2013-14 Academy Postseason Features New Format: The Development Academy’s 2013-14 postseason will include an elimination format for its Under-15/16 and U-17/18 age groups. The postseason will consist of a knockout round, followed by the semifinals and final to be held July 17 and 19, respectively, at U.S. Soccer’s National Training Center in Carson, Calif. The Academy Playoffs, which maintain the same format as previous seasons, will be held June 23-27 at Grand Park in Westfield, Ind., near Indianapolis.
Opportunity Knocks: De Anza Force’s Jonathan Navarro: De Anza Force forward Jonathan Navarro, a former member of the U.S. U-17 Residency Program, spoke with ussoccer.com for its Opportunity Knocks series about his recent time in the Academy. Navarro credits U-15/16 head coach Shaun Tsakaris for pushing his game both mentally and physically.
Opportunity Knocks: Players Development Academy’s Josh Burnett: Players Development Academy center midfielder Josh Burnett caught up with U.S. Soccer to reflect on his time with the New Jersey-based club. Burnett says PDA has helped improve his defensive game and has created a competitive training environment while playing up with the U-15/16 age group.
Share your Academy news, comments, photos, links and more using the #OpportunityKnocks hashtag.
ACADEMY QUICK HITS (Weekend of March 15-16):
- West Conference: Seattle Sounders FC’s U-15/16 and U-17/18 teams each came away with one-goal victories against Crossfire Premier in Northwest Division action on Saturday at the Starfire Sports Complex. Cody Crook tallied the game-winning goal in the 90th minute to lift the Sounders U-17/18s to a 3-2 victory. Seattle has won six straight and sits in second place in the division at 11-3-4 and 2.06 points per game. The first-place Seattle Sounders U-15/16 squad (12-3-3, 2.17 points per game) topped Crossfire Premier 1-0, with Victor Mansaray’s 51st-minute tally holding up for the win.
- Central Conference: Solar Chelsea SC swept Texans SC Houston in Central Conference play Saturday. The Solar Chelsea U-15/16s surrendered an early goal but responded with tallies from Nicholas Blessing (34th minute) and Garrett Garwood (70th minute) for a 2-1 victory to move to 8-6-4 (1.54 points per game). At the older age group, Blake Stricker and Alan Winn each scored a goal in the opening 10 minutes of the U-17/18 team’s 2-0 victory.
- East Conference: The New England Revolution U-17/18s, playing in their first match since an Academy Winter Showcase matchup against the U.S. U-17s, earned a 4-2 victory against the Montreal Impact on Sunday in Northeast Division action in Foxborough, Mass. The Revs rallied from a 2-1 deficit with Daniel Apajee’s second goal in the 54th minute serving as the game-winner. Christian Sady added an insurance goal in the 80th minute as the Revolution improved to 5-5-2 and 1.42 points per game. The Revolution U-15/16s edged Montreal 2-1 with Daniel Jones scoring both goals for New England (5-5-3, 1.38 points per game).
- Player of the Week: Midfielder Kyle Gurrieri of NJSA 04’s U-15/16 team scored what proved to be the game-winner with his ninth-minute goal to lead NJSA to a 2-1 victory against a strong Players Development Academy side on March 8.
- Referee of the Week: Ramy Touchan, a 28-year-old Grade 4 referee from Arizona, was named Academy Referee of the Week for his work during the U-17/18 match between Chivas USA and host Real Salt Lake AZ on March 8. Touchan is a former Referee of the Week during the 2010-11 season. In addition to his five-plus years working Academy matches, Touchan’s background also includes games in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, USL PRO, MLS preseason and PDL.
For all Development Academy results, visit academy.demosphere.com or click on the following links:
Bruin Leads Dynamo Again: St. Louis Scott Gallagher Missouri product Will Bruin scored his third goal in two games to lead the Houston Dynamo to its second victory on Saturday in Major League Soccer action. Elsewhere, Colorado Rush alum Kekuta Manneh scored a clutch game-tying goal during the Vancouver Whitecaps’ 1-1 road draw against Chivas USA on Sunday.
U.S. U-14 and U-15 BNT March Camps Set for NTC: The U.S. U-14 and U-15 Boys’ National Teams will be holding simultaneous camps from March 22-30 at U.S. Soccer’s National Training Center in Carson, Calif. The U-15 BNT group, headed by Hugo Perez, features 24 players among the 32 who are registered with Development Academy clubs. U-14 BNT head coach Tony Lepore named a 32-player roster for this age group’s third camp in the current cycle, with a roster that includes 21 players currently registered with Academy clubs.
U.S. U-17 MNT Wraps Up Pacific NW Tour: The U.S. U-17 Men’s National Team completed a recent trip to the Pacific Northwest. The USA went unbeaten in its first two matches, posting a scoreless draw against Seattle Sounders FC’s joint U-17/18 Academy and MLS Reserves team on March 10, followed by a 3-2 victory against the University of Portland. Lonestar SC’s McKinze Gaines supplied the offense with all three goals against Portland. On Monday, March 17, the U-17s capped off the trip with a hard-fought 3-2 loss to the Portland Timbers Reserves. Haji Wright out of the LA Galaxy Academy provided a goal and assisted a Gaines tally.
- Release: Academy Postseason Features New Format in Build-Up to July 19 Final
- Video: Academy Snapshot: Bethesda-Olney
- Video: Opportunity Knocks: De Anza Force’s Jonathan Navarro
- Video: Opportunity Knocks: Players Development Academy’s Josh Burnett
- Video: Opportunity Knocks: Chicago Fire’s Sebastian Padua
- Video: Opportunity Knocks: Chicago Magic PSG’s Elijah Rice
- Video: Opportunity Knocks: Concorde Fire’s Dembakwi Yomba
- Video: Opportunity Knocks: Minnesota Thunder Academy’s Mukwelle Akale
- Video: Opportunity Knocks: Minnesota Thunder Academy’s Jackson Yueill
- Video: Opportunity Knocks: Crew Soccer Academy’s Ben Swanson
- Video: Opportunity Knocks: Real Salt Lake AZ’s Christian Herrera
- Video: Opportunity Knocks: Real So Cal’s Justin Vom Steeg
- Video: Opportunity Knocks: Capital Area RailHawks’ Conor Donovan
- Video: Opportunity Knocks: NJSA 04’s Matias Fracchia
- Video: 2013 Development Academy Winter Showcase Review
- Video: Academy Players Relish Select Game Limelight
- Video: U.S. Soccer Development Academy Launches U-13/14 Division
- Feature: New England Revolution Academy’s Herivaux Basks in First-Team Run
- Feature: U.S. U-18 MNT’s Palmer-Brown Works His Way up Ranks at Sporting
- Feature: Tony Lepore Q&A: Developing Youth Players
- 2013 Opportunity Knocks Videos: Tyler Adams | Jose Carranza | David Chavez | Lucas Del Rosario | Chase Gasper | Edwin Lara | JT Marcinkowski | Shaquell Moore | Maduabuchi Obinwa | Erik Palmer-Brown | Juan Pablo Torres
UPCOMING ACADEMY SCHEDULE:
- 2013-14 Academy Schedule
- Development Academy Regular Season: The March 21-23 weekend includes the busiest slate of games for the 2014 portion of the schedule to date. A total of 118 matches are scheduled, with a combined 74 games at the U-15/16 and U-17/18 age groups and 44 fixtures at the U-13/14 level.
- Soccer America: Will Bruin Starts MLS Season in Style
- Soccer By Ives: The SBI Show with Special Guest Will Bruin (audio, starting at 52:00)
- Top Drawer Soccer: Development Academy Recap
- The Oregonian: Portland Timbers Forward Darlington Nagbe Starts 50th Straight Game
- Chicago Fire: Shipp Takes Pride in Being First Homegrown to Debut for Fire
- Chivas USA: Academy Earns Split in San Diego
- D.C. United: Academy Sides Post Shutouts Against Match Fit
- New England Revolution: Academy Teams Sweep Montreal Impact
On Feb. 9, 2013, the U.S. Women’s National Team kicked off the new year with a 4-1 victory against Scotland in Jacksonville, Florida. Christen Press, then 24-years-old, was responsible for two goals that day, scoring in the 13th minute and adding another in the 32nd to give the U.S. a 2-0 lead at halftime.
The early goal was Press’ first for the USA, coming in a match that was also her first cap.
Becky Sauerbrunn hugs Christen Press in the aftermath of Press scoring on her WNT debut.
Earning that first cap is special for any player, but a debut and a goal in the same game? That’s a rare feat. In the 30+ year history of the U.S. WNT 21 players have scored in their first caps.
NOTHING TO LOSE
Press’ path to that first game three years ago was an interesting one. In early 2012, she made the decision to move to Sweden after U.S.-based Women’s Professional Soccer folded. Press thought leaving the country might negatively impact her hopeful National Team career, but little did she know, it was only just beginning.
“I think just because I always thought that the National Teams would be watching the American league, I thought that going abroad was kind of like saying goodbye to my dream of playing for the National Team,” recalled Press. “I left around this time, in February, and I thought I would not get a call, I sort of thought that I would fall out of U.S. Soccer’s radar.”
As it turns out, head coach Pia Sundhage kept tabs on players in Europe, especially in her native land of Sweden. Press got off to a hot start with her new club, and it wasn’t long before she was on her way back home.
Press returned to the U.S. and joined the WNT in Florida in April during the final stretch of what had been an intense fitness camp. She kept to herself and tried to quickly learn as much as possible despite only being there for five days.
“I had nothing to lose,” she said. “It was my first camp, it was warm and I was so happy. I don’t think I spoke to anybody. I was not nervous, I was just happy to be in Florida and my dream was coming true. I’m always quiet when I don’t know my surroundings, so I just kept to myself trying to learn the rules, how to behave; it was all so quick.”
That short stint turned out to be the only one for Press before she was named an Olympic alternate in 2012. The following February, Tom Sermanni took over as WNT head coach, and it was then Press learned she would start against Scotland. Her chance had arrived.
“I went on the field, the crowd was so much bigger than I’d ever played in front of, and for me it was so much bigger than life,” said Press. “But I kept telling myself, ‘I’m not nervous, I’m confident, I’m a good player and I believe in myself.’”
Years and multiple goals later, plus one Women’s World Cup title to her name, the dream is alive and well for Press.
Press celebrates scoring her first World Cup goal against Australia in the USA's opening match of the 2015 Women's World Cup