U.S. U-23 MNT Camp Shifts to Costa Rica: The U.S. Under-23 Menâ€™s National Team is in the midst of training at Carson, Calif., and is gearing up for Jan. 13 and 17 scrimmages against the U.S. MNT. The U-23s then travel to Costa Rica on Jan. 18 and will play two matches against local club teams. The January camp is in preparation of the 2012 CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying Tournament in March. Five players with Development Academy ties are on U-23 head coach Caleb Porterâ€™s roster: defender Zarek Valentin, midfielders Joe Corona and Kelyn Rowe, and forwards Joshua Gatt and Jack McInerney.
LAST WEEKâ€™S HIGHLIGHTS:
- The Houston Dynamo U-15/16 came from behind to defeat Classics Elite 2-1 on the strength of two Julius Montano goals in the 31st and 73rd minutes. The game marked Montanoâ€™s U-15/16 debut for the Dynamo.
- Classics Elite U-17/18 blanked the Houston Dynamo 1-0 on Saturday, led by JohnMichael Villarrealâ€™s 52nd-minute goal.
ACADEMY ALUMNI NEWS AND NOTES:
Wenger selected No. 1 in 2012 MLS SuperDraft: Former U.S. Soccer Development Academy player Andrew Wenger was selected as the top pick of Thursdayâ€™s 2012 MLS SuperDraft by the expansion Montreal Impact. The former Pennsylvania Classics player and Duke product was among six Development Academy alumni chosen among the first 13 selections: Wenger (1, Montreal), Kelyn Rowe (3, New England), Casey Townsend (5, Chivas USA), Andrew Jean-Baptiste (8, Portland), Ethan Finlay (10, Columbus) and Chandler Hoffman (13, Philadelphia).
Speas signs with Columbus Crew: U.S. Soccer Development Academy alum and College Cup MVP Ben Speas signed with Major League Soccerâ€™s Columbus Crew to a homegrown contract on Wednesday. Speas inked a multi-year contract after winning the 2011 College Cup with North Carolina. He was the tournamentâ€™s most valuable offensive player and Soccer Americaâ€™s 2011 College Player of the Year.
N.Y. Times Profiles Bijev: The New York Times Soccer Blog features former California Odyssey forward Villyan Bijev , who is in the midst of a three-year contract with Liverpool and recently attended U.S. U-20 MNT camp in Florida.
ACADEMY IN THE NEWS:
- The Development Academy is featured at Top Drawer Soccer (first part of a three-part series) â€“ TopDrawerSoccer.com
- D.C. United U-15/16 defender Suliaman Dainkeh commits to Maryland for 2013 â€“ ESPN RISE
- ESPN previews Development Academy play, including a Jan. 22 match between U-17/18 sides LA Galaxy and Vancouver Whitecaps â€“ ESPN RISE
- Former Academy player Juan Agudelo hopes to have a busy 2012 with the U.S. MNT and the New York Red Bulls â€“ MLSSoccer.com
- Academy alum Darlington Nagbe looks back on the 2011 SuperDraft â€“ MLSSoccer.com
- Kelyn Rowe is added to the U.S. U-23 camp â€“ MLSSoccer.com
- Former Seacoast United midfielder Guy Kabala is featured â€“ SeacoastUnited.com