Crew Soccer Academy Wolves in Search of Second Title
The Crew Soccer Academy Wolves headed into the final day of the Development Academy Playoffs needing some help along the way, and the stars aligned as the Wolves won their group by two points and advanced to Finals Week.
How they got to Finals Week: The Crew Soccer Academy Wolves were not completely in charge of their destiny on the final day of the Development Academy Playoffs. They and Shattuck-Saint Mary’s were tied with four points apiece atop Group 5, but Shattuck held the goal differential advantage heading into the last day. The CSA Wolves did all they could by winning their final match against Texans SC Houston. When Shattuck tied NJSA 04 1-1, that allowed the Wolves to leapfrog Shattuck.
Finals Week and Academy Playoffs History: The club won the 2008-09 U-15/16 Development Academy championship 1-0 against Cal Odyssey. Back then, the club was known as the Derby County Wolves. Dzenan Catic scored the game-winning goal in the sixth minute and head coach Lars Richters’ club was able to hang on the rest of the way. The 2008-09 Derby County Wolves featured defender Sean Cunningham, who now plays professionally in Norway for Molde FK, and Catic, who played the 2011-12 season with Germany’s FC Kaiserslautern’s U-23 squad.
2011-12 Regular Season: The Crew Soccer Academy Wolves won five straight matches to end the regular season, holding off Chicago Magic PSG for second place in the Great Lakes Division and an 11-2-3 record. The club’s 62 overall goals was the most in the division as the Wolves earned a mark of 19-2-5 overall.
About head coach Lars Richters : Richters steered the team to its first championship in 2008-09 and is still at the helm this time around. A native of Livonia, Mich., Richters played collegiately at Yale University before returning to Michigan to play professional indoor soccer for the Detroit Rockers of the National Professional Soccer League from 1991-98. Richters was named the U-15/16 Development Academy Coach of the Year in 2008-09. Until February, Richters coached soccer at Livonia Stevenson High School (his alma mater) for 14 years.
About Crew Soccer Academy Wolves: The Crew Soccer Academy Wolves are in their first season as a Columbus Crew (MLS) affiliate. Based in Livonia, Mich., the Wolves are among the most successful youth clubs in the country and won the U-15/16 Development Academy national championship in 2008-09. Since 2008-09, the Wolves are 57-22-20 overall.
Scoring Leader in Academy Playoffs: Hunter Barone (2)
Scoring Leader During 2011-12 Regular Season: Zack Atwood (9)
Inside the Numbers: The Crew Soccer Academy Wolves have not lost since May 13 and are unbeaten in eight straight matches … The Wolves beat Finals Week group opponent PA Classics 1-0 on Dec. 4 … Defender Jimmy Fiscus has started every match for the Crew Soccer Academy Wolves this season.
Did you know … Another recent player to come through the Wolves’ ranks is Joshua Gatt, who plays professionally in Norway for Molde FK. Gatt signed his first professional contract with Austria’s SC Rheindorf Altach in 2010, after playing for the Wolves U-17/18 side.
U-15/16 Crew Soccer Academy Wolves 2011-12 Finals Week Schedule:
Home team listed first
Tuesday, July 17: Crew Soccer Academy Wolves vs. D.C. United, 9 p.m. CT
Thursday, July 19: St. Louis Scott Gallagher Missouri vs. Crew Soccer Academy Wolves, 8 p.m. CT
Saturday, July 21: Crew Soccer Academy Wolves vs. PA Classics, 9 p.m. CT
Monday, July 23: TBD