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U14 and U15 BNT introduce players to new system

Tue, 03/13/2012 - 5:53am

Since Claudio Reyna accepted the position of Technical Director for U.S. Soccer Youth National Teams in 2010, he has preached the same message to anyone who would listen, 'one style of play.'

The continuity from one age group to the next perhaps has been lacking in the past, as a clear vision was not always apparent, but Reyna has set out to change that from top to bottom.

In the combined U14 and U15 Boys National Team camp, the two youngest age groups in the national program, that wrapped up last weekend, Reyna's blueprint and message of continuity was obvious.

Both teams stuck religiously to a 4-3-3 formation and attempted to hold possession for long stretches throughout the scrimmages against local clubs and an ODP team from California.

Claudio Reyna"I think what has been nice is that we don't feel like we are starting over with each camp," U15 Boys National Team head coach Tony LePore told TopDrawerSoccer.com. "There have been some good moments with that, and some moments where we think we could get better."

The similarities between LePore's U15 team and Hugo Perez's U14 team are easy to spot, as both coaches preached building from the back and holding onto the ball, but it is still a laborious process to teach a style of play that the players may not be familiar with at the club level.

"You go building up little by little," U14 Boys National Team head coach Hugo Perez told TopDrawerSoccer.com. "The focus for the first few days here was building out of the back. [And] we did not boot the ball once [in the scrimmages]."

Perez was referencing the scrimmages for the U14 national team where his group of 36 players was split into two groups and played against LA Galaxy Academy and ODP - Cal South.

Perez's teams ended the pair of friendlies with a win and a loss, but it was the style of play that pleased the coach more than any result.

"The concept of the team and the style of play is very important and I was happy to see it today," Perez said on Wednesday.

After wrapping up camp on Sunday, Perez will not see the U14 national team group again for three months, but he is pleased with the initiative from the federation to stay more involved even when players are not in camp.

"U.S. Soccer is trying to do a little bit more now," Perez said. "We are leaving them with homework: skills, [watching] games, technical stuff - to play like this you have to be technical."

So what exactly is the style?

Beyond the formation and possession-heavy mantra, there are some obvious other messages that Perez and LePore are trying to teach the players at an early stage in the development.

"Our message is if we lose the ball, we have to win it back because we need to have the ball to play the way we want to play," Perez said. "Losing the ball cannot be an excuse anymore - in terms of being unlucky or anything like that - so they have to press and win it back."

The coaches continue to build one stage at a time, as Perez said this camp was focused on keeping the ball on the ground and moving it quickly.

"That was the goal for this camp - to see if we can play a lot with the ball on our feet," Perez said.

LePore was encouraged by what he saw from the players in bringing the lessons from training into the scrimmages on Tuesday.

"The big emphasis was implementing things from training especially in terms of style of play in these games," Lepore said. "That is a big part of what we are trying to do - keep the ball, move it quickly, and also make sure we are looking [to get] behind [the defense]."

As for Reyna, the former U.S. national team captain stays heavily involved with the structure, and loomed on the sidelines over both camps.

He is supervising, noting, and improving the way the youth national teams play when any one takes the field. The message remains clear: one style for all teams.

J.R. Eskilson is a staff reporter at TopDrawerSoccer.com. Follow him on or send him an ' ); document.write( addy_text27922 ); document.write( '<\/a>' ); //-->\n ' ); //--> This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ' ); //-->
Categories: Youth Articles

ECNL Weekend Recap: March 10-11

Tue, 03/13/2012 - 5:47am
Action was fast and furious in the ECNL this past weekend, as the rising temperature of spring continues to add pressure to each weekend.

At the U17 level, two Midwest Conference teams faced off in a high stakes meeting, as Carmel United got the better of the Michigan Hawks by a 2-0 score. Carmel midfielder Morgan Proffitt helped to make the difference as the Indiana club won all three games on the weekend.

"Their 17s played well," Hawks U17 coach Doug Landefeld told TopDrawerSoccer.com. "I think it was a pretty even game even though we lost 2-0."

It was an extremely busy weekend for Carmel United, as the game against the Hawks was the second of three in three days, after a 2-0 win over Minnesota Thunder on Friday. They wrapped things up with another impressive performance on Sunday, a 5-0 defeat of Vardar to raise their record to 7-1-1 in the conference and push up the national standings.

Along with Proffitt, forward Tori Doss was active for Carmel, getting a pair of goals over the three-day stretch, while defenders Molly Pittman and Megan Kaser each combined well with the midfield to get on the score sheet.

Morgan ProffittEspecially this weekend, defense is the key for Carmel's success.

"We do feel like we have a very, very strong back line, and that's why we very rarely concede goals," Carmel U17 head coach Ralph Ricards told TopDrawerSoccer.com. "Five or six players in the midfield can hold their own against lots of midfields around the country."

Meanwhile, the Hawks managed a point in their second game of the weekend, a 2-2 draw against Minnesota Thunder, wrapping up Michigan's schedule for the year to finish with a conference record of 12-3-2.

Elsewhere at the U17 level, Colorado Storm split a pair of games, winning 3-1 over Sereno Soccer Club, before losing the second game on Sunday to SC Del Sol 1-0.

Ohio Premier Eagles split its pair of Virginia games, losing 3-2 to Richmond Strikers before securing a 2-0 win over FC Virginia to head back home with all three points.

U15


It was a good weekend for Penn Fusion's U15s, as they traveled to Virginia and picked up a pair of wins, 2-0 over Bethesda and 1-0 over McLean...Vardar also took to the road and picked up two wins, defeating Minnesota Thunder Academy 2-1 and beating Carmel United 3-1...West Coast FC won big over Eagles Soccer Club 5-0 out in California.

U16


Vardar won a 4-3 shootout against Minnesota Thunder on Saturday...Carmel United defeated Vardar on Sunday 2-0...Sereno Soccer Club swept both games on the weekend to climb in the standings, defeating Colorado Storm 3-0 and Utah Avalanche by a 4-1 score line.

It was a busy weekend for the Thunder in particular, playing three matches on the weekend, and coming away empty in all three, losing 2-1 against Carmel United and 4-1 to Michigan Hawks.

In every game the Thunder had a lead or were tied with each opponent but couldn't keep up. Amy Yang played well over the weekend and Lauren Miller picked up a pair of goals against Vardar.

"I had mixed emotions from the weekend," Thunder head coach David Alberti told TopDrawerSoccer.com. "At times we played really well, at other times we made very key mistakes that our opponents capitalized on which is what good teams do."

U18

Both Ohio clubs that made the long trip to Virginia, but it was a successful one. Ohio Premier Eagles defeated Richmond Strikers 3-0, and drew 2-2 with FC Virginia, while Ohio Elite Soccer Academy tied FC Virginia 2-2 and won 7-1 against the Strikers...FC Bucks also tasted success on the road, winning 2-1 against Mclean Youth Soccer and 3-0 over Bethesda SC...Michigan Hawks wrapped up a stellar 13-1-3 season with a pair of wins, 2-1 over Carmel and 3-1 over Minnesota Thunder.
Categories: Youth Articles

Caleb Porter Names 19 Players to U23 MNT roster

Tue, 03/13/2012 - 2:32am
U.S. Under-23 Men's National Team head coach Caleb Porter has named an initial 19-player roster for training camp that will convene March 13 to begin final preparations for the CONCACAF Men's Olympic Qualifying tournament.

A player withdrew from consideration Monday afternoon following confirmation of an injury. Porter will make one addition to the group after obtaining a release from his club.

The official 20-player roster will be finalized March 20, the due date for all participating teams to submit their rosters to CONCACAF. The U.S. will compete in Group A which kicks off March 22 at LP Field in Nashville, Tenn.

"Obviously, our mission is to qualify for the 2012 summer Olympics and this roster is a culmination of a long process to select what we feel is the best team this country has to offer in the U-23 age group," said Porter. "For the past four training camps we have been comprehensively evaluating the most talented personnel available from an extensive player pool comprised of professional players on clubs in this country and abroad.  We always keep in mind its most important to find the best mix collectively so that we can build a cohesive team capable of accomplishing our goal. I feel very confident in this collection of players and their ability to execute the playing style we believe will best represent their talents and get us to London."

A total of 13 players on the roster come from MLS clubs, with D.C. United and the Philadelphia Union each contributing a pair. Freddy Adu is the only player with previous experience in qualifying, having scored four goals in three appearances during the 2008 tournament. FC Dallas forward Brek Shea, who has appeared in all 10 of the U.S. Men's National Team matches under head coach Jurgen Klinsmann, was the 2011 U.S. Young Male Athlete of the Year and is coming off a strong season with FC Dallas that included MLS Best XI recognition and a nomination for MLS Most Valuable Player.

Juan Agudelo joins the camp after earning 14 appearances with the senior team last year. Agudelo was the first player to come out of the U.S. Soccer Development Academy to earn a cap with the U.S. Men's National Team.

In total, eight players on the roster have at least one cap with the full team, while Adu, Agudelo and Teal Bunbury have recorded goals. The development of these players throughout this cycle has been done in collaboration with the work of U.S. Men's National Team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann, continuing the process of having vertically integrated National Team programs.

"This is a tremendous opportunity for these young players to get valuable experience in international competition and ultimately qualify for the 2012 Olympics," said Klinsmann, who won a bronze medal in the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul. "Playing the Olympic Games is a once in a lifetime chance, and we are fully supporting their efforts to qualify. Some of these players will continue their international careers on the senior team in the future, and these situations allow them the chance to grow individually and experience the ups and downs national teams go through, which is so important for their development."

D.C. United defender Perry Kitchen and San Jose Earthquakes centerback Ike Opara are both coming off their first appearances with the U-23 team, having participated in the February training camp that culminated with the 2-0 victory against Mexico in which Agudelo and Mix Diskerud tallied for the United States.

Six players are plying their trade outside the United States, including midfielder Joe Corona (Club Tijuana), Diskerud (Gent), forward Josh Gatt (Molde), forward Joe Gyau (Hoffenheim), and midfielder Jared Jeffrey (Mainz). Borussia Dortmund-based striker Terrence Boyd will report March 21 to Nashville, having made his debut for the full team when he came on as a substitute in the USA's 1-0 victory against Italy.

The U-23 goalkeeping tandem includes D.C. United's Bill Hamid and the Chicago Fire's Sean Johnson. Both played for the U.S. Men's National Team at the start of the year. Hamid manned the net during a 1-0 victory against Venezuela on Jan. 21 in Glendale, Ariz., as the U.S. Soccer Development Academy alum became the ninth goalkeeper in U.S. history to collect a shutout in his first game. Johnson earned his second international cap when he played in the second half of a 1-0 win against Panama on Jan. 25 in Panama City.

Five players on the roster have U.S. Soccer Development Academy ties: Agudelo, Corona, Hamid, Gatt and defender Zarek Valentin.

The diverse roster includes players hailing from 12 different states reaching from coast to coast, with three coming from California and two each from Maryland and Texas.

CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying begins on March 22, with Group A games being played at LP Field in Nashville and Group B games at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. The USA was drawn into Group A with Canada, Cuba and El Salvador, while Group B is composed of Mexico, Honduras, Panama and Trinidad & Tobago.

The semifinal and final matches will be played at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kan., on March 31 and April 2, respectively. Individual tickets are on sale for the games in Nashville and Carson, and series tickets are available for the knockout phase in Kansas City.

Roster By Position:
GOALKEEPERS (2): Bill Hamid (D.C. United; Annandale, Va.), Sean Johnson (Chicago Fire; Lilburn, Ga.)
DEFENDERS (6): Josh Gatt (Molde; Plymouth, Mich.), Perry Kitchen (D.C. United; Indianapolis, Ind.), Ike Opara (San Jose Earthquakes; Durham, N.C.), Kofi Sarkodie (Houston Dynamo; Huber Heights, Ohio), Zarek Valentin (Montreal Impact; Lancaster, Pa.), Jorge Villafaña (Chivas USA; Anaheim, Calif.)
MIDFIELDERS (6): Freddy Adu (Philadelphia Union; Potomac, Md.), Joe Corona (Club Tijuana; Chula Vista, Calif.), Mix Diskerud (Gent; Oslo, Norway), Jared Jeffrey (Mainz; Richardson, Texas), Amobi Okugo (Philadelphia Union; Sacramento, Calif.), Michael Stephens (LA Galaxy; Naperville, Ill.)
FORWARDS (5): Juan Agudelo (New York Red Bulls; Barnegat, N.J.), Terrence Boyd (Borussia Dortmund; Berlin, Germany), Teal Bunbury (Sporting Kansas City; Prior Lake, Minn.), Joe Gyau (Hoffenheim; Silver Spring, Md.), Brek Shea (FC Dallas; Bryan, Texas)
Categories: Youth Articles

Caleb Porter Names 19 Players to U23 MNT roster

Tue, 03/13/2012 - 2:32am
U.S. Under-23 Men's National Team head coach Caleb Porter has named an initial 19-player roster for training camp that will convene March 13 to begin final preparations for the CONCACAF Men's Olympic Qualifying tournament.

A player withdrew from consideration Monday afternoon following confirmation of an injury. Porter will make one addition to the group after obtaining a release from his club.

The official 20-player roster will be finalized March 20, the due date for all participating teams to submit their rosters to CONCACAF. The U.S. will compete in Group A which kicks off March 22 at LP Field in Nashville, Tenn.

"Obviously, our mission is to qualify for the 2012 summer Olympics and this roster is a culmination of a long process to select what we feel is the best team this country has to offer in the U-23 age group," said Porter. "For the past four training camps we have been comprehensively evaluating the most talented personnel available from an extensive player pool comprised of professional players on clubs in this country and abroad.  We always keep in mind its most important to find the best mix collectively so that we can build a cohesive team capable of accomplishing our goal. I feel very confident in this collection of players and their ability to execute the playing style we believe will best represent their talents and get us to London."

A total of 13 players on the roster come from MLS clubs, with D.C. United and the Philadelphia Union each contributing a pair. Freddy Adu is the only player with previous experience in qualifying, having scored four goals in three appearances during the 2008 tournament. FC Dallas forward Brek Shea, who has appeared in all 10 of the U.S. Men's National Team matches under head coach Jurgen Klinsmann, was the 2011 U.S. Young Male Athlete of the Year and is coming off a strong season with FC Dallas that included MLS Best XI recognition and a nomination for MLS Most Valuable Player.

Juan Agudelo joins the camp after earning 14 appearances with the senior team last year. Agudelo was the first player to come out of the U.S. Soccer Development Academy to earn a cap with the U.S. Men's National Team.

In total, eight players on the roster have at least one cap with the full team, while Adu, Agudelo and Teal Bunbury have recorded goals. The development of these players throughout this cycle has been done in collaboration with the work of U.S. Men's National Team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann, continuing the process of having vertically integrated National Team programs.

"This is a tremendous opportunity for these young players to get valuable experience in international competition and ultimately qualify for the 2012 Olympics," said Klinsmann, who won a bronze medal in the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul. "Playing the Olympic Games is a once in a lifetime chance, and we are fully supporting their efforts to qualify. Some of these players will continue their international careers on the senior team in the future, and these situations allow them the chance to grow individually and experience the ups and downs national teams go through, which is so important for their development."

D.C. United defender Perry Kitchen and San Jose Earthquakes centerback Ike Opara are both coming off their first appearances with the U-23 team, having participated in the February training camp that culminated with the 2-0 victory against Mexico in which Agudelo and Mix Diskerud tallied for the United States.

Six players are plying their trade outside the United States, including midfielder Joe Corona (Club Tijuana), Diskerud (Gent), forward Josh Gatt (Molde), forward Joe Gyau (Hoffenheim), and midfielder Jared Jeffrey (Mainz). Borussia Dortmund-based striker Terrence Boyd will report March 21 to Nashville, having made his debut for the full team when he came on as a substitute in the USA's 1-0 victory against Italy.

The U-23 goalkeeping tandem includes D.C. United's Bill Hamid and the Chicago Fire's Sean Johnson. Both played for the U.S. Men's National Team at the start of the year. Hamid manned the net during a 1-0 victory against Venezuela on Jan. 21 in Glendale, Ariz., as the U.S. Soccer Development Academy alum became the ninth goalkeeper in U.S. history to collect a shutout in his first game. Johnson earned his second international cap when he played in the second half of a 1-0 win against Panama on Jan. 25 in Panama City.

Five players on the roster have U.S. Soccer Development Academy ties: Agudelo, Corona, Hamid, Gatt and defender Zarek Valentin.

The diverse roster includes players hailing from 12 different states reaching from coast to coast, with three coming from California and two each from Maryland and Texas.

CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying begins on March 22, with Group A games being played at LP Field in Nashville and Group B games at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. The USA was drawn into Group A with Canada, Cuba and El Salvador, while Group B is composed of Mexico, Honduras, Panama and Trinidad & Tobago.

The semifinal and final matches will be played at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kan., on March 31 and April 2, respectively. Individual tickets are on sale for the games in Nashville and Carson, and series tickets are available for the knockout phase in Kansas City.

Roster By Position:
GOALKEEPERS (2): Bill Hamid (D.C. United; Annandale, Va.), Sean Johnson (Chicago Fire; Lilburn, Ga.)
DEFENDERS (6): Josh Gatt (Molde; Plymouth, Mich.), Perry Kitchen (D.C. United; Indianapolis, Ind.), Ike Opara (San Jose Earthquakes; Durham, N.C.), Kofi Sarkodie (Houston Dynamo; Huber Heights, Ohio), Zarek Valentin (Montreal Impact; Lancaster, Pa.), Jorge Villafaña (Chivas USA; Anaheim, Calif.)
MIDFIELDERS (6): Freddy Adu (Philadelphia Union; Potomac, Md.), Joe Corona (Club Tijuana; Chula Vista, Calif.), Mix Diskerud (Gent; Oslo, Norway), Jared Jeffrey (Mainz; Richardson, Texas), Amobi Okugo (Philadelphia Union; Sacramento, Calif.), Michael Stephens (LA Galaxy; Naperville, Ill.)
FORWARDS (5): Juan Agudelo (New York Red Bulls; Barnegat, N.J.), Terrence Boyd (Borussia Dortmund; Berlin, Germany), Teal Bunbury (Sporting Kansas City; Prior Lake, Minn.), Joe Gyau (Hoffenheim; Silver Spring, Md.), Brek Shea (FC Dallas; Bryan, Texas)
Categories: Youth Articles

U.S. U20 WNT wins CONCACAF: Player ratings

Mon, 03/12/2012 - 3:00am

Thanks to brilliant performances from substitutes Kealia Ohai and Chi Ubogagu, the U.S. U20 Women's National Team overcame an early deficit and defeated Canada 2-1 in the 2012 U20 CONCACAF Championship title game.

Hayes scored the equalizer in the 79th minute when Ohai delivered a cross into the box that Canada failed to clear. Hayes finished the chance from 12 yards out into the lower right corner for the game-tying goal.

Ten minutes later, Ubogagu netted the winner with a tap-in, as she outhustled and fought off a few Canadian defenders to the ball only six yards from goal.

Oregon State's Jenna Richardson scored the opening goal for Canada only five minutes in when she picked off a pass from Crystal Dunn and ripped a shot into the net.

Both the U.S. and Canada already qualified for the U20 Women's World Cup with wins in the semifinal round. Mexico joined them earlier in the day with a win in the third place game over host Panama.

Player ratings:

Bryane Heaberline, 5. There was not much she could have done on the goal and had little to do throughout the rest of the contest.

Crystal Dunn, 3. The square ball to concede the opening goal was inexcusable even in the most flattering light. Canada also did a good job in slowing her down going forward.

Olivia Brannon, 5. Brannon did well when called upon, but there were still some nervous moments from all across the backline in the opening minutes.

Kassey Kallman, 4. The center back was careless with the ball at times. She made one very good challenge late in the game to prevent a breakaway.

Mollie Pathman, 5. Pathman did a great job against goal-scorer Jenna Richardson in the second half, but she also struggled getting forward.

Samantha Mewis, 6. Offensively, it was not the best performance from Mewis, but she was very good defensively and inserted a strong presence into the middle of the field.

Katie Stengel, 4. It was not a great outing from Stengel. She never found the rhythm of the game and was chewed up by the more physical Canadian defenders before being taken out at half.

Vanessa DiBernardo, 5. At times DiBernardo looked likely to break through the defense, but she never quite figured out how to get on the same page with the forwards.

Morgan Brian, 5. The attacking midfielder found a hole in the defense where she sat in and picked out strikers, but she also gave away the ball needlessly at times.

Lindsey Horan, 5. Horan continuously put herself in a position to score, but the breaks were not going her way tonight, and she was off-target with numerous shots and headers. She did battle the defenders and eventually helped with the game-winner.

Maya Hayes, 7. Hayes set up a few opportunities in the first half, and then became the hero in the second half with a class finish to grab the equalizer with 11 minutes left in the game.  

Substitutes

Chi Ubogagu, 7. The speedy striker was quiet for long stretches of the second half, but she was there late when the U.S. needed an ugly goal and delivered the game-winner.

Mandy Landish, 6. It was a quiet performance from Landish, but her steady play helped the midfield push numbers forward late.   

Kealia Ohai, 7. As a late substitute, Ohai's entrance appeared to be coach Steve Swanson throwing the kitchen sink at the Canada defense. But Ohai put herself in the perfect spot at the right time and had a role with both goals.

Categories: Youth Articles

Development Academy recap: March 10-11

Mon, 03/12/2012 - 3:00am

The USSF Development Academy is finally back into the swing of things.

While the Academy limped through the winter with only a couple of conferences playing, the spring brings the return of almost all divisions into play. The second weekend of March offered a bountiful amount of games, as teams from nearly every division were squaring off.

The East Conference showcased the most games with many Academies traveling for out of division contests over the weekend.

What teams did well during the second weekend of March?

East:
Oakwood Soccer Club U18 and New York Red Bulls engaged in the highest-scoring affair in Development Academy action from Saturday in a 4-4 draw. Oakwood's Stanley Sandoval scored twice in the first half and Anthony LoBello added another while NYRB picked up a tally from Scott Thomsen before half, as Oakwood held a 3-1 lead at the break.

NYRB's Scott ThomsenNYRB strung together an impressive rally in the second stanza with two goals from Georgetown-bound striker Brandon Allen and another from Thomsen. But Oakwood grabbed a 90th minute goal from Matthew Barry to split the points with NYRB.

Elsewhere in the Northeast, Met Oval and Potomac played to a 1-1 draw in the U18 clash. 16-year-old Adam Burnaby-Atkins scored for Potomac in the first half, and Matias Ruiz notched his fifth goal of the season late in the second half to split the points. In the U16 game, the two Academies squared off in a 3-3 draw. Alexander Portela, Edward Whitfield, and Darrian Chambers scored for Met Oval, while Kevin Guzman, Matt Danilack, and Rico Lizbinski tallied goals for Potomac.

Albertson SC U18 defeated Match Fit Chelsea 1-0 on a goal by Jake Freeman. The Harvard-bound forward has six goals in five Academy games this season. Albertson U16 won the later contest 2-1 to continue its undefeated run to the start the season.

FC Delco and Empire United settled for a 2-2 draw on Saturday. Brett Campbell and Melvin Snoh scored for FC Delco while Garrett Rauck and Darren Cooper contributed the goals for Empire United. In the U16 contest, FC Delco won 4-2 to improve to 2-2-2 overall on the season.

Down the coast, Weston FC claimed victories in both age groups on the road against CASL. Weston won the U18 game 3-2 and the U16 game 2-0. CASL responded on Sunday though with a beat down on Kendall SC 5-1 in the U18 game, and a 1-0 win in the U16 game.

Kendall faired better the day prior with a 2-2 draw against North Carolina Fusion. Fusion rebounded from a two-goal deficit against with goals from Marco Sunol and Hassan Kouyaten. Daniel Gonzalez and Dario Vanegas scored for Kendall. The U16 teams drew 1-1.

In the Atlantic Division, Virginia Rush U16 grabbed another win and opened a little breathing room at the top of the table. Rush defeated Richmond Strikers 2-1 and now hold a five-point lead over Charlotte SA. Richmond Strikers won the U18 contest 3-1 thanks to goals by Todd Wharton, Luc Fatton, and Gawa Sunang-Sihle.

West

Chivas USA U18 remains in the top spot in the SoCal Conference, but lost an opportunity to open up the lead on Saturday, as Chivas USA only picked up one point against Strikers FC.

Ben Spencer scored for Chivas USA in his first game back with the Academy after training with the club's first team for the past few weeks. Sean Dhillon found the back of the net for the Strikers. Strikers claimed a 1-0 win in the U16 game.

In Northern California, California Development Academy U18 topped Santa Cruz Breakers 4-2 over the weekend. Sacramento State-bound Nathaniel Nugen gave CDA the early lead with a goal in the opening ten minutes. University of Indiana commit Tommy Thompson doubled the lead later in the opening half.

Breakers midfielder Lynden Gooch responded with two goals in 11 minutes to put the teams on level terms. But a second half brace from Cody Giddings secured the three points from CDA.

From the U16 contest, Santa Cruz Breakers used two goals from Giovanni Godoy to beat CDA 4-2. Cesar Rocha and Xavier Juarez scored for CDA.

Central:

Behind two goals from University of Notre Dame-bound forward Connor Klekota, Crew Soccer Academy U18 defeated Indiana United Fire Academy 3-2. Brett Elder added the other goal for the Crew, which improves to 5-0-1 overall on the season. Indiana United emerged victorious in the U16 fixture with a 2-0 result.

One week after seeing its undefeated run come to an end, the Dallas Texans U16 team returned to its winning ways with a 3-2 victory over Lonestar SC Academy. Brandon Aubrey, Christian Soldat and Jason Machado scored for the Texans, which held onto the win after late goals from Zachary Wright and Andrew Lopez.

In the first matchup between divisional opponents in the Frontier Division, Sporting KC and St. Louis Scott Gallagher Metro fought to a 2-2 draw in the U16 age group. Steven Enna and Cole Stevenson scored for Sporting, while an own goal and William Teichman provided the scoring for Scott Gallagher Metro.

Categories: Youth Articles

Waldrum pleased with U23 WNT La Manga trip

Mon, 03/12/2012 - 3:00am

The U.S. U23 Women's National Team tasted success at the recent Four Nations Tournament, winning the competition in La Manga, Spain last week.

For head coach Randy Waldrum, the achievement was nice, but getting the opportunity to test his group against tough opposition was the most beneficial aspect of the trip.

"It gave me a chance to really see who's on track to stay in the pool, who do we need to look to replace, or who do we start to consider potential players to move forward to the senior team," he told TopDrawerSoccer.com. "It was nice to get a good measuring stick of that."

With a 2-0 win over Sweden, a 2-1 loss to England, and a 5-0 win over Norway in the three games, the U.S. won the four-team competition by topping the table with six points on the week. England and Sweden tied for second with four points.

This was just the second time in 2012 Waldrum had the chance to work with this particular U23 group, and the tournament was the first time the U.S. had a chance to play against opposition other than themselves.

"It was nice to play against other teams other than playing ourselves and compete to see where we actually are," defender Natasha Anasi told TopDrawerSoccer.com. "That was the number one overall thing that was the best, and other than that just being in a foreign country and experiencing their culture was nice."

Waldrum, said despite it only being his second camp with the U23s, he was pleased to get a better idea of the player pool layout, and save for one half against England in the 2-1 loss, thought the in-game performances were solid.

In the first half of the game against England, the U.S. went down 2-0 and couldn't overturn the deficit, despite a much-improved performance after the break.

"We were down two, so we got one back, and were probably a little unlucky not to tie the game up, and we had enough good chances to actually win it," Waldrum said.

Added Anasi: "[England's] movement in the midfield and within their midfielders and forwards was at a very high level. I think that we played teams that were of a high level and that was obviously was a good thing for us to do and see how we stack up."

Results and performance aside, the main purpose of the trip for Waldrum is to use the team as a platform to identify players who might be able to contribute to the full women's national team one day. There is no U23 competition to prepare for, so in essence, the main purpose is to test players and see who is ready to make that jump.

"I see the mission for this team is to get them ready through international competitions to get them ready for the full team," Waldrum said. "It's going to be that age that's in-between, from the college players who are too old for the U20s, and it's going to be that venue for those players to continue to develop and get some international games under their belt while they're still developing."

Waldrum also indicated that the women's youth coaches are working on widening the lines of communication between age groups, from Albertin Montoya with the U17s, Steve Swanson with the U20s, to Waldrum, all the way up through to Pia Sundhage and the full team.

From a player's perspective, any U23 camp is an opportunity to show they belong at that full national team level, something that didn't escape midfielder Amber Brooks, who captained the side in La Manga.

"Obviously I want to take it one step at a time and I like to set a lot of a short term goals, but ever since I was a little girl I've had my sights set on the full team one day," she told TopDrawerSoccer.com. "I'm hoping sooner rather than later I finally get that invite to full team camp."

This won't be the last camp of the year for the U23s, as Waldrum hinted at a similar tournament in the summer somewhere in Scandinavia, giving players another chance to prove themselves at this next level.

U.S. U23 WNT Roster In La Manga:


Goalkeepers: Adrianna Franch (Oklahoma State; Salina, Kan.), Bianca Henninger (unattached; Los Gatos, Calif.)


Defenders: Natasha Anasi (Duke; Arlington, Texas), Lauren Barnes (out of contract; Upland, Calif.), Jazmine Hall (Notre Dame; Highland Village, Texas), Camille Levin (unattached; Newport Coast, Calif.), Toni Pressley (unattached; Melbourne, Fla.), Elli Reed (out of contract; Park City, Utah), Kika Toulouse (Virginia; Arlington, Va.)


Midfielders: Amber Brooks (North Carolina; New Hope, Pa.), Zakiya Bywaters (UCLA; Las Vegas, Nev.), Bianca D'Agostino (out of contract; Longmeadow, Mass.), Sinead Farrelly (out of contract; Havertown, Pa.), Taylor Lytle (Texas Tech; Las Cruces, N.M.) 


Forwards: Vicki DiMartino (Boston College; Massapequa, N.Y.), Stephanie Ochs (unattached; San Diego, Calif.), Morgan Marlborough (Santa Clara; Lee's Summit, Mo.), Lindsay Taylor (unattached; Los Altos, Calif.)

Categories: Youth Articles

Championship pairs set at 2012 ODP Championship

Mon, 03/12/2012 - 1:05am

The 2012 US Youth Soccer Olympic Development Program (US Youth Soccer ODP) Championships kicked off today at FC Dallas Stadium in Frisco, Texas, a suburb of Dallas.

Teams in the 1995 and 1996 age groups played their semifinal matches today and the championship pairings are set for Sunday, March 11.

State-level US Youth Soccer ODP Boys and Girls teams have earned their way to the 2012 US Youth Soccer ODP Championships by winning their US Youth Soccer ODP Regional Championships. The format, similar to the US Youth Soccer National Championship Series, provides state teams the opportunity to compete against teams from other regions in a championship tournament.

Both 1995 champions from 2011 are poised to repeat this year, with New Jersey advancing to the girls championship game and Virginia returning to the boys final.

1995 Girls
New Jersey began its quest for a second-consecutive US Youth Soccer ODP Championship by facing a determined side from Ohio-South. A hard fought first period was capped off with a New Jersey goal just before the halftime whistle by Meghan McDonald. That score line held and set up a rematch of the 2011 championship match between New Jersey and California-South.

Cal-South started its semifinal match off with an early goal from Kayla Mills in the 7th minute. Three more goals in the first half would give the Region IV champs a comfortable 4-0 lead over Georgia at intermission. Sarah Fajnor finished the scoring for Cal-South with a strike in the 86th minute for the 5-0 victory.

1995 Boys
Michigan made an early statement in its semifinal match when Ryan Scott nodded home a corner kick to claim a 1-0 lead over Tennessee in the 2nd minute. Tennessee would battle back and equalize just after halftime on a Connor Quiggle strike. Michigan showed resilience of its own when Donald Payne found Matt Wilson free in the 18 and Wilson slotted home the game winner in the 59th minute.

Michigan's opponent in the championship match will be defending US Youth Soccer ODP Champion, Virginia. After creating scoring opportunities in the first half, Virginia finally broke the stalemate with Cal-South with a goal from Dale Ludwig in the 48th minute. Defensive efforts at both ends of the field held the 1-0 scoreline.

1996 Girls
A goal by Colleen Gawkins was all that separated Michigan and Virginia in the 1996 Girls semifinal.  In the late stages of the first half, Gawkins showed great individual skill, beating her defender to the endline then beating the keeper to the near post to secure the 1-0 victory for Virginia.

Cal-South took a first-half lead over Florida off a Pilar Torres strike in the 21st minute. Torres would score again to double the Cal-South lead in the 80th minute. Florida pulled a goal back off the ensuing kickoff, but the game ended 2-1 in favor of the Region IV champs.

1996 Boys
 A pair of 3-0 scorelines determined the 1996 Boys semifinal matches. Michigan put two early goals on the board against Cal-South with Don Nakashima goals in the 9th and 12th minutes. Lou Plascencia added a third goal for Michigan in the 79th to finish the scoring.

Mario Da Silva's goal in the 12th minute gave Florida first-half lead over Virginia. After being denied by the woodwork twice in the second half, Florida finally added some cushion with goals by Bradley Farias in the 77th and 80th minutes.

Semifinal Results

1995 Girls

Ohio South 0-1 New Jersey
 
Goal Scorers: NJ-Meghan McDonald (45:00)

California South 5-0 Georgia
 
Goal Scorers: CA-S-Kayla Mills (7:00), Mellessah Rangel (22:00), Savannah Levin (32:00), MacKenzie Cerda (44:00), Sarah Fajnor (86:00)

1995 Boys

Tennessee 1-2 Michigan
 
Goal Scorers: TN-Connor Quiggle (49:00)
Goal Scorers: MI-Ryan Scott (2:00), Matt Wilson (59:00)

California South 0-1 Virginia
 
Goal Scorers: VA-Dale Ludwig (48:00)

1996 Girls

California South 2-1 Florida
 
Goal Scorers: CA-S-Pilar Torres (21:00, 80:00)
Goal Scorers: FL-Taylor Doeble (80:00)


Virginia 1-0 Michigan
 
Goal Scorers: Colleen Gawkins (38:00)

1996 Boys
California South 0-3 Michigan
 

Goal Scorers: MI-Don Nakashima (9:00, 12:00), Lou Plascencia (79:00)

Florida 3-0 Virginia
 
Goal Scorers: FL-Mario Da Silva (12:00), Bradley Farias (77:00, 80:00)
Championship Matches - Sunday, March 11

Categories: Youth Articles

U20 WNT Makes World Cup: Players Rankings

Sat, 03/10/2012 - 3:19am

The U.S. U20 Women's National Team qualified Friday for the FIFA U20 World Cup with a convincing win over arch-rivals Mexico at the CONCACAF Qualifying Tournament semifinal in Panama. The team is now assured of competing at the World Cup in Japan this August.

Following is a look at individual player performances from the contest

Bryane Heaberlin (GK), 7:
It's not her fault the other teams rarely get in position to attack the U.S. goal. Heaberline is still a vocal leader, able to quarterback when the team has to play out of the back and thoroughly competent as a shot-stopper.

Mollie Pathman (D), 7: Pathman never stops working and is always ready to deliver a quality serve. Her defending works just fine as well.

Cari Roccaro (D), 7: Rock solid in the back, seemingly always on hand to clear any danger the Mexican squad managed to create.

Bryane HeaberlinCrystal Dunn (D), 7: Dynamic in getting forward and showed a lot of toughness as well.

Kassey  Kallman (D), 7: Very active in the back and distributed intelligently.

Morgan Brian (M), 7: Somewhat quiet but scored a nice goal off a set piece.

Katie Stengel (M), 6: Very industrious on the left side throughout.

Sarah Killion (M), 6: Steady opening 45 minutes for the U.S. for the UCLA midfielder. Substituted after the break.

Kealia Ohai (F), 7: Very active throughout and rewarded with an excellent goal in the closing minutes.

Julie Johnston (M), 8: Player of the match for the U.S. as she constantly created danger in the attack, running at defenders and spraying passes around. Got a tap-in goal for her efforts as well.

Lindsey  Horan (F), 7: Excellent individual effort to score the goal for the U.S. that put the match out of reach.

Substitutes

Samantha Mewis (M), 6: Competent midfield display over the 2nd half for the UCLA standout.

Vanessa DiBernardo (M) 6: Active during her stint as a substitute over 20 minutes.

Maya Hayes (F) 5: Had a couple of chances to stretch the lead at the end and probably should have scored twice, but didn't.

Categories: Youth Articles

Committed '14 is example of athletic evolution

Fri, 03/09/2012 - 6:25am

If Alex Bruder is representative of what the future of soccer looks like then take a long hard look ... and then immediately hit the gym.



Bruder is one of the many young talents having made a recent commitment, giving her verbal to USC, and she's also a prime example of the game's athletic evolution.



Bruder is an exceptional athlete whose talents are not confined to the soccer pitch. For starters, she's a track and field competitor who has captured titles in the long jump as well as various track events; she's also a pretty darn good shooting guard on the basketball court, and a black belt in Taekwondo.



So yeah, she has quickness, awareness, and just about every other physical capability that could set her up for a strong career - in whatever sport she so chooses.



As soccer goes, Bruder is a strong contributor on both sides of the ball for Real So Cal. She can be dangerous up top but also battle players on the ball. It will be interesting to see what USC coach Ali Khosroshahin has in mind for her when she finally arrives in a couple years.



Other intriguing youngsters who are already setting up their college careers include, Imani Dorsey, who has committed to Duke for 2014.



Long one of our highest ranked 2014 prospects, Dorsey is a dynamic attacker who helped lead SAC United to the U.S. Youth Soccer National title game last season. She's also been regularly called into U.S. Girls National Team camp where she performed dominantly at times.



Dorsey is a supreme athlete (See Bruder) who can get behind the defense with ease and will only get stronger, and better.

Joining the youth movement is Canada's Keeley-Ann Gormley (Calgary Chinook United) who has verbally committed to Arizona State for the 2014 season.



In other news:

Hannah O'Shaughnessy (Ohio Premier) has verbally committed to Toledo for the 2013 season.  

Haley Keefer (Michigan Hawks) has verbally committed to West Virginia for the 2013 season, while teammate Samantha Maher (Michigan Hawks) has verbally committed to Central Michigan for the 2013 season.

Alyssa Robinson (Cooper City Cobras) has verbally committed to Florida International for the 2013 season.

Madeline Schaak (St. Croix Academy) has verbally committed to Indiana State for the 2013 season.

Tara Sobierajski (Soccer Domain FC 09) has verbally committed to Siena College for the 2013 season.

Alison Ryan (Freestate Soccer Alliance) has verbally committed to Rutgers for the 2013 season.

Kayla Vera (FC Portland) has signed to Southeastern Louisiana for the 2012 season.

Ashley Ward (San Diego Surf) has signed with Louisiana Lafayette for the 2012 season.

Maggie Carey (FC Stars of Massachusetts) has verbally committed to Holy Cross for the 2013 season.



Riley Mahoney (Virginia Rush) has verbally committed to Marshall for the 2013 season.

Nicole Smolinski (West Coast FC) has verbally committed to UC Davis for the 2013 season.

Categories: Youth Articles

ECNL weekend preview: March 9-11

Fri, 03/09/2012 - 2:57am

The Ohio Premier Eagles ECNL U17 has its first true road test of the season this weekend, and it is going to be a very challenging assessment.  

The Eagles head east to Virginia for conference games against the Richmond Strikers and FC Virginia, who finished third at Nationals last season and is off to a hot start this year.

"You look at FC Virginia and they're sitting at the top of the conference, they've already got 12 games under their belt in the conference and they're 10-1-1," Ohio Premier Eagles U17 head coach Chris King told TopDrawerSoccer.com. "[FC Virginia is] obviously a very good opponent.

"FC Virginia's record speaks for itself. I've heard a lot about them, very good group, very talented, so I think that's going to be a really good test for us leading up to San Diego."

Ohio Elite's Miranda MeltonOhio Premier Eagles is no slouch either, King's team finished 11th in the nation last year. But the Eagles have been a mixed bag of results this season with a 2-1-2 record early in the run.

The Eagles will have their hands full with this road trip. What other games are on deck for this weekend?

U14:
Charlotte Soccer Academy takes its perfect 10-0-0 record in the Southeast Conference on the road over the weekend with games against CASL Chelsea Ladies and Virginia Rush Soccer Club. Charlotte is led by the high-flying attack of Maggie Wadsworth and Shayna Passantino who have 17 goals this season between the two of them.

In the Midatlantic Conference, there is a showdown between the top two teams, FC Virginia and Ohio Premier Eagles on Sunday. FC Virginia is 8-1-1 on the season, while the Eagles are undefeated at 5-2-0. Sierra Lam tops the scoring charts for FC Virginia with seven goals.

U15:
West Coast FC returns to play after the break for high school soccer with a fixture against Eagles Soccer Club on Saturday. WCFC is undefeated this season with six wins and two draws in SoCal Conference play. Christina Settles leads the team in scoring with seven goals.

In the Northeast Conference, Connecticut FC and East Meadow, both undefeated in conference play to start the season, meet on Saturday.

The second and third place teams in the Midwest Conference, Vardar and Minnesota Thunder, square off in an important clash for both conference and National Flight B standings on Saturday. Hannah Cady leads the way for Vardar with nine goals in 16 games this season.

U16:
Richmond Strikers face a difficult challenge this weekend with Ohio Elite Soccer Academy coming into town. Ohio Elite is second in the Midatlantic after six games played, and sixth in the National Flight A standings. U.S. Youth National Team player Maddie Huster highlights the Ohio Elite roster.

Sereno SC returns from high school soccer with two games in Utah over the weekend. Jorian Baucom has been the standout offensively for Sereno with eight goals in seven games played.

U17:
Bethesda SC hosts FC Bucks on Saturday in a game between the third and fourth place teams in the Midatlantic Conference. FC Bucks is off to a good start this season with an undefeated 2-1-0 record. Bethesda, on the other hand, is 4-1-2.

U18:
Ohio Elite Soccer Academy travels to FC Virginia on Saturday in a game between new rivals in the Midatlantic. FC Virginia would overtake Ohio Elite for the third spot in the Midatlantic Conference with a win.

Categories: Youth Articles

PAC-12 teams prepare for spring soccer

Fri, 03/09/2012 - 2:38am

For the past three seasons, Stanford women's soccer has dominated the PAC-12. There is no other way to put it - Stanford has run the table three years in a row in the league and brings a 31-game winning streak in conference play into 2012.

"I did not know we did that," Stanford head coach Paul Ratcliffe told TopDrawerSoccer.com when asked about the winning-streak in PAC-12 play. "The PAC-12 is a very strong conference, and if we did do that, it is incredible."

The last time Ratcliffe's team lost in conference play was October 2008 at UCLA. Since then, the Cardinal captured three league crowns, and won the NCAA Division I National Title last December after losing in the final the previous two years.

Despite finally claiming the ultimate prize, the coach is not worried about the team sitting back and relaxing now that the hardware is in the glass case in Palo Alto.

Chi Ubogagu"I definitely don't worry about complacency," Ratcliffe said. "The team is always hungry. We are really proud that we accomplished that, but for me, you are only as good as your last game. So as soon as the season starts we have to put out a good performance because we will forget about that championship after the first game."

In between now and then, Stanford is gearing up for spring ball, which does not begin until April 3 for the Cardinal due to the school's quarter system.

"Basically, the spring time for me is about helping each player grow individually," Ratcliffe said. "Then later in the spring, bring them in as a group and get the team to play at the best of their abilities so we are ready for the fall."

The coach politely declined to single out any one program that he felt could challenge his squad when the real games start in the fall, but did say many of the teams are capable of unseating the favorite.

"I think there is so much parity in the PAC-12 that it depends on who is healthy and finds the right chemistry," Ratcliffe said. "All of the coaches are very strong and there are a lot of talented players."

The coach went on to note that he is keeping a keen eye on the CONCACAF U20 Championship, which ends on Sunday, for players to note for next season.

UCLA duo Sarah Killion and Samantha Mewis, as well as Stanford forward Chioma Ubogagu, have performed admirably for the U.S. while Oregon State striker Jenna Richardson has scored twice in three games for Canada.

"Obviously for us, it is fantastic to see her doing well down there," Oregon State head coach Linus Rhode told TopDrawerSoccer.com about Richardson. "Back here in Corvallis, we are very proud of what she is doing."

Rhode's team has not started spring soccer yet either, but his team is training during this winter term, which he said is going well.

"We are working on the attacking half of the field," Rhode said. "Working on the attacking pattern and ways to break down different formations."

 The coach also believes he has a solid core of players for next year's team as the Beavers look to challenge the Goliath of the west, Stanford.

"Stanford is a team that has a tremendous amount of depth along with a tremendous amount of attacking weapons," Rhode said. "Over the course of 90 minutes, it is very hard to stifle their attack when they have so many different weapons - not only on the field, but also to bring off the bench."

Oregon State was the only PAC-12 team to take the lead against Stanford in a game last season. The Beavers eventually lost 2-1, but it did give the emerging program in the Northwest confidence moving forward.

"I think we are closing the gap," Rhode said. "Keeping the game so close last year was definitely a plus for us as a program. Closing that gap gives the returning players confidence that we can compete against Stanford. We also know that they will be losing players who have brought that program a lot of success of the last few years."

UCLA is also in the discussion for the top spot of the PAC-12 in the fall, but first someone will have to stop the Ratcliffe's juggernaut, which doesn't appear to be slowing down any time soon.

PAC-12 women's soccer players to watch:

Courtney Verloo, Stanford, Defense - The former U20 Women's National Team midfielder missed last season due to injury, but coach Ratcliffe said she is back now and ready for 2012. "She is an amazing player," he said. Verloo scored four goals and had six assists in her freshman season in just 8 starts. In her sophomore campaign, she moved to center back and started every game. Ratcliffe is very happy to have that sort of versatility back on the roster this season. Current U.S. U20 star forward Chioma Ubogagu also figures to be a standout in the PAC-12 in 2012.

Jenna Richardson, Oregon State, Forward - The Canada U20 national team striker found the back of the net eight times in her sophomore campaign for Oregon State, which brought her career total to 17 goals in 38 games. With the top three scorers for the Beavers (Chelsea Buckland, Richardson, and Justyne Freud) back next season, it figures to be a potent attack in Corvallis.

J.R. Eskilson is a staff reporter at TopDrawerSoccer.com. Follow him on or send him an ' ); document.write( addy_text38261 ); document.write( '<\/a>' ); //-->\n ' ); //--> This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ' ); //-->
Categories: Youth Articles

Development Academy Preview March 10-11

Fri, 03/09/2012 - 2:37am

It's a new stretch of the season for the U.S. Soccer Federation Development Academy as several teams across the country are heading into action for the first time in several months.
While high school seasons are kicking off in some parts, other teams no longer deal with the schedule overlap and are ready to jump into the meat of their Development Academy schedule.
One of those teams is FC Delco, who head back into action by hosting Empire United and Seacoast United. The latter match in particular is an enticing one for the FC Delco U16 coach Alan Mezger.
Brandon Allen, NY Red Bulls"I like playing them because I know the ball's going to be on the ground, I know we're going to get a chance to possess and they're going to possess. It'll be a bit of a chess match," he said.
Central Conference:
Inter-conference play begins in the Great Lakes Division, as the Crew Soccer Academy hosts Indiana United Fire. Both Crew teams have yet to lose at either the U16 or U18 age groups, boasting identical 4-0-1 records. The Crew's U18s are lead by center back Andrew Souders of the U.S. U17 National Team. Indiana United faces a quick turnaround, welcoming Vardar to town on Sunday as well.
Down in Texas, U18 Texas Division leaders FC Dallas - who boast an impressive Division record of 13-1-1 - look to pad its lead against Classics Elite, with Daniel Garcia looking to add to his prolific tally of 17 goals. Second-place Texans SC face Andromeda as they look to keep pace.
East Conference:
Action picks up for nearly every East Conference team, although most games are non-divisional matchups. Starting in the Northeast of the country, New York Red Bulls travel up to Connecticut to face Oakwood Soccer Club and South Central Premier. U18 forward Brandon Allen looks to close out his Academy career with a bang before he departs for Georgetown in the fall.
D.C. United is another MLS setup heading back into action in the Mid-Atlantic. Both the U18 and U16 sides should be competitive, with the former boasting the likes of midfielders Collin Martin, Jalen Robinson and defender Patrick Foss, while the latter calls on Ian Harkes and Rafael Fagundo. D.C. faces MLS counterparts New England Revolution and FC Greater Boston this weekend.
South Conference:
The Carolina teams of the Atlantic Division head into action this weekend, all with the goal of chasing down the Virginia teams who've completed most of their schedule at this point. Most of this weekend's action is non-divisional, with Southeast Division clubs making the trip up.
CASL Chelsea faces Weston FC and Kendall SC, while the North Carolina Fusion also facing those two out-of-town clubs. North Meck SC also welcomes another club from Florida, taking on the Clearwater Chargers on Saturday, while Charlotte Soccer Academy faces Clearwater Sunday.
West Conference:
While most teams are getting started out east, things scale back this weekend on west. One of the biggest matches of the weekend sees Chivas USA host Strikers FC. A win for the U18s would extend Chivas' lead over the LA Galaxy, while the U16s need points to climb up the division standings.
Categories: Youth Articles

U16 Mid-Atlantic Teams head into action

Thu, 03/08/2012 - 3:14am

It's been quite some time since teams in the U16 Mid-Atlantic Division saw action in the USSF Development Academy.
Last playing in the 2011 Development Academy Winter Showcase in Florida, none of the teams have played against Division rivals this season - that ends this weekend, as the regular season begins.
With that looming it's time for players and coaches to step up and perform at the highest level of boy's club soccer.
"We have high hopes, but we're also integrating a lot of new players," FC Delco U16 head coach Alan Mezger told TopDrawerSoccer.com. "So it's taken us a little time to get them organized. Our first five results this year we did well offensively scoring ten goals, but we also gave up ten goals. We spent the better of the winter to try and get organized defensively."
George TsirukisFC Delco, which finished third behind D.C. United and PA Classics in the Mid-Atlantic Division last year, is looking to put together another strong run of games with the returning talent at its disposal. Forward George Tsirukis leads a talented attack, and the returning U16 player already has four goals to his name.
But standing in the way is D.C. United, the lone MLS Academy team in the Division (FC Delco and PA Classics are part of the Philadelphia Union Academy setup). The U16 team has been busy with preparations for the spring part of its schedule, playing a number of friendlies over the past few months in preparations.
Expected to deploy a 4-3-3, D.C. is going to rely on the likes of Ian Harkes, Rafael Fagundo and Michael Seaton to achieve success this year.
"We've done a lot of passing and receiving and it's really allowed us to focus in on a couple more important things as we get the ball under control in the other opponent's end and really try to move the ball quickly," D.C. U16 head coach Tom Torres told TopDrawerSoccer.com. "And then it doesn't hurt to have some speedy wingers that are able to get in behind the back line of other teams' defenses."
While D.C. is excited about the start of the season, the opening slate is rough, playing one weekend at home before heading on the road.
"We're looking forward to it, we've got a tough stretch I think we travel three weekends in a row which is fine but just keeping the guys healthy and obviously with spring high school mixed in, not tough, just challenging, you've got to manage guys' minutes and manage rosters a little bit," Torres said.
The division is far from a two-horse race, as NJSA 04, Baltimore Bays Chelsea and Match Fit Chelsea are all prominent programs that have competed in the past. It's going to be a tough battle but one FC Delco enters with lofty ambitions.
"Our goal is to make the playoffs and we think the talent is there, the tools are there," Mezger said. "We just have to get them to play together, get on the same page offensively and defensively."
U16 Mid-Atlantic Division Players to Watch
George Tsirukis, FC Delco - "We expect a lot from George as a returning starter from last year," Mezger said. "He's already had four goals on the year so he's off to a good start."
Rafael Fagundo, D.C. United - One of several D.C. players verbally committed to Wake Forest, Fagundo is one of many budding talents on the D.C. roster. His impact on the U16 level will depend on how often he gets the chance to play up with the U18s.
Categories: Youth Articles

Big Ten women's college soccer preview

Thu, 03/08/2012 - 3:03am

Success in the NCAA tournament was elusive for the Big Ten's women's programs last fall, as Penn State, Ohio State and Illinois were the only teams to make it past the first round of the tournament.

That, combined with each program's desire to continue improving in 2012, adds extra incentive to this year's spring schedule.
"We try to really challenge the players in the spring, we always have a couple players that emerge that had limited playing time during the fall and really come into their own during the spring season," Nittany Lions head coach Erica Walsh told TopDrawerSoccer.com.
Entering 2012, Penn State is likely once again to be considered as one of the contenders in the Big Ten. While Walsh's side lost six seniors, it still boasts returning talent like Hermann Trophy finalist Maya Hayes, Christine Nairn and Maddy Evans.
Maya HayesThat leaves other schools like Illinois, Michigan State, Ohio State, Wisconsin and Minnesota with work to do in order to close the gap. The Badgers in particular are trying to sift out new talent during its spring season, giving players a chance to impress in different roles.
"I think sometimes as a coach you look at things and sometimes get set in your ways and you don't see what attributes some players have and during this time we've seen some different attributes come in," Wisconsin head coach Paula Wilkins told TopDrawerSoccer.com.
The Fighting Illini, who finished second in the regular season to Penn State and return U.S. U20 midfielder Vanessa DiBernardo, captured the Big Ten tournament crown, are also working hard to stay in the mix.
But the Nittany Lions are going to be a tough nut to crack, with the nation's leading scorer Maya Hayes leading the line. The key focus for PSU is ensuring the experienced players provide the proper on field influence to replace the experience gap.
"We're doing quite a bit of leadership training right now, working with some guys at the university that do some leadership training, and every other Monday we devote some time to team development and leadership training," Walsh said.
The search for replacements is a common theme throughout other teams, as it's also a theme for Michigan State to deal with.
"We graduated 11 seniors and six or seven were in the lineup for most of the last couple of years," Spartans head coach Tom Saxton told TopDrawerSoccer.com. "We're kind of re-tooling our playing group. Although we're young, we're comfortable with our talent level, we've got to find the right place to put people and how we're going to lineup tactically and all that."
For those programs in transition, the spring provides the platform to tinker, experiment, and see who steps up and is ready to contribute in what is sure to be another extremely competitive Big 10 season.
"We're going to give everyone an opportunity," Wilkins said. "The spring for us is more about development and giving people opportunities to do things. The two things I tell them is that they're competing for a spot, but they're also trying to build relationships with each other on the field and I think that's also very important."
Big Ten Players to Watch
Olivia Stander, Michigan State - Olivia's now got to take ownership of being our go-to offensive player in terms of finishing for us," Saxton said. "I'm excited for her, she's ready, she's more fit than she's ever been at this time of year." Stander bagged 11 goals and nine assists last year, partnering with the now graduated Laura Heyboer. As a senior this fall, the Spartans' goal scoring responsibilities fall on her shoulders.
Maya Hayes, Penn State - It was an incredible sophomore season for Hayes, as she scored 31 goals, finished as a MAC Hermann Trophy Finalist. Now helping U.S. U20 Women's National Team through CONCACAF qualifying, what does she have in her for an encore?
Vanessa DiBernardo, Illinois - While PSU grabbed the regular season crown, Illinois returned the favor in the Big 10 tournament, thanks in large part to DiBernardo's 17-goal campaign. Another big year would help push Illinois to new heights.
Categories: Youth Articles

Cal South ODP beats U14 BNT 3-2

Thu, 03/08/2012 - 12:39am

CARSON, CALIFORNIA - In the second game of the doubleheader at the Home Depot Center on Wednesday night, the Cal South ODP '96 beat the U.S. U14 Boys National Team 3-2 in a rather entertaining affair. 

From the opening whistle, Cal South was the more aggressive side and deservedly took the lead after nine minutes. Real So Cal midfielder Alex Ramos tapped in a deflected shot from four yards out for the opening goal.

The U14 BNT continued to battle though, and did settle into the flow of the game after a dozen minutes. Central midfielder Eric Calvillo, who is in his first camp with the national team, took control of the game with his smooth passing and sharp movements on the ball. 

The Palmdale, Calfornia native also scored the opening goal for the national team in mesmerizing fashion right before half.

Lagos KungaThe movement started with right back Weston McKennie. The FC Dallas product beat a few players down the sideline before hitting a cross to the far side. Thomas Golden knocked the ball down for Calvillo, who hit a swerving shot that deceived the keeper and put the sides on level terms right before half.  

"Eric [Calvillo] did well," U14 boys national team head coach Hugo Perez told TopDrawerSoccer.com. "I thought physically we were a little behind the team that ODP brought, but with the soccer, I was very happy."

Olimpica United's Marcos Bueno regained the lead for the ODP side in the 60th minute when he beat the offside trap and slotted the ball past Anthony Garduno.

The tallest player on the national team, Haji Wright, provided the response when he beat the high-line from the ODP defense with his superior athleticism and skillfully placed his shot around the keeper.

Wright started the game at striker, but struggled to withstand the physicality of the older defenders and eventually slotted out wide to right wing. Given space and time on the ball, the Galaxy Alliance forward looked dangerous and capable of taking any player off the dribble. Yet, Wright only converted that one chance, as the ODP keeper thwarted his other shots.

West Coast FC's Zach Kobayashi grabbed the eventual game winner for Cal South ODP in the 77th minute. The U14 BNT needlessly coughed up possession in the middle of the field, and the ODP team quickly sprung into the attack. Kobayashi sprinted past the two center backs and slotted his shot around Garduno for the winner.

"For us, it was great," ODP head coach Steve Hoffman told TopDrawerSoccer.com. "We fly out to Texas at 8 a.m. for 2012 US Youth Soccer ODP Championships. We probably won't play a team like that at nationals, but it presents a different challenge."

This friendly also presented an opportunity for a couple of ODP players eligible for the U14 national team to show their worth to the coaching staff.

"We have a couple of boys who should be looked at," Hoffman said. "Ethan Lotenero, who just spent a couple of weeks at Liverpool in the winter, missed out on the regional championships in Arizona so they probably haven't seen him yet.

"Lotheno and Ethan Zubak are both playing with us in Frisco, even though they are both born in 1998 and this is a '96 event. They both deserve it."

On the other bench, Perez was pleased with the way his team performed in the last ten minutes in the first half and parts of the second half.

"I wish we could have these could have these kids more often," Perez said. "With the way they are playing now, we are going to have a very good team for the next cycle at the U17 age group. I am very happy with that."

Perez went on to say that he will not see these players again for a few months after this camp ends this weekend, which is the most challenging part of the job for the coach. But he also said he is really enjoying this role within the federation.

"These kids want to play futbol," Perez said with a smile. "I told them today to have fun and don't worry about the mistakes, we will take care of those later."

The coach pointed out that his team did not hit a long ball out of the defense in either game, which pleased the technical staff as well. It did contribute to conceding a goal or two, but the overall message that the national team is going to build out of the back was instilled with this group.

Starting lineup:

Andrew Romig; Weston McKennie, Juan Riley, Edwin Gomez, Luka Prpa; Eric Calvillo, Dawson McCartney, Julian Hall; Sean Teixeira, Thomas Golden; Haji Wright

Second half subs:

Anthony Garduno; Alexis Velela, Daniel Laranetto, Jonathan Gonzalez, Lagos Kunga

J.R. Eskilson is a staff reporter at TopDrawerSoccer.com. Follow him on or send him an ' ); document.write( addy_text79473 ); document.write( '<\/a>' ); //-->\n ' ); //--> This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ' ); //-->
Categories: Youth Articles

Cal South ODP beats U14 Boys National Team 3-2

Thu, 03/08/2012 - 12:39am

CARSON, CALIFORNIA - In the second game of the doubleheader at the Home Depot Center on Wednesday night, the Cal South ODP '96 beat the U.S. U14 Boys National Team 3-2 in a rather entertaining affair. 

From the opening whistle, Cal South was the more aggressive side and deservedly took the lead after nine minutes. Real So Cal midfielder Alex Ramos tapped in a deflected shot from four yards out for the opening goal.

The U14 BNT continued to battle though, and did settle into the flow of the game after a dozen minutes. Central midfielder Eric Calvillo, who is in his first camp with the national team, took control of the game with his smooth passing and sharp movements on the ball. 

The Palmdale, Calfornia native also scored the opening goal for the national team in mesmerizing fashion right before half.

Lagos KungaThe movement started with right back Weston McKennie. The FC Dallas product beat a few players down the sideline before hitting a cross to the far side. Thomas Golden knocked the ball down for Calvillo, who hit a swerving shot that deceived the keeper and put the sides on level terms right before half.  

"Eric [Calvillo] did well," U14 boys national team head coach Hugo Perez told TopDrawerSoccer.com. "I thought physically we were a little behind the team that ODP brought, but with the soccer, I was very happy."

Olimpica United's Marcos Bueno regained the lead for the ODP side in the 60th minute when he beat the offside trap and slotted the ball past Anthony Garduno.

The tallest player on the national team, Haji Wright, provided the response when he beat the high-line from the ODP defense with his superior athleticism and skillfully placed his shot around the keeper.

Wright started the game at striker, but struggled to withstand the physicality of the older defenders and eventually slotted out wide to right wing. Given space and time on the ball, the Galaxy Alliance forward looked dangerous and capable of taking any player off the dribble. Yet, Wright only converted that one chance, as the ODP keeper thwarted his other shots.

West Coast FC's Zach Kobayashi grabbed the eventual game winner for Cal South ODP in the 77th minute. The U14 BNT needlessly coughed up possession in the middle of the field, and the ODP team quickly sprung into the attack. Kobayashi sprinted past the two center backs and slotted his shot around Garduno for the winner.

"For us, it was great," ODP head coach Steve Hoffman told TopDrawerSoccer.com. "We fly out to Texas at 8 a.m. for 2012 US Youth Soccer ODP Championships. We probably won't play a team like that at nationals, but it presents a different challenge."

This friendly also presented an opportunity for a couple of ODP players eligible for the U14 national team to show their worth to the coaching staff.

"We have a couple of boys who should be looked at," Hoffman said. "Ethan Lotenero, who just spent a couple of weeks at Liverpool in the winter, missed out on the regional championships in Arizona so they probably haven't seen him yet.

"Lotheno and Ethan Zubak are both playing with us in Frisco, even though they are both born in 1998 and this is a '96 event. They both deserve it."

On the other bench, Perez was pleased with the way his team performed in the last ten minutes in the first half and parts of the second half.

"I wish we could have these could have these kids more often," Perez said. "With the way they are playing now, we are going to have a very good team for the next cycle at the U17 age group. I am very happy with that."

Perez went on to say that he will not see these players again for a few months after this camp ends this weekend, which is the most challenging part of the job for the coach. But he also said he is really enjoying this role within the federation.

"These kids want to play futbol," Perez said with a smile. "I told them today to have fun and don't worry about the mistakes, we will take care of those later."

The coach pointed out that his team did not hit a long ball out of the defense in either game, which pleased the technical staff as well. It did contribute to conceding a goal or two, but the overall message that the national team is going to build out of the back was instilled with this group.

Starting lineup:

Andrew Romig; Weston McKennie, Juan Riley, Edwin Gomez, Luka Prpa; Eric Calvillo, Dawson McCartney, Julian Hall; Sean Teixeira, Thomas Golden; Haji Wright

Second half subs:

Anthony Garduno; Alexis Velela, Daniel Laranetto, Jonathan Gonzalez, Lagos Kunga

J.R. Eskilson is a staff reporter at TopDrawerSoccer.com. Follow him on or send him an ' ); document.write( addy_text13223 ); document.write( '<\/a>' ); //-->\n ' ); //--> This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ' ); //-->
Categories: Youth Articles

Elijah Rice nets late winner for U14 BNT

Thu, 03/08/2012 - 12:37am

CARSON, CALIFORNIA - The message from the coaching staff before the game was simple: have fun. And that is exactly what the U14 Boys National Team did on Wednesday night at the Home Depot Center.

In the first friendly of the evening, the national team claimed a 3-2 victory over Los Angeles Galaxy Academy U14/'97.

Winger Christian Pulisic and forward Joe Gallardo paced the attack with a goal and an assist each in the win.

Pulisic's dashing runs at the defense were one of the highlights of the night for the national team, as the five-foot tall winger continuously challenged bigger and stronger defenders with his elusive pace and silky skills.

Kyle GurrieriThe left-footed attacker contributed immediately with an assist in the third minute to Gallardo for the first goal of the game.

"The ball came out wide to me, I cut one guy and played a nice through ball into Joe Gallardo up top," Pulisic told TopDrawerSoccer.com after the game. "He had a nice finish on it."

In the 31st minute, Gallardo returned the favor with an assist to Pulisic to put the national team up 2-0 in the first half.

"Joe made a very nice move and played a great ball across," Pulisic said. "I was in the right spot at the right time. I slid in and put it in there. It was a good finish."

Galaxy answered minutes before half when Cesar Faris cut past a defender and ripped a shot that netminder Abraham Romero could not stop.

The MLS youth academy carried that momentum through the halftime break and nearly equalized seconds into the second half.

Substitute Umayr Syed broke through the defense on the opening play after the kickoff, but Romero stopped him twice from close range to maintain the one goal advantage for the national team.

Ten minutes later, Gallardo nearly had his second of the game when he beat his mark with an exquisite first touch. The striker from San Diego rounded the keeper, but a retreating defender blocked his shot from crossing the line.

Syed atoned for the early miss in the second half in the 60th minute when he hit a shot from 20 yards out that flew past Romero and into the net for the tying goal.

But the national team ultimately prevailed thanks to substitute Elijah Rice, who found the back of the net after 15 minutes on the field.

"It came from a really good buildup from the back," Rice told TopDrawerSoccer.com after the game. "My good friend Luca [De la Torre] set it up, and I put it in."

De la Torre, who was excellent throughout the contest, withstood a few challenges before running through the Galaxy defense and cutting the ball across to the waiting Rice.

Rice calmly put the ball into the net and thanked his pal for the classy helper.  

The national team should have added to the lead seven minutes later when substitute midfielder Alejandro Zendejas stole the ball in the center circle and immediately raced past the defenders.

Zendejas unselfishly laid off a pass to Joshua Perez on his right, but the Chivas USA Academy product suffered from some tired legs and could not beat the keeper.

Other than that mishap though, Perez was solid as a two-way midfielder while playing for his uncle Hugo Perez.

"I treat him like everyone," U14 national team head coach Hugo Perez told TopDrawerSoccer.com about coaching his nephew. "This is a good step for him being here, and now going back [to ACF Fiorentina] will be a good step too."

Hugo Perez said Joshua will be returning to Fiorentina in two weeks for another trial and added that "it is getting serious now" about the Italian club signing the young American to a contract. Joshua Perez spent extended periods of 2011 with the Serie A club.

The U14 national team saw the game out for 3-2 win, but the coach was not too worried about the score.

"I was very happy with the way we played," Perez said. "There were about six or seven players who stood out [from the first game] and the rest weren't bad either. The first group is very strong."

The players were also pleased with how the team performed in the opening match of the night.

"I think the team played really well," Pulisic said. "We played how the coach wants us to play - simple, quick - and we came out with the win."


U14 National Team Starting Lineup:
Abraham Romero, Joe Schmidt, Trey Vinson, Tommy McCabe, Hugo Arellano; Luca De la Torre, Kyle Gurrieri, Joshua Perez; Jonathan Navarro, Christian Pulisic; Joe Gallardo

Second half subs:
Damien Hernandez, Logan Panchot, Alejandro Zendejas, Elijah Rice, Raheem Taylor-Parkes

J.R. Eskilson is a staff reporter at TopDrawerSoccer.com. Follow him on or send him an ' ); document.write( addy_text42687 ); document.write( '<\/a>' ); //-->\n ' ); //--> This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ' ); //-->
Categories: Youth Articles

U20 WNT wrap up group play with another win

Wed, 03/07/2012 - 5:37am

Another group game in the U20 CONCACAF qualifying tournament, and another 6-0 win for the U.S. U20 Women's National Team.
After holding just a two goal lead at the half time, the U.S. U20s burst to life in the second half, led by substitute Maya Hayes' brace, as the U.S. defeated the host country Panama by another lopsided score. The U.S. will face Mexico in the semifinals on Friday, with a chance to qualify for the U20 Women's World Cup on the line.
Player ratings (1-10):
Bryane Heaberlin, 6 - The goalkeeper had little to do all evening as Panama registered zero shots on goal. Heaberlin barely touched the ball.
Cari Roccaro, 7 - Not a lot to do along the back line, but when Roccaro was needed, she sprung into action quickly and efficiently to snuff out Panama's hopes.
Cari RoccaroKassey Kallman, 5 - Some nervy moments in the opening stages of the first half included a couple of poor passes. However, settled into things once the USA became more dominant, hardly putting a foot wrong.
Kealia Ohai, 5 - Panama could barely handle her speed on the night, and Ohai was unlucky not to grab a goal in the first half - hit the post and couldn't make contact when alone at the top of the box.
Julie Johnston, 8 - Probably the best U.S. player on the field on the night. Bossed the midfield, broke up plays and distributed the ball well. Made a smart run and finished well for her goal.
Lindsey Horan, 4 - It was a night to forget for Horan as everything was there for her except the finishing touch. She scored a hat trick against Guatemala, in the first group game, but on Tuesday she had a hat trick of misses, and was subbed out at the half for Maya Hayes.
Vanessa DiBernardo, 6 - DiBernardo put in an active shift on the flanks, and she bagged a crucial goal just before the half, beating the Panama goalkeeper between the legs.
Micaela Capelle, 7 - The wide midfielder was active throughout her 90 minute shift, and secured the breakthrough in the 29th minute when her cross turned into a shot and beat the Panamanian 'keeper.
Sarah Killion, 6 - A solid performance in the middle of the park, Killion played some good balls and covered a lot of ground at d-mid before being pulled at the half, possibly due to a knock she received in the early going.
Olivia Brannon, 6 - Neutralized Panama on her right flank all evening and got forward to a limited extent.
Stephanie Amack, 6 - Added another attacking option from her left back role, defended well, and had a goal called back for offside.
Substitutes
Maya Hayes, 7 - Came on at halftime to provide an unstoppable spark plug, finding Johnston with a good ball to set up a goal, before grabbing one in the 59th minute with a great turn and finish. Added a second late on to make it six goals for the United States.
Mandy Laddish, 5 - Laddish came on at the half in the place of Killion, putting in a similar, no fuss, no muss type of performance. 
Samantha Mewis, 6 - A solid, tidy performance from the bench punctuated with a nicely volleyed goal off a corner kick. Did pick up a yellow card late in the second half.
Categories: Youth Articles

U17 Residency player commits, shifting power

Wed, 03/07/2012 - 5:30am

For Colton Storm, heading to North Carolina in 2013 will be a little like being back in the U.S. U17 Residency Program. 
Storm, the No. 33 ranked 2013 player in the country, announced his commitment this past weekend which again aligned him with former U17 roommate Joseph Amon.
"I feel pretty good about where I belong on the (North Carolina) team and it'll be nice to be alongside my past roommate," Storm said. "The coaches are very welcoming and I know what they want. I love their style of play, and really love everything about North Carolina."
Colton StormThe feeling should be mutual. Storm is a talented and versatile midfielder who covers a lot of ground setting up the offensive attack and supporting the defense. He's a great worker and is the type of player who could make any team better.
Storm will also be joining such class standouts as Daniel Garcia (No. 15 in Top 100), Jonathan Campbell (No. 63), and Alexander Olofson (No. 58).
He should feel at home, indeed.
Just across the way, NC State also picked up a headliner when Michael Bajza gave his verbal commitment for 2013. Bajza is a Shattuck St. Mary's midfielder who is ranked No. 91 in his class. 
In other commitment news:
Jack Rubin (Sockers FC) has signed to DePaul for the 2012 season. 
Roland Minogue (Charlotte Soccer Academy) has verbally committed to North Carolina for the 2013 season. 
Matthew Tran (South Carolina United) has signed to Wofford for the 2012 season.  Ben Bruggeworth has signed with Wofford for the 2012 season. 
Brent Arnold (PA Classics) has verbally committed to West Virginia for the 2013 season. 
Connor Willings (Florida Rush) has signed to Bucknell for the 2012 season. Willings was the NSCAA High School Player of the Year for Florida in 2011.   
Daniel Battle has signed to Hood College for the 2012 season. 
Hunter Weber has signed to UAB for the 2012 season. 
Categories: Youth Articles