo Okiomah (High Point) - came on in the second half, but didn't get many touches.
Who didn't play/missing?
  • Nick Deleon (Louisville) - did not play. When I questioned Louisville coach Ken Lolla on Saturday about Deleon's lack of passion in the first match, he questioned whether Nick may be carrying an injury. Lolla was not at Friday's match.
Categories: Youth Articles

Michigan Hawks charging in ECNL

Mon, 01/09/2012 - 7:55am

If you want to play with the U18 Michigan Hawks, you better score goals. Their ECNL competition is learning that the hard way this season, and yet another lesson was taught at the recent ECNL National Showcase Event in Sanford, Florida.
Not only did the Hawks win all three of their matches but they did it in typical potent fashion, which included a punishing 6-2 victory over FC Virginia.
There's a reason Michigan sits in third place in the ECNL Flight A standings, and it doesn't look like they'll be falling off anytime soon.
Allyson Krause"I think the key to our success has been how well and fast we move the ball around to switch the point of attack, which has helped us in scoring so much," said striker Mallory Weber, one of team's many scoring threats.
"We play really well up top together and create a ton of scoring chances."
Sanford, a new addition to the squad this season, has given the Hawks even more firepower. They're led by the always dangerous Allyson Krause, who treats goals like shooting drills. She netted four in Sanford, to pace the group.
Eliza Van de Kerkhove stepped up with a hat-trick in the win against FC Virginia, leaving a strong impression on her teammates.
"All of my teammates really impressed me," said Vanessa LaCosse. "We really possessed the ball and worked it around under high pressure. To do that can be hard and I think everyone did a really great job doing that. Since it's our last year, we want to go out with an incredible last season, a lot of wins and possibly a championship to show for it!"
The Hawks are far from alone in that quest.
The current pole leader in the ECNL is Albertson SC, and they too held court with a 3-0 stint in Sanford, beating CASL, Carolina Elite and Charlotte Soccer Academy. 
Should shape up for an interesting race when the ECNL shifts to its third national event of the year February 24-26 in San Antonio, Texas.
Five total events will precede the ECNL National Championship in June.
In Flight B action, the cream also rose to the top four teams in the standings: FC Delco, Scorpions SC, Freestate Soccer Alliance, and SoccerPlus Connecticut all went undefeated. 
FC Delco couldn't have been better, holding its three opponents scoreless. Freestate was also impressive, led by Abigail Ritter, Amira Walcott and Gabriele Moreno, among others.
Categories: Youth Articles

U.S. striker leads U15 squad to German Cup

Mon, 01/09/2012 - 7:52am

The Germans call him 'eismann.' That's 'Iceman' to you and me, and it happens to be a pretty apt description for the 16-year-old Kosta Koukladas, who is cool indeed.
Koukladas is living out his dreams a world away from home with the poise of someone who has done this before.
The American teenager is thriving for German club Rot-Weiss Essen , a club to whom he moved permanently from his Southern California comfort zone nearly two years ago and hasn't looked back since.  
"This is what I've always wanted," said Koukladas, now a fluent speaker of German who will graduate from his Deutschland high school in a year's time. Kosta Koukladas"Everything here is about soccer - everyone knows and cares about the game and it's a part of the culture. I get the chance to learn from the best and do what I love every day."
Koukladas equates his current study abroad to a Harvard education in soccer. Not only is he cutting his teeth with and against world-class players in a Bundesliga Academy, but he's doing it under the mentorship of Rot-Weiss legend Willi "Ente" Lippens.
Koukladas lives in a separate wing on Lippens' property, his own apartment of sorts, and has complete access to the former player's nuggets of wisdom.
This often means film sessions or chats following his daily regimen of school and training.
"I'm able to watch soccer every day and he teaches me so much about the game," Koukladas said. "I've learned tactics from him; how to be cool on the ball; where to shoot it and what a striker does - you name it."  The results have revealed a cold-blooded goal scorer at the youth level for the club, whose first team plays in the Regionalliga Nord, part of the third division in German soccer.
When Koukladas first traveled to the German city of Eseen, in North Rhine-Westphalia, to go on trial for the club at age 14, he was an Irvine Strikers central midfielder. 
But Rot-Weiss coaches saw him as a striker. They were right.
Koukladas, who wears No. 10, has learned how to finish. He scored two goals in his team's U15 German Cup victory and is quickly developing a reputation among the Rot-Weiss faithful. 
None of this has come easy, of course, though Koukladas' self assuredness makes it seem like it has.
He learned German in six months, transitioning smoothly to his German-speaking school. He not only learned how to play a new position but how to do so in snow and inclement weather - not a simple task for a So Cal kid.  If he's homesick, it's not for his American one. Back in the states on Christmas break, one of only two trips he'd been able to make back in 2011, he missed the rigid intensity of his schedule in Germany. 
Kicking the ball around the yard with your brother and sister doesn't quite have the same feel as battling the world's best youth in Spain, Italy and Holland. "I can't wait to get back," he said. Koukladas will have options moving forward. He's a Greek American with dual citizenship in Germany, giving him the ability to potentially play for three national programs.
He's not sure if he he's on the radar of the U.S. program, but they're certainly on his. 
"I would love to play for the U.S. National Team," Koukladas said. "I've always wanted to do that. But it would certainly be an honor to play for any national team. Hopefully, in the future I'm able to do that."
Categories: Youth Articles

Noyola, Wenger win MAC Hermann Trophy

Sun, 01/08/2012 - 7:47am
ST. LOUIS, MO. - (Jan. 6, 2012) - Senior midfielder Teresa Noyola from Stanford University and junior forward Andrew Wenger from Duke University are the winners of the 2011 Missouri Athletic Club's Hermann Trophy, presented to the best female and male players in NCAA Division I soccer. The winners were decided by a vote of NCAA Division I soccer coaches whose programs are current members of the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA).
Teresa NoyolaThis year's presentation is unique for both the women and men. Noyola is the third different Stanford player to win the award in as many years, following Christen Press (2010) and Kelley O'Hara (2009). It marks the first time in the history of the MAC Hermann Trophy that three different players from the same school have won the award three years in a row. Wenger becomes the first MAC Hermann Trophy winner to be coached by a former winner. Duke head coach John Kerr won the award in 1986 while playing for the Blue Devils.
Nyola scored the game-winning goal with a header in the 53rd minute of the 2011 College Cup final against Florida State to capture Stanford's first national championship. She was named the Offensive MVP of the Final Four. In 2011, she scored nine goals, including five game-winners, and added 15 assists. Noyola has also excelled in the classroom, where she earned Pac-12 and NSCAA Scholar-Athlete of the Year honors.
During Noyola's four-year career, the Cardinal went 95-4-4, including 53-0-1 at home, and reached four consecutive College Cups. She totaled 31 goals and 40 assists (102 points) in her career. Noyola was named NSCAA All-America three times (2008, 2010, 2011), the most for any Stanford player since Julie Foudy received four such honors from 1989-92. An NSCAA Youth and High School All-America while playing at Palo Alto High School, she becomes the first player to earn every NSCAA individual player honor at each level (Youth Player of the Year in 2006, High School Player of the Year and Scholar-Athlete of the Year in 2007 and the Hermann Trophy and College Scholar-Athlete of the Year in 2011). Noyola played for Mexico in the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup in Germany .
Andrew WengerThe first runner-up was Stanford senior forward Lindsay Taylor, followed by Penn State sophomore forward Maya Hayes.
Wenger led the ACC with 17 goals and 42 points overall and ranked fourth nationally in total points and sixth in total goals. A starter in every game for the Blue Devils over the past three years, Wenger has earned nearly every ACC award possible. He was selected the 2011 ACC Offensive Player of the Year, after being named the ACC Rookie of the Year and ACC Defensive Player of the Year in 2009 and 2010, respectively.
Wenger is the fourth Duke player to win the prestigious crystal soccer ball trophy, following Kerr (1986), Jay Heaps (1998) and Ali Curtis (2000).  Equally as successful in the classroom, he became the second Blue Devil in program history to earn CoSIDA Academic All-America first team honors. Wenger was also recently one of four juniors to receive NSCAA Scholar All-America first team honors.
The first runner-up was Creighton forward Ethan Finlay, followed by North Carolina junior forward Billy Schule.
Categories: Youth Articles

MLS SuperDraft Combine begins: An Analysis

Sun, 01/08/2012 - 12:31am

Fort Lauderdale, FL - Following are my notes on the two matches from Day one of the MLS SuperDraft Combine. Game One adiPower (Red), with a superior team on paper. were able to come back twice and win the match over Prime (Green) with a score of 3-2. Unlike many years, the first match was well played and generally positive for many of the players, though terrific or horrific first day isn't going to make or break a player.  Luis SilvaThis year fans are not allowed to attend the combine, although many seemed to find a way in to watch the matches. Lineups adiPower Red 1st HalfF: Casey Townsend (Maryland), Chandler Hoffman (UCLA)M: Kelyn Rowe (UCLA), Luis Silva (UCSB), Greg Jordan (Creighton), Jason Banton (Alec Purdie (Indian)a 29') D: Hunter Jumper (Virginia), Matt Hedges (North Carolina), Justin Chavez (Tulsa), Aubrey Perry (South Florida)GK: Brian Rowe (UCLA) 2nd HalfF: Yuri Gorentzvaig, Lucky Mkosana (Dartmouth)M: Luis Silva (UCSB), Calum Mallace (Marquette), Tony Wells (Wisconsin Green Bay), Alec Purdie (Indiana)D: Gienir Garcia, Matt Hedges (North Carolina), Justin Chavez (Tulsa), Aubrey Perry (South Florida)GK: Brian Rowe (UCLA) Prime Green 1st HalfF: Bryan Gaul (Bradley), Darren Mattocks (Akron)M: Eder Arreola (UCLA), Rafael Garcia (Cal Northridge), Lance Rozeboom (New Mexico), Brendan King (Notre Dame)D: James Kiffe (UCSB), Patrick Sigler (Cal Poly), Tommy Meyer (Indiana), Chris Estridge (Indiana)GK: Jhojan Obando (Providence) 2nd Half F: Darren Mattocks (Akron), Babayele Sodade (Alabama-Birmingham)M: Christian Barreiro (Penn), Kirk Urso (North Carolina), Antoine Hoppenot (Princeton), Aldo PaniaguaD: Chris Estridge (Indiana), Lance Rozeboom (New Mexico), Tommy Meyer (Indiana), RJ Allen (Monmouth)GK: Jhojan Obando (Providence) ASSESSMENT Who had a good game (or played better than I expected)?
  • Greg Jordan (Creighton) - has a soft touch and he is a crisp passer. Sensational vision. Good passing. Smart player. Very competent midfielder.
  • Chandler Hoffman (UCLA) - had an assist on the first goal to Townsend and scored the game winner with a calm slotted finish. Didn't finish a 1v1 breakaway. I have reservations, but he played well today. Will he vanish in the next 2 games?
  • Calum Mallace (Marquette) - brought his "A" game. If he continues, an MLS contract is inevitable. Very active. His touch was precise and sharp. He combined with Silva to provide a setup for Alec Purdie. Very dynamic play.
  • Lucky Mkosana (Dartmouth) - had the game winning assist. He found space behind the backs in the second half though he didn't finish his chance. The potential explosion is there. Will he be a consistent finisher? Late in the half, went wide and looked competent.
  • Luis Silva (UCSB) - is exceptionally calm on the ball - and I'm not surprised. With a head fake, he created space before slipping a ball through to Lucky Mkosana. I liked how he got back to support the backs. At times, he pressed his passing and dribbling, trying to do too much.
  • Casey Townsend (Maryland) - scored the first goal taking a pass from Chandler Hoffman after pressuring a Prime defender to give up the ball. Townsend was active and determined to provide support in the midfield.
  • Eder Arreola (UCLA) - terrorized Aubrey Perry around the corner. Additionally, he made a nice stop on Perry when he got forward.
  • Darren Mattocks (Akron) - created the first goal absorbing the pressure before getting the ball out to Brendan King. He blazed by Perry. I liked his leaping ability on the far post on set pieces.
  • Tommy Meyer (Indiana) - made several key defensive stops. Good in the air; made a poor clearance when pressured.
  • Aldo Paniagua - scored the second goal with a blast that was unstoppable. He didn't do much after this - which is a slight concern. I'd like to see him combine more with others and show on both sides of the ball.
  • Lance Rozeboom (New Mexico) - was the best player for Prime. In the first half, he was composed providing service forward and linking the defense. In the second half, he played center back where he was confident in the air and a solid tackler with a dearth of sufficient midfield support.
Who was adequate?
  • Matt Hedges (North Carolina) -involved in the second goal allowing Babayele Sodade to touch the ball back to Aldo Paniagua. Big in the air; playing aggressively. Loved how he stepped up to steal the ball, but his first touch (with his weaker left foot) was rough and the ball sailed out of bounds.  
  • Justin Chavez (Tulsa) - made solid defensive stops. He was able to stop Darren Mattocks cutting through the defense. Nifty tackle.
  • Gienir Garcia - is a tall, physical left back with a cultured left foot. He needs to finish plays. A give-and-go with Yuri Gorentzvaig turned to be a give-and-no, because Garcia didn't follow the play. Started the play for the winning goal with a long diagonal to Lucky Mkosana after calmly stepping around a defender.
  • Kelyn Rowe (UCLA) - was good on the ball; missed a scoring chance from a square ball from Casey Townsend when his shot went too close to the goal keeper.
  • Hunter Jumper (Virginia) - got up the line, finding Townsend who flashed around Chris Estridge in the box. I expected him to be victimized on defense and it didn't occur.
  • Rafael Garcia (Cal State Northridge) - had a few good early touches, made a few tackles including a nice one against Luis Silva; needs to continue to make plays.
  • Christian Barreiro (Penn) - didn't project his will into the game, allowing others to have more impact. He needs to play with more confidence (like I've seen him in every other college and PDL match). He's not someone's little brother that is here to fill out the teams. He can play better - and I expect that he will. He delivers driven corner kicks.
  • Antoine Hoppenot (Princeton) - played opposite of Barreiro (including in style). For example, he was on the ball more, played more effectively, but he's too soft on contact and his passing is erratic - at times, good and at times poor. I have low expectations for Hoppenot, but I wouldn't mind being wrong, because I really loved his game prior to his junior year.
  • Brendan King (Notre Dame) - scored the first goal taking a Darren Mattocks pass and looped the ball over goal keeper Brian Rowe. After that, he had little impact other than a random poor pass even under little pressure.
  • Babayele Sodade (Alabama-Birmingham) - assisted on the second goal using his strength to hold off Hedges before dropping the ball to Aldo Paniagua. I like his strength and desire. I want to see him do more on the ball than step-over moves. I want to see simple 1v1 attacking. He's a big guy who could make an impact.
Who needs to improve?
  • Alec Purdie (Indiana) - didn't finish the chances provided and his crosses were mostly poor. He did get the ball to Yuri Gorentzvaig who didn't finish. Purdie's worst mistake was squaring the ball near midfield but Kelyn Rowe didn't convert the mistake.
  • Brian Rowe (UCLA) - allowed a soft first goal and he didn't garner confidence on the control of his box.
  • Jason Banton - is a tall, quick player that made an early exit after 29 minutes. He easily lost shape. He pressed trying to win the world cup in the first half.
  • Yuri Gorentzvaig - was on the end of a couple of plays; he didn't finish. Intriguing, big guy. He took shots but they were either soft or off target. He has potential.
  • RJ Allen (Monmouth) - didn't complete his passes; his long diagonal was too close to the goal keeper. He wasn't sharp. He can play better. Allen just needs to relax and play his game.
  • Chris Estridge (Indiana) - didn't successfully get forward; he was beat on the dribble by Hunter Jumper. This was a poor game for Estridge. He's much better than he's shown today.
  • James Kiffe (UCSB) - had problems defending Kelyn Rowe. He was able to get around Aubrey Perry (but who didn't); 
  • Patrick Sigler (Cal Poly) - had trouble maintaining his mark on his man. His foot skills are underdeveloped. I was surprised that Tommy Meyers was bigger than Sigler who looked liked a mountain in the Cal Poly back 4. Perhaps, Sigler has lost some weight.
Who should consider a couple of days on the beach before starting a regular job?
  • Aubrey Perry (South Florida) - was continuously chasing his man as he rounded the corner - not any particular player, but anyone was equally beating him. It was a struggle watching this.
  • Jhojan Obando (Providence) - did little to change my mind that he doesn't deserve to be at the combine. I like his throwing distribution, but he lacks foot skills. He blocked a few shots. 
Who do I need to continue to observe/didn't do enough today?
  • Tony Walls (Wisconsin-Green Bay) - started the second half, but I didn't record any notes on him.
  • Bryan Gaul (Bradley) - a tall attacker whose only contribution was being fouled near the box.
  • Kirk Urso (North Carolina) - started the second half and was invisible for much of the half. He took a free kick (away from teammate Christian Barreiro) to the far post. He looks thicker in green. Perhaps, Carolina Blue is more slimming - if so, I might take this as a fashion necessity.
Game Two Miguell IbarraWith the two best goal keepers at the combine, the game between adiZero and adiPure ended in a scoreless draw. Either team had opportunities, but neither team could finish. Lineups AdiZero Blue 1st HalfF: Colin Rolfe (Louisville), Brian Ownby (Virginia)M: Evan James (Charlotte), Kenney Walker (Louisville), Enzo Martinez (North Carolina), Tony Cascio (Connecticut)D: Shawn Singh (UCLA), Charles Rodriquez (Charlotte), Aaron Maund (Notre Dame), Mykell Bates (Santa Clara)GK: Ryan Meara (Fordham) 2nd half F: Dom Dwyer (South Florida), Emiliano BonfigliM: Evans Frimpong (Delaware), Benjamin Ubierna, Enzo Martinez (North Carolina), Miguel Ibarra (UC Irvine)D: Shawn Singh (UCLA), Charles Rodriquez (Charlotte), Aaron Maund (Notre Dame), Warren Creavalle (Central Florida)GK: Ryan Meara (Fordham) adiPure White 1st HalfF: Karo Okiomah (High Point)M: Nick Deleon (Louisville), Arthur Ivo (Southern Methodist), Sam Garza (UCSB)DM: Michael Green (New Mexico), Andy Rose (UCLA)D: Tyler Polak (Creighton), Austin Berry (Louisville), Andrew Jean-Baptiste (Connecticut), Nick Blake (Connecticut)GK: Chris Blais (South Florida) 2nd HalfF: Sam Garza (UCSB)M: Luke Holmes (Akron), Arthur Ivo (Southern Methodist), Kohei Yamada DM: Kevon George (Central Florida), Andy Rose (UCLA)D: Diogo de Almeida (Southern Methodist), Austin Berry (Louisville), Andrew Duran (Creighton), Nick Blake (Connecticut)GK: Chris Blais (South Florida) ASSESSMENT A terrific or horrific first day isn't going to make or break a player. Who had a good game (or played better than I expected)?
  • Tony Cascio (Connecticut) - attacked from many angles, seemingly getting numerous looks, but he was unable to either put it on goal or put it past Chris Blais.
  • Warren Creavalle (Central Florida) - only played in the second half, but played right back brilliantly using his quickness to steal passes. Then, he flawlessly initiated the attack. He earned the penalty kick with an obvious step-over and cut to the right. However, he was fouled on the play from a poorly-timed tackle by Diogo de Almeida.
  • Miguel Ibarra (UC Irvine) - is a joy to watch. He's brilliant on the run. His passing is sublime. Every time that I see him play, I remark that he reminds me of Andy Najar. His future is bright.
  • Evan James (Charlotte) - played one of the best games that I've seen him play. He was competent on the dribble causing problems for Tyler Polak (which he wasn't able to do against Creighton in the NCAA tournament). 
  • Ryan Meara (Fordham) - was his usual top-notch stopper. His goal kicks were hit like a professional. He moved well in the box. I think he can still play better, if challenged.
  • Brian Ownby (Virginia) - blasted a shot that Chris Blais couldn't handle, but his defense covered for him. Ownby was active checking back to assist the midfield and to get the ball.
  • Austin Berry (Louisville) - was the best player on adiPure. He made numerous timely tackles including one where Dom Dwyer had gotten behind the defense and Berry recovered to stop him before he got off a shot. In the air, Berry was a beast. He's at the top of his game. Early in the second half, he hung a long pass to the sidelines which Nick Blake made a meal out of controlling. Berry is going to need to hit every pass.
  • Chris Blais (South Florida) - played better than I expected. He made countless saves and his distribution was above average (but a little less than Meara). Kudos to him.
  • Arthur Ivo (Southern Methodist) - played more central midfield than his normal withdrawn forward, at times seemed awkward or unsure. His passing is top notch and his service on set pieces is tight. He created his own shot beating Aaron Maund on the dribble, but his shot was high.
  • Andy Rose (UCLA) - was calm on the ball and when standing up attackers. His demeanor and his defensive support were encouraging for his team. I'm starting to become an Andy Rose fan.
  • Kohei Yamada - is a lightning quick, wide player with superb ball control. Once he gets comfortable with his teammates, I foresee wonderful things happening in the next 2 games. I'm looking forward to watching him again.
  • Sam Garza (UCSB) - demonstrated his physical attributes with strong runs ending with low, hard shots on goal. He was freed by a Kohei Yamada pass but he was unable to beat Ryan Meara 1v1. Garza has the tools, but does he have the mental maturity to succeed in a long MLS season?
Who was adequate?
  • Emiliano Bonfigli - Slim, slick ball handler who served a nice cross after running onto a long pass from Miguel Ibarra. He contributes, but I want to see more.
  • Enzo Martinez (North Carolina) - missed the penalty kick (off frame) in the final seconds of the game which was a surprise, because he's a dependable penalty taker. He got the ball wide on a bullet. He confidently wanted the ball, but held onto it for too long and was dispossessed. To his credit, he assertively won it back. This was not his best game, but it wasn't his worst. He can play better and I expect that he will in the coming days.
  • Aaron Maund (Notre Dame) - wasn't rattled with tacit pressure. He made several key plays in the air. He didn't make senseless errors with the ball, but he didn't take chances, either. He was beaten on the dribble by Arthur Ivo on an obvious dribble move with Ivo's preferred left foot.
  • Charles Rodriguez (Charlotte) - played solid competent center back. He was confident and moved well. He didn't do anything extraordinary.
  • Colin Rolfe (Louisville) - had several opportunities, but lacked the desire that he had when he dominated against Maryland in the NCAA. He'll need to find his game, again.
  • Kenney Walker (Louisville) - made several soft, small touches to get the ball moving. He also made a nice tackle in the first half. I'd like to see him orchestrate better movement side-to-side like he does with Louisville.
  • Nick Deleon (Louisville) - drifted through most of the first half, trying to maintain calm, but he needed to take his game up a notch. He absorbed a physical challenge at midfield, spinning into the attack while maintaining control of the ball - this was his best play.
  • Andrew Duran (Creighton) - organized the defense in the second half with Austin Berry making most of the highlights. He softly brought a ball down from his chest, took a few touches before sending an accurate ball down the sideline.
  • Kevan George (Central Florida) - ranged around the midfield with a few timely tackles in a single half.
  • Andrew Jean-Baptiste (Connecticut) - played simple, not making any mental mistakes. He even laid off the ball for Sam Garza to take a shot after moving forward on a corner kick. I love his body - his mind, not so much.
Who needs to improve?
  • Evans Frimpong (Delaware) - held the ball too long and when he did release the ball he didn't get the ball to his forwards in good attacking positions.
  • Shawn Singh (UCLA) - hid for much of the match with little to do. When he did get involved, his passing was inconsistent or his first touch was lacking.
  • Nick Blake (Connecticut) - showcased his speed and his lack of quality on the ball. He took a long square pass from Austin Berry and controlled it after several harrowing touches. It looks like the ball unbalances him - almost like he's petrified of it.
  • Diogo de Almeida (Southern Methodist) - fouled Warren Creavalle in the box providing a clear opportunity for his team to lose the game. He had a chance to score early in the second half, taking the ball with a nice touch down on the far post, but his shot was off target.
  • Michael Green (New Mexico) - had a rusty touch, giving up the ball too easily. He's better than he played today.
  • Luke Holmes (Akron) - had a rough day and he didn't really get going after entering the game in the second half. His passing and his dribbling weren't sharp. He made a nice sliding shot just. Previously, he plunked a shot wide after a terrific dribble and cross by Sam Garza. He's better than he's showed.
  • Karo Okiomah (High Point) - tried to pick on Shawn Singh, but he singularly defeated himself. He didn't do much with the limited service he received.
  • Tyler Polak (Creighton) - was disappointing. He only infrequently got forward and he had trouble defending against Evan James. I've seen him play better. I'm not worried about this match, but he can play better.
Who do I need to continue to observe/didn't do enough today?
  • Mykell Bates (Santa Clara) - needs to do more. I don't have any notes on him - but I saw him on the far side of the field in the first half.
  • Dom Dwyer (South Florida) - started the second half but wasn't getting service. He may have a hard time since his game is predicated on timing and service.
  • Benjamin Ubierna - came on in the second half patrolling around the defensive midfield.
Categories: Youth Articles

Porter names roster for U.S. U23 MNT Camp

Sat, 01/07/2012 - 4:42am

From U.S. Soccer  Domestic Camp Convenes Jan. 8-18 at The Home Depot Center; Second Leg of Training Camp Shifts to Costa Rica CHICAGO (Jan. 6, 2012) - U.S. Under-23 Men's National Team head coach Caleb Porter has called in 22 players for a two-part training camp which will take place from Jan. 8-25 in Carson, Calif., and San Jose, Costa Rica. The U-23s will conduct the first 11 days of camp training at The Home Depot Center, before traveling on Jan. 18 to Costa Rica, where they will play two matches against local club teams.  The January camp marks the third gathering of this group as the team prepares for the 2012 CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying Tournament in March. Tickets for the March 22-26 qualifiers at LP Field in Nashville, Tenn., are on sale through  "I'm very pleased with where we are at in our process," Porter said. "With three training camps remaining, I know the staff and players are hungry to get back to work after the holidays. We feel like we have a good handle on the pool after two camps, and certainly the group will become clearer when we get closer to qualifying." Porter's roster includes 18 players who were named to the Dec. 15-23 training session in Lakewood Ranch, Fla. "We are really looking to build as much continuity as possible and this will be reflected in our roster selections from this point forward," Porter said. The U-23s, along with all men's youth National Teams, are incorporating continuity representative of the playing style and framework that is implemented under the U.S. Men's National Team and head coach Jurgen Klinsmann. The full U.S. Men's National Team will be training at The HDC at the same time, and the U-23s will face Klinsmann's group twice, with scrimmages on Jan. 13 and 17 in Carson, Calif.  The forward corps has a couple of new additions with Josh Gatt and Tony Taylor joining the roster. Jacksonville, Fla., native Taylor is in the midst of a loan with Atletico Clube de Portugal through July. Gatt, a native of Plymouth, Mich., signed with Norwegian side Molde at the start of 2011 and helped the club win the Norwegian Premier League.  Calexico, Calif., native Isaac Acuña will be part of Porter's midfield in this corps. Acuña debuted for Club América in April of 2010 and is currently on loan to Mérida. The roster includes a trio of college players. Returning from the mid-December training camp are Duke defenders Sebastien Ibeagha and Andrew Wenger. Also joining the team is UCLA sophomore midfielder Kelyn Rowe, who was named the 2011 Pac-12 Player of the Year and recently earned a contract with Major League Soccer.  "Nothing is completely set yet, and you will see several more players sprinkled in until we make our final decisions," Porter said. "Things are taking shape quickly, which is very promising, and I'm eager to continue building on the great progress we made from the last camp." The same seven defenders from December's camp return in January. The group includes the Houston Dynamo's Kofi Sarkodie and Montreal Impact's Zarek Valentin, who both played for Porter during the Akron Zips' 2010 NCAA Championship.  There are six players with U.S. Soccer Development Academy ties on Porter's roster: defenders Gale Agbossoumonde and Valentin, midfielders Joe Corona and Rowe, and forwards Gatt and Jack McInerney.  The second leg of the training camp in San Jose, Costa Rica, includes a pair of scrimmages as the U-23s face Saprissa Reserves on Saturday, Jan. 21, and Alajuela on Tuesday, Jan. 24.  The U.S. U-23 MNT was drawn into Group A of the 2012 CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying Tournament and will face Canada, Cuba and El Salvador. The teams open group play from March 22-26 at LP Field in Nashville. The two finalists from the tournament qualify for the 2012 Olympic Games in London this summer.  U.S. UNDER-23 ROSTER BY POSITION GOALKEEPERS (2): David Bingham (San Jose Earthquakes), Zac MacMath (Philadelphia Union)  DEFENDERS (7): Gale Agbossoumonde (Estoril Praia), Sebastien Ibeagha (Duke), Kofi Sarkodie (Houston Dynamo), Zarek Valentin (Montreal Impact), Jorge Villafaña (Chivas USA), Andrew Wenger (Duke), Sheanon Williams (Philadelphia Union)  MIDFIELDERS (9): Isaac Acuña (Mérida), Joe Corona (Club Tijuana), Mikkel Diskerud (Stabæk), Dilly Duka (Columbus Crew), Jared Jeffrey (Mainz), Sebastian Lletget (West Ham United), Amobi Okugo (Philadelphia Union), Kelyn Rowe (UCLA), Michael Stephens (LA Galaxy)  FORWARDS (4): Freddy Adu (Philadelphia Union), Josh Gatt (Molde), Jack McInerney (Philadelphia Union), Tony Taylor (Atletico Clube de Portugal)
Categories: Youth Articles

ECNL races tighten after national event

Fri, 01/06/2012 - 2:13pm
Statements were made at the recent ECNL National Showcase Event in Sanford, Florida, but none were bigger than that of the U16 D'Feeters who capped a perfect 3-0 performance with a banner victory last week.
The Texas club matched up with previously undefeated Ohio Elite on the final day of competition and their 1-0 victory spoke volumes about their legitimacy as contenders this season.
Morgan Rushing"We set a goal to win all three games and we were all determined to go home with that goal accomplished," said D'Feeters striker Baylee Mitchell. "We didn't quite finish where we wanted to in the ECNL standings last season, so this year's main goal is very to the point - finish in the top 16 in order to compete for a national championship."
The D'Feeters, currently in the middle of the pack of their National Flight A Standings, are well on their way to making the postseason happen - if their most recent showing is any indication.
Led by goalkeeper Morgan Rushing, the team allowed just one goal during the three matches in Florida.  
And of course, handing Ohio Elite its first loss of the season was an eye-opening bonus. Not that Ohio was particularly impressed.
"Our match against them was't our best game," said Ohio Elite's Madeleine Pescovitz. "We lost some of the intensity we had coming out in previous games and not everyone showed up to play their best. 
"Unfortunately, we got beat, but going undefeated in the ECNL is nearly impossible and we understood that going in to every game. Eventually we knew we had to get beat and we won't let it discourage us for future matches."
Another top U16 squad that came up a little short in Sanford was KCFC. The Kansas club brought an impressive 11-1-3 record into competition but managed just two losses and one tie during the weekend. The team was shut out twice and scored one goal over the three matches.
"We have had a great season, and won our conference without a loss, and because of that I think we got too comfortable from our previous success," explained KCFC defender Cristina DeZeeuw. "We didn't match the other teams' intensity on the field, and it just wasn't clicking for us. We didn't finish some of our chances, and things kind of fell apart for us at times."
KCFC is led by prolific goal-scorer Abigail Sieperda, but even she couldn't spark the offense this time. 
In U16 Flight B action, Ohio Premier won all three of their matches led by the likes of Sydney O'Shaughnessy and Ashley Artrip. The team currently hovers around the top of the standings as they work toward a promotion.
The Sanford showcase was the second of five national events prior to the ECNL National Championship in June.
Categories: Youth Articles

Big Name Clubs Join Dallas Cup Field

Fri, 01/06/2012 - 1:48pm
On Thursday, Dallas Cup officials announced the addition of major international clubs Manchester United, Paris Saint-Germain, and Boca Juniors to the Gordon Jago Super Group at Dallas Cup XXXIII. The trio of storied academies joins last year's co-champions Tigres (Mexico) and Eintracht Frankfurt (Germany) as the five confirmed teams for the elite youth tournament. The SuperGroup is a U19 event at the Dallas Cup, which also features a lower-tier U19 age group, plus many others down to U13. Dallas Cup 2012Dallas Cup was started in 1980 and is the oldest international youth soccer tournament in the United States. The alumni list for the renowned annual event boasts world stars Raul, Wayne Rooney, and David Beckham, as well as U.S. stars Landon Donovan, Clint Dempsey, and Omar Gonzalez. The Dallas Cup Super Group is the invitation-only U19 bracket that has hosted top clubs like Arsenal, FC Barcelona, and Liverpool in past installments. The 2012 tournament will be Manchester United's second trip to the prestigious tourney. The first came in 2006, when Giuseppe Rossi, Jonny Evans, and Darren Gibson led the English academy to a fourth place finish that included a 3-2 victory over Real Madrid in front of 17,000 fans in FC Dallas Park on opening night. "We will be bringing a team that have been together for a while, a majority of which were involved in winning the Youth Cup last season," Manchester United reserve manager Warren Joyce said in the release. "It is good experience for the lads to play teams from different cultures and it is a great opportunity for us all."
Joining the English Youth Cup champions is the current French U19 and U17 titleholders, Paris Saint-Germain, which is making its debut appearance in Texas. 
"It is an honor for Paris Saint-Germain to participate in such a renowned and prestigious tournament in the U.S.," PSG's Director of International Development Sebastien Wasels said. "We are grateful for Nike and the Dallas Cup organization for their invitation and we look forward to demonstrating the quality of our academy program during the competition." Famous South American club Boca Juniors rounds out the three new additions to this year's tournament. The powerhouse from Argentina claims one of the most famous academies in the world that is responsible for cultivating many of the stars of the current Argentina national team. The remaining seven teams for the Super Group will be announced in the coming weeks. Dallas Cup XXXIII will be held April 1-8, 2012.
Categories: Youth Articles

Polak signs GA deal with MLS

Thu, 01/05/2012 - 10:36pm
Former U17 Men's National Team and Creighton left back Tyler Polak has signed a Generation adidas contract with Major League Soccer and will be entered in the league's draft next Friday in Kansas City. Polak, a Lincoln, Nebraska native who also will participate in the MLS Combine this weekend in Florida, left Creighton after two standout seasons with the Blue Jays. Tyler PolakHe said the decision to leave school and enter the professional ranks now was not a difficult one. "We had a good season and went to the final 4, and after talking with my family and my coach at the end of the season, we just felt it was time to go," the 19-year-old said. "I'm excited and nervous. I have a lot of mixed emotions. It's going to be hard, but it should be a lot of fun." Polak had done well at the 2009 FIFA U17 World Cup and attracted interest from clubs in Germany, but ultimately decided to enter school at Creighton, where he was majoring in graphic design. He said he thinks he is the better for his two years of college soccer. "I think it's helped out," Polak said. "I've had different coaches coach me (Jamie Clark and then Elmar Bolowich). They've had different perspectives on the game and it's helped me to get both of those. My teammates have been supportive so I think it was a good move." Polak said he intends to finish his degree, either through online courses or by re-enrolling at the end of his playing career (the GA  deal included an educational component). MLS only offers GA deals to players who have been tabbed by league teams as someone they'd like to sign. Polak will be evaluated in this weekend's Combine and then likely is a first-round draft choice at next week's MLS Draft in Kansas City, held in conjunction with the NSCAA Convention ( will have full coverage). Polak played club soccer for Capital Soccer Asssociation in Lincoln, Nebraska. He was identified initially through U.S. Youth Soccer's Olympic Development Program, where he was a standout for the Region II (Midwest) team. He was then selected to enter Bradenton Residency with the U17 Men's National Team by then head coach John Hackworth. He went on to excel under Wilmer Cabrera at the 2009 World Cup in Nigeria. Polak said he doesn't feel any added pressure as an ambassador for a state not known for sending a lot of players on to soccer stardom. "I don't feel any weight, I feel more support. I feel like the whole state and my previous team, have my back, so it's more of a lift. I'm not sure how many (Nebraskans) will be watching (the draft). Soccer is not too big here."Polak is best known as a left back who gets forward well, so he may be considered for a left midfield or wing role in MLS.
Categories: Youth Articles

U.S. U20 stars to show U18s the ropes

Thu, 01/05/2012 - 4:54am
When the U.S. U18 Women's National Team sets foot on the Olympic Training Center grounds this weekend in Chula Vista, California, they'll be following in the elder footsteps of the U20s.
The 18s will share the venue with the 20s during their camp which runs from January 7-15, and as it turns out that won't be the only thing they'll share.
The connections through the two teams runs deep, as the U18s will undoubtedly be looking up to players they hope to emulate in the near future.
April HeinrichsSome players will come closer to doing so than others.
For example, defenders Maya Theuer, Laura Liedle and Ryan Walker will get an early simulation of Stanford's competition level simply by looking across the field and seeing U20 Cardinal speedster Chioma Ubogagu.
All three Stanford-to-be prospects are well aware of Ubogagu and are looking forward to getting a taste of next season's training battles. 
"She is definitely a college star that I look up to," Theuer said. "As a defender it'll definitely be a challenge to match up with her - she has great pace and skill. I'm looking forward to it and I'm super excited for the camp."
Other job shadowing will include Katie Naughton and Brittany Von Rueden, both of whom are on the verge of becoming Notre Dame teammates with U20 standout Mandy Laddish. 
As rivalries go, Christen Westphal better get a good look at Florida State defender Kassey Kallman. She'll be trying to keep pace next season when she arrives as a defensive presence for the Florida Gators. 
Virginia stars, and U20 players, Morgan Brian and Olivia Brannon can show the ropes to Cavaliers' committees Alexis Shaffer and Makenzy Doniak, while U18 player Reilly Parker is prepping to attend North Carolina where she'll join U20 members Crystal Dunn and Kealia Ohai.
And then there's U18 goalkeeper Laura Glew, who has a connection to U20 players Sydney Leroux and Julie Johnston that has little to do with college.
"We have all been coached by (SC del Sol & Sereno SC's) Les Armstrong, so I'm really looking forward to seeing them play,"Glew said. "He has always pushed me to the highest level and I know he did the same with Julie and Sydney."
U.S. Soccer Women's Technical Director April Heinrichs will lead the U18s during a week that will include a pair of scrimmages against the Shanghai Women's Football Club of China.
Twenty-two of the players called in were born in 1994, which is the age cutoff for the 2014 FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup, the tournament for which this group of players is working toward. 
U.S. U18 WNT Camp Roster  GOALKEEPERS (3): Laura Glew (SC Del Sol; Chandler, Ariz.), Katelyn Rowland (UCLA; Vacaville, Calif.), Andi Tostanoski (Pride Predator; Colorado Springs, Co.) DEFENDERS (9): Stephanie Amack (Mustang Blast; Pleasanton, Calif.), Rachel Blauner (South Shore Select FC; East Bridgewater, Mass.), Laura Leidle (San Diego Surf; San Diego, Calif.), Katie Naughton (Sockers FC; Arlington Heights, Ill.), Alexis Shaffer (CASL; Cary, N.C.), Maya Theuer (San Diego Surf; Carlsbad, Calif.), Brittany Von Rueden (FC Milwaukee Nationals; Mequon, Wis.), Ryan Walker (Mustang Blast; Oakland, Calif.), Christen Westphal (Cleveland Internationals SC; Brecksville, Ohio) MIDFIELDERS (6): Rachel Conners (Real So Cal; Moorpark, Calif.), Isabelle Farrell (Crossfire Premier, Bellevue, Wash.), Ashley Meier (Cleveland Whitecaps; Strongsville, Ohio), Reilly Parker (Mustang Blast; Danville, Calif.), Gabrielle Seiler (Concorde Fire SC; Peachtree, Ga.), Allison Wetherington (Concorde Fire SC; Acworth, Ga.) FORWARDS (6): Janine Beckie (Real Colorado; Highlands Ranch, Colo.), Makenzy Doniak (Slammers FC; Chino Hills, Calif.), Kelli Hubly (Sockers FC; Elk Grove, Ill.), Kodi Lavrusky (Legends FC; Yucaipa, Calif.), Anna McClung (GSA Phoenix; Gate City, Va.), Courtney Raetzman (Sockers FC; Elk Grove, Ill.)
Categories: Youth Articles

Billy Schuler signs with Hammarby

Wed, 01/04/2012 - 11:47pm
Report: Billy Schuler signs with Hammarby IF According to media outlet, UNC midfielder Billy Schuler is set to sign with Swedish club Hammarby IF following a physical this week. Schuler finished his college career with 29 goals and 15 assists in 73 games at Chapel Hill. In his final season, he notched a career best eight game-winners while leading the Tar Heels to their first national championship in ten years. Billy SchulerThe midfielder is ranked as the second best professional prospect for underclassmen according to Joe's Big Board. He also finished the season as the fourth best player among all non-freshmen on's Top 100. Hammarby holds notoriety for American fans as the first professional club for U.S. international Charlie Davies and is currently coached by former Galaxy defender Gregg Berhalter. Schuler would join ex-Chicago Fire midfielder (and Sockers FC youth player) Baggio Husidic as the other former American college player on the roster. Hammarby plays in the Superettan, which is the second flight in Sweden, after being relegated in 2010. The 2012 Swedish season begins in February.
Categories: Youth Articles

Three club stars join U.S. U20 WNT camp

Wed, 01/04/2012 - 7:28am
The top college stars in the country will be back in action beginning this week for the latest U.S. U20 Women's National Team camp in Chula Vista, California. Of course, there are a few exceptions to the big-name group which will convene this Thursday, January 5, until January 19 in preparation of qualifying for the 2012 FIFA U20 Women's World Cup in a couple months.  Bryane HeaberlinThree club stars will also be a part of the action, including goalkeeper Bryane Heaberlin, defender Cari Roccaro and forward Lindsey Horan - three standouts who were key players during the 2010 U17 WNT cycle.  It'll be quite the experience for those three, who get to rub shoulders with established college players like Katie Stengel, Maya Hayes and Kealia Ohai.   "I am so honored to be chosen as one of the three non college players to play with the U20 age group," said Albertson SC's Roccaro, who has her fair share of national camp experience, but never with the U20s. "I know it won't be easy to go from being one of the oldest in my age group to being one of the youngest with the 20s, but it is an adjustment that I will have to make when I get to camp. I am very excited to be playing with some of the best college players from all around the country and I can't wait to see how I fit in with them."
Coach Steve Swanson likely can't wait either. 
He'll have some decisions to make in advance of Cup qualifying. The thirty invitees will face off against the Shanghai Women's Football Club of China on two occasions in the coming weeks.
Morgan Brian, Vanessa DiBernardo and Chioma Ubogagu will all be there. They're just a few of the dominant college names that will jump out at young players like Roccaro.
"I know most of the girls," she said. "I hope they help me adjust to playing at a higher level. I have been working hard and I have high hopes for the best."
U.S. U20 WNT Camp Roster GOALKEEPERS (4): Bryane Heaberlin (Clearwater Chargers; St. Petersburg, Fla.), Jami Kranich (Villanova; Hamden, Conn.), Abby Smith (Dallas Texans; Dallas, Texas), Abby Steele (Oregon; Santa Rosa, Calif.)  DEFENDERS (10): Olivia Brannon (Virginia; Troy, Mich.), Kori Chapic (Penn State; Russell, Ohio), Abby Dahlkemper (UCLA; Menlo Park, Calif.), Crystal Dunn (North Carolina; Rockville Centre, N.Y.), Jaelene Hinkle (Texas Tech; Denver, Colo.), Julie Johnston (Santa Clara; Mesa, Ariz.), Kassey Kallman (Florida State; Woodbury, Minn.), Casey Morrison (Boston College; York, Pa.), Mollie Pathman (Duke; Durham, N.C.), Cari Roccaro (Albertson Fury; East Islip, N.Y.)  MIDFIELDERS (7): Morgan Brian (Virginia; St. Simmons Island, Ga.), Kaysie Clark (Missouri; Liberty, Mo.), Vanessa DiBernardo (Illinois; Naperville, Ill.), Kaitlyn Fitzpatrick (UC Berkeley; Pleasanton, Calif.), Sarah Killion (UCLA; Fort Wayne, Ind.), Mandy Laddish (Notre Dame; Lee's Summit, Mo.), Sam Mewis (UCLA; Hanson, Mass.)  FORWARDS (9): Micaela Capelle (Portland; Gresham, Ore.), Maya Hayes (Penn State; West Orange, N.J.), Lindsey Horan (Colorado Rush; Golden, Colo.), Sophia Huerta (Santa Clara; Boise, Idaho), Stephanie McCaffrey (Boston College; Winchester, Mass.), Kealia Ohai (North Carolina; Draper, Utah), Kate Schwindel (West Virginia; Livingston, N.J.), Katie Stengel (Wake Forest; Melbourne, Fla.), Chioma Ubogagu (Stanford; Coppell, Texas)
Categories: Youth Articles

Cabrera exit indicates new era for U.S. YNT

Wed, 01/04/2012 - 1:00am
(The official USSF press release announcing the departure of Wilmer Cabrera for the organization, issued earlier Tuesday, is included at the end of this article). On Tuesday, U.S. Soccer announced that U.S. U17 head coach Wilmer Cabrera and the federation had "mutually agreed to part ways." The split ended a four-year tenure for the former Colombian international that had its fair share of highs and lows. Wilmer CabreraThe parting comes one month after Cabrera led the team to a title at the Nike International Friendlies that included wins over Brazil and France. On the other end of the spectrum, it comes six months after Cabrera blasted the performance of his players at the 2011 U17 World Cup due to a lack of maturity. Cabrera assumed the role as head coach of the U17 program in fall of 2007 after cutting his teeth in the U.S. youth system with New York club B.W. Gottschee. He led the team to two U17 World Cup appearances, but failed to advance past the first knockout stage at either event. The premature exit at last year's event was the fifth straight time that the U.S. failed to win a game beyond the pool play round. The lackluster showing led to an outburst from the coach regarding the state of the American player. "At this stage, in our country the kids are still boys," he said following a 4-0 loss to Germany. "In other countries, they are already fighting for a spot in a professional team." Perhaps handicapped by the residency program, the shift toward a more professional player never took shape in the months following the World Cup even as the age group transitioned into a new cycle. "I've enjoyed my time with the U17s, but my journey with U.S. Soccer will be coming to an end," Cabrera said in a press release on Tuesday. "I am looking forward to the next stage of my coaching career." Cabrera's critics questioned his willingness to communicate and cooperate with the coaching community, including other parts of the USSF YNT setup. The age-appropriate qualities of his coaching methods and communication style were also sometimes disputed. With the dismissal of Cabrera, the federation has now split with every youth national team head coach since Claudio Reyna accepted the position as Youth Technical Director in April, 2010. In October, the federation began the shakeup when they selected Caleb Porter as the Olympic team coach, Tab Ramos as the U20 coach, Richie Williams for the U18s, and Tony Lepore to lead the U15s. Hugo Perez now leads the U14 BNT, replacing longtime coach and now semi-retired coach Manfred Schellscheidt. Reyna has stressed the importance of one style of play among all age groups since taking over the directing role. With all of the recent hires, it is clear that he is making those words ring true in the near future. The new direction for the youth national program now lands on Reyna's shoulders as he has been the instrumental part in shepherding the federation into this new era. In the immediate future, Cabrera will continue as head coach until the end of January. The search for a replacement is underway.   Text of USSF release about Wilmer Cabrera's departure is as follows.
U.S. Soccer announced today that Wilmer Cabrera will be leaving his role as head coach of the U.S U17 Men's National Team after the two sides mutually agreed to part ways. 
"After several discussions with Wilmer, we agreed that parting ways at this time was the best way forward," said U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati. "We appreciate Wilmer's contributions to U.S. Soccer during the past four years with the U17 Men's National Team. We wish him all the best in the future." 
Cabrera will coach the team through January, including an international trip to Turkey, as U.S. Soccer transitions to a new coaching staff to oversee the U17 Residency Program in Bradenton, Fla. A search for a replacement is underway. 
"I've enjoyed my time with the U17s, but my journey with U.S. Soccer will be coming to an end," said Cabrera. "I am looking forward to the next stage of my coaching career." 
Cabrera was named the head coach of the Under17 Men's National Team in the fall of 2007. During his four years, he guided the U.S. to the Round of 16 in both the 2009 and 2011 FIFA U17 World Cups.
Categories: Youth Articles

Cabrera out as U.S. U17s Coach

Wed, 01/04/2012 - 1:00am
From U.S. Soccer
U.S. Soccer announced today that Wilmer Cabrera will be leaving his role as head coach of the U.S U17 Men's National Team after the two sides mutually agreed to part ways. 
Wilmer Cabrera"After several discussions with Wilmer, we agreed that parting ways at this time was the best way forward," said U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati. "We appreciate Wilmer's contributions to U.S. Soccer during the past four years with the U17 Men's National Team. We wish him all the best in the future." 
Cabrera will coach the team through January, including an international trip to Turkey, as U.S. Soccer transitions to a new coaching staff to oversee the U17 Residency Program in Bradenton, Fla. A search for a replacement is underway. 
"I've enjoyed my time with the U17s, but my journey with U.S. Soccer will be coming to an end," said Cabrera. "I am looking forward to the next stage of my coaching career." 
Cabrera was named the head coach of the Under17 Men's National Team in the fall of 2007. During his four years, he guided the U.S. to the Round of 16 in both the 2009 and 2011 FIFA U17 World Cups.
Categories: Youth Articles

ACC adds two standouts

Tue, 01/03/2012 - 10:05am

All hail the ACC.

The conference that has set the standard for competitive excellence will likely do the same in 2012.

John CajkaA pair of men's players got the conference off to a positive start with verbal commitments.

CESA standout John Cajka has committed to Clemson for the 2012 season while Marshall Glover gave his verbal to Duke for the 2013 season.

With National Signing Day about a month away, these numbers are sure to grow in a hurry.

Other recent boys' commitments include:

Jason Scolaro (Intense Soccer Academy) has verbally committed to NJIT for the 2012 season.

Johnny Madrid (Chivas USA) has verbally committed to Cal State Bakersfield for the 2012 season.

On the girls' side:

Brinkley Field (Solar SC) has verbally committed to Texas for the 2012 season.

Amanda Bates (West Coast FC) has verbally committed to Hawaii for the 2012 season.

Alison Skidmore (Santa Rosa United) has verbally committed to Air Force for the 2013 season.

Categories: Youth Articles

National League play 2/3 complete at Disney

Tue, 01/03/2012 - 9:55am
ORLANDO, Fla. The US Youth Soccer National League U15, U16, U17 and U18 Girls celebrated the new year by showcasing their talents in meaningful and competitive matches Sunday at ESPN's Wide World of Sports in Orlando, Fla., in conjunction with the Disney Soccer Showcase.
Each division is represented by four of the league's eight teams per division age group this weekend, with the exception of all 12 U18 teams who have finalized their division standings and will play the same seed from the opposite division Monday for outright league standings. This weekend of play will finalize league standings for the U15, U16 and U17 groups until the remaining four teams per division age group compete in Las Vegas, Nev., March 23-25.
With one day of play still remaining in Orlando, no division championships other than the U18's can be determined until play resumes in Las Vegas in March, a testament to the level of competition of each and every team who earned their spot to compete in the National League.
The U18 Girls group finalized division standings Sunday with FC Pennsylvania Strikers (E-PA) claiming the Blue division and Toro Bravo (NE) the Red. Both teams have made prior National Championships appearances, with Toro Bravo claiming a Region II Championship and FC Pennsylvania claiming a National League slot in the 2008-2009 season, as well as the Region I Championship last year.
FC Pennsylvania has qualified for the National League in each season since their U15 year, and coach David Shaw expressed his feelings when asked about the experience of playing in the league.
"Fantastic. National League is a collection of the best teams in the country. If you look at the teams that are playing in the National League this year and look at the ones that were playing in the National and Regional Championships last year, they're pretty much all the same teams. It's great competition up and down the line, great coaching, you can't beat it."
"In order to develop as a player and as a team you have to measure yourself by playing against the best competition out there. Playing in the National League gives you that opportunity to go out and play against the best, and if you're on top of your game you'll have success and if you're not you won't, and that's what it should be all about. It teaches you that success comes from hard work and that's the way life is too."
"This team has won the Eastern Pennsylvania State Cup for five years in a row, they've won regionals twice, been a National League representative at Nationals once, and I think that comes from teaching them things even outside of soccer. Learn to try your best and you earn success from hard work and trying your best."
National League teams are club soccer teams with an individual proven track record of success in US Youth Soccer regional and national competitions, and are among the nation's best. Games are being played in conjunction with the Disney Soccer Showcase, creating another significant opportunity for the nation's collegiate and National Team coaches to see National League players in an environment of meaningful play, citing the competitive level of each game as every team has to earn their spot in the competition, regardless of hometown or club affiliation.

The league is an extension of the highly successful US Youth Soccer Regional Leagues (US Youth Soccer Region I Premier League, Midwest Regional League, Region III Premier League and Far West Regional League). The National League provides an avenue for teams to play in meaningful matches against top competition from across the country for continued development. In addition to recruiting opportunities, National League teams compete for the league title and two slots to the annual US Youth Soccer National Championships for the U15 through U17 age groups.

Some highlights from Sunday's matches...

U15 Girls
VSA Heat 96 Blue (VA) jumped Sunrise-Weston Sting (FL) into third place in the division with a 2-0 victory. Kristin Schnurr netted twice in the second half with 43rd minute and stoppage time goals to not only put VSA into the third spot, but place Schnurr into a tie for second among all scorers with four.
JB Marine Wipke (MO) was making a charge for the top spot in the Red division, but PWSI Courage 96 Red (VA) had something to say about that, coming out with a 2-0 win. Allison Turner scored the eventual winner nine minutes after the restart and Annie Boros clinched the game nine minutes from time to give PWSI their first victory of the season.
U16 Girls
KCFC Futura Academy (MO) is putting the rest of the division under heat as they extended their lead atop the Red division after a 4-2 victory over AHFC 96 (S-TX), who was looking to make a run for the title as well. KCFC standout Savannah Trujillo exploded for four goals in the game, giving her top spot among scorers with seven total. Trujillo netted twice in the first 10 minutes, and again in the 21st for a 3-0 KCFC lead, but AHFC showed their resolve with goals by Michaela Abam and Shaylee Ward to get within one before Trujillo grabbed her fourth to seal the win for KCFC.
Grand Rapids Crew Juniors (MI) assumed the Blue division lead after a 1-0 win versus BRYC 95 Elite (VA), who sits at the bottom of the table despite just two losses in six games. Sydney Vinton scored the winner in the 30th minute as Crew now hope to put as many points as possible between them and idle Legends 95 (CA-S) and Match Fit Chelsea Beat (NJ) to claim the ticket to the National Championships.
U17 Girls
Only one team could make a realistic charge for the Blue championship, and VSA Heat Blue (VA) overcame JB Marine Wipke (MO) 3-2 to take first place in the division and stay in contention for a National Championships berth. The importance of the match was obvious as VSA twice came back from a goal down to eventually get the winner six minutes before time. Brianne Ebenroth scored first for JB Marine in the 15th and the lead lasted until the 50th when Vanessa Kovar leveled for VSA. Jade Klump put JBM back on top nine minutes later, but Ashley Herndon again equalized in the 69th before VSA completed the comeback when Christina Corbin scored in the 79th.
Both Michigan FC 95 and Herndon Firecats (VA) were trying to stay in the hunt for the division, but a 1-1 tie mathematically eliminates Herndon. Cassandra Smith put Herndon in the lead two minutes after the restart, but Elizabeth Abro drew level for Michigan six minutes later as Michigan will face Eclipse Select 94/95 (IL) tomorrow for a possible spot in Nationals.
Categories: Youth Articles

U.S. U17 MNT player picks home program

Sat, 12/31/2011 - 2:37am
In the time Edwin Luna spent with the U.S. U17 Men's National Team, he learned plenty. Mostly, that there's so much more he wants to accomplish as a player.
"It was a good experience but I feel as though I never really got my chance to show what I could do," Luna said. "I'm working hard to get back and to become a better player."
Luna's journey will take him to Sacramento State where he has committed for the 2012 season. He'll join players like Cesar Mendoza and Nathaniel Nugen when he arrives this fall.
A local product from San Jose, Luna is a dynamic goal-scorer who is anxious to take his game to the next level. He's recently taken to playing futsal in order to improve his footwork and ball skills - two areas that are already strengths. 
For Luna, there is always more work to be done.
"My coach (on the U17 National Team) was always yelling at me to work on my left foot, now I finally have a nice left foot," he said. "I'm just continuing to work hard."
Hayden PartainIn other boys' commitments:
Luca Quinn has verbally committed to Albany for the 2012 season. He is No. 14 in the New York Region. 
Hayden Partain (Solar SC) has verbally committed to Wake Forest for the 2013 season. He is No. 11 in the Texas Region. 
Trey Hemphill (North Meck SC) has verbally committed to UNC Asheville for the 2012 season. 
John Sandmann (Kings Soccer Academy) has verbally committed to Wright State for the 2012 season. 
Andrew Lyon (Toms River) has verbally committed to NJIT for the 2012 season.  
Ward Gavin (Charlotte United FC) has verbally committed to Navy for the 2013 season. He is No. 20 in the South Atlantic Region.
Categories: Youth Articles