Day five. It doesn’t sound like very many days, but they sure do add up when you play, watch, coach and write about six different soccer games. Games fluctuate with a flick of a ball or a shot on goal and emotions dip and rise with goals, cards, fouls, wins and losses. Dramatic victories, unbelievable saves, and clutch performances from players made for an exciting and intense Winter Showcase.
The D.C. United U-16s were undefeated going into their last Showcase game against the San Jose Earthquakes on Sunday, Dec. 15 at 9 a.m. United pushed the tempo and had San Jose on their heels almost the entire first half. There was a lot of possession for United, but few chances on goal. The San Jose backline was able to contain the United forwards and keep the Black-and-Red attack at bay. The first half ended in a scoreless draw. The second half was a physical battle for both teams. San Jose countered against the United attack in the 65th minute and had a point blank shot on goal that was blocked by defender Kyle Brathwaite. The physicality of the match caught up with San Jose when their goalkeeper took out D.C. United forward Gerson Umana in the 70th minute. Umana converted the penalty for United, which put them up 1-0 with 10 minutes to go. United defended well for the last 13 minutes and won the game 1-0.
The D.C. U-16s went undefeated during the Winter Showcase and gained nine points that will be added to their first half of the season total. They beat two fellow MLS academy teams, scored nine goals and had two players, Donovan Pines and Jonathan Sousa, play all 80 minutes of all three games. The U-16s will have a few weeks off and then begin training for next half of the season in January.
The Winter Showcase ended successfully for the Black-and-Red. The U-16s went 3-0 and the U-18s went 1-1-1 against top ranked teams. College coaches numbered in the double digits at every single D.C. United game, along with several U.S. Soccer technical advisors. Florida treated D.C. United well. Everyone returns home today a little tanner, a little more tired and little more proud to wear the D.C. United badge. Vamos United!
Everyone was ready for a day to sleep in, except the coaches. Coaches Tom Torres and Nolan Sheldon and Academy Manager Steve Olivarez went to a meeting to listen to U.S. Men’s National Team Coach Jürgen Klinsmann. Meanwhile, the U-18s took the day off, and the U-16s didn’t have a game until 1 p.m. It was a cool morning and a lot of guys slept in or took walks on the beach. The U-16s departed for the field as the temperature began to rise.
Over 50+ college coaches were in attendance today when the D.C. United U-16s played their second game of the Winter Showcase against the Crew Soccer Academy. It was a hot day that proved to take down multiple players across the Premier Sports Complex. United used their reserves well and subbed efficiently to push a fast paced game. The Black-and-Red played to a scoreless draw in the first half that included a lot of D.C. United possession and a few quality chances on goal. DJ Reeves was subbed in to start the second half and made an immediate impact on the game. Reeves took on three Crew players to score a sensational a goal to put United up 1-0 in the 49th minute. Things began to heat up as the Crew pushed for the equalizer. Goalkeeper Tyler Beaudoin made two clutch saves to keep the lead for United going into the 80th minute. United countered quickly off of this Crew chance and Liam Hoen-Beck carried the ball the length of the field and crossed it to an awaiting Christophe Koffi, who slotted the ball into the back of the net. United lead 2-0, but the Crew pulled one back during stoppage time to make the final score 2-1. The D.C. United U-16s will play their third and final game of the Winter Showcase against the San Jose Earthquakes on Sunday, Dec.15 at 9 a.m.
D.C. United U-16 player Jose Carranza played 80 minutes in the U-15 Boys National Team game against the De Anza Force. The BNT was trailing the Force 1-0 going into the 80th minute when Carranza assisted to a teammate for the equalizer. Carranza has another game with the BNT against the New York Red Bulls on Sunday, Dec. 15 at 11 a.m.
The U-18s had the entire day off. They trained during the first half of the U-16s game and then sat and watch the U-16s for the second half. Once the U-18s returned to the hotel, there was a lot of beach volleyball along with a regen session in the ocean and pool. The U-18s will play their final game of the Showcase against Real Salt Lake AZ. Real Salt Lake is sitting atop the Western Conference and have a record of 6-1-2. This will be the most competitive and challenging game for the D.C. United U-18s.
Friday the Thirteenth proved to be a pretty lucky and successful day for D.C. United. A win against a fellow MLS club and beautiful weather for the beach makes for a pretty good day.
The day started before the sun came up for the U-18s. The day was dreary and overcast, but the U-18s ignored the weather and were prepared for the day's game.
The U-18s played against fellow MLS academy team, the New England Revolution, on Thursday, Dec. 12 at 9 a.m. The Black-and-Red started out strong and dominated possession in the first 30 minutes. The breakthrough for United came in the 36th minute off a Jorge Calix free kick. Calix served a curling ball in for Tim Oberg, who headed the ball into the net. One minute later, Calix scored a goal of his own on a breakaway to give United the 2-0 lead going into halftime. The Revs scored early in the second half, but Ronald Ventura put home another goal, assisted by Julian Cummings. The Revs made the score 3-2 in the dying minutes of the game, but United held on for the victory. The U-18s will have a well-deserved day off and will play their final game of the Showcase on Saturday, Dec. 14 at 11:15 a.m. against Real Salt Lake AZ.
The D.C. United U-16s played their first game of the Winter Showcase against the Indiana Fire on Thursday at 2:30 p.m. The first twenty minutes was very even sided, but Owen Marshall scored in the 21st minute to put United up 1-0. Christophe Koffi and Liam Hoen-Beck each added a goal before the half to give United a 3-0 lead. Marshall scored his second goal of the day early in the second half, while Antonio Bustamante tallied two more goals late in the half to give D.C. the 6-0 win. Both goalkeepers, Tyler Beaudoin and Zachary McMurrer, split halves and gave United the shutout victory. The U-16s will play again on Friday, Dec. 13 against the Crew Soccer Academy.
Two D.C. United U-16 players also participated in other select Developmental Academy games during the day. Jose Carranza played with the U-15 Boys National Team against Weston FC, and Trey Vinson played a full 80 minutes in the Academy Select Squad game. The U-16 team watched and cheered on their teammates in both games.
The night ended with a round of Chipotle, running from the family of raccoons that live in the underbrush around the hotel, FIFA tournaments and doing a regen session in the pool. The U-18s look forward to watching the U-16s tomorrow and enjoying the warm weather that we are having in Florida.
The first day of the Developmental Academy Winter Showcase started out early. Both teams woke up at 7:30 a.m. They ate breakfast, picked up their kits, had a pregame meeting, and then left for the Lakewood Ranch complex by 8:30 a.m. Twenty-two fields with hundreds of soccer players, coaches, fans, referees and staff stretched across the green fields. Players commented on how everything back home was covered in snow and then preceded to enjoy the warm, breezy weather.
PHOTOS: DA Winter Showcase - Day 1
The D.C. United U-18 team matched up against the Carolina Railhawks at 10 a.m. The Black-and-Red started out quick and dominated the game for the first 20 minutes, but the Railhalwks tallied on a counter attack in the 22nd minute to lead 1-0. Carolina scored again six minutes later in the 28th to lead 2-0 going into halftime. United had more attacking changes in the second half, but couldn’t covert. The game ended 3-0 after the Railhawks scored another goal during stoppage time. The U-18s will play again on Dec. 12 at 9 a.m. against the New England Revolution.
The D.C. United U-16 team had a day off after their hectic travel day. They trained and did a quick workout before the U-18s played, and then watched the game. They will play on Dec. 12 against the Indiana Fire at 2:30 p.m.
D.C. United U-16 player Jose Carranza is training with the U-15 Boys National Team during the Winter Showcase and will play his first game of the weekend on Dec. 12 at 1:30 p.m. against Weston FC. Trey Vinson will be playing in the Developmental Academy Select Squad game at 6 p.m. on the 12th as well. To read more about Carranza and Vinson, CLICK HERE.
This weekend marked the start of the offseason for D.C. United players. Each spent their downtime in a different way, some traveled, others enjoyed quiet time at home. Bill Hamid, United's Homegrown goalkeeper, spent Saturday cheering on DeMatha High School in the WCAC championship match. Before signing with DCU, Hamid attended DeMatha for the 2005-06 school year, during which he earned First-Team All-Maryland honors, First-Team All-Prince George’s County, First-Team All-WCAC and Second-Team Washington Post All-Met honors.
The Stags defeated rival Gonzaga High School 1-0, finishing their season with a winning record (15-4) and a championship to celebrate. After the Match, Hamid congratulated the team, and joined the locker room celebration. Despite a disappointing season for the Black-and-Red, Hamid and DCU had their own locker room celebration after this year's Open Cup victory.
As an affiliate club, Arlington Soccer Association (ASA) is one of the primary soccer clubs D.C. United looks to for identifying and developing top youth talent in the region. Not only are ASA players scouted and brought in to play for D.C. United, but all levels of ASA teams benefit from the quality and consistency of the affiliate program. In this young relationship, D.C. United wants to share coaching and training resources with ASA that will improve players, coaches and teams.
Arlington Soccer Association has three players on the D.C. United Academy U-16 roster this season. Patrick Jean-Gilles, Hamza Monawer and Christophe Gerlach are all current D.C. United players, but they all come from the same ASA roots.
“ASA helped us get recognized by D.C. United,” said Jean-Gilles. “We now have opportunities we wouldn’t have had without this connection.”
The Arlington Impact Red U16 boys and Arlington Strikers Red U17 boys have also had success alongside Jean-Gilles, Monawer and Gerlach. Both teams were crowned Virginia State Cup Champions after winning in a competitive finals weekend on Oct. 27.
“I’m really proud of them,” said Gerlach. “The three of us here at D.C. United just want to say congratulations. It’s a big accomplishment.”
The affiliation between the Arlington Soccer Association and D.C. United could be a shining example for other soccer communities,” said ASA Director of Travel Coaching German Peri. “The relationship allows ASA access to D.C. United’s professional coaching curricula and methodologies, while allowing D.C. United to benefit from ASA’s talented player pool and youth developmental program."
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D.C. United’s Jose Carranza (Manassas, Va.; North Virginia Soccer Club) has been called up to the U-15 Boys National Team (BNT) Camp to be held in Carson, Ca. from Oct. 26-Nov. 3. While he’s there, Carranza will train and play games alongside 29 others selected from other clubs and Developmental Academy teams across the United States. Carranza has become a mainstay with the BNT since attending the U-14 camps; this is his second time being invited up to the U-15 camp.
“We are happy that Jose has stayed consistent in his development path into the next age group cycle,” said D.C. United’s U-16 Head Coach Tom Torres. “He has been super committed and despite playing up with U-16’s, he has never shied away from the challenges that he is presented with.”
Carranza has been playing up an age division in the D.C. United Developmental Academy system and has thrived under the increased pressure of competing with older, more physical players.
“He is a true playmaker with a gift of clean technical ability and understanding of rhythm in possession,” said Torres. “We wish him all the best.”
Seven D.C. United Academy alums featured in the Maryland v. Wake Forest matchup on Saturday, Oct. 19 in College Park, Md. This Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) rivalry has always been a heated battle in which everyone is familiar with one another. For seven of those players, it’s not just familiarity, but a brotherhood. Four DCU alums, Mikias Eticha, Suli Dainkeh, Cody Niedermeier and Michale Sauers play for Maryland and three, Rafael Fagundo, Ian Harkes and Jalen Robinson play for Wake Forest.
These seven standouts used to spend a lot of time together practicing, traveling and playing on D.C. United’s Developmental Academy teams only a few short years or even months ago. The score ended 4-3 in favor of Wake, but there were still handshakes and genuine smiles after the game. Every player mentioned how awesome it is to see each other progress as players and to compete on such a high level.
“D.C. United definitely prepared me to play in big ACC matchups like tonight,” Robinson said. “Getting to play against 11 other players that eventually went on to DI colleges, the (MLS) reserves and the first team helped me gain a competitive drive and the technical skill to get me where I am today.”
When asked to give advice to current D.C. United Academy players, all seven had similar messages. Sauers said, “I know its cliché, but always go after your dream. We’re all out here pursuing our dreams and still working on others. Work hard and put in the time, and you’ll get there.” D.C. United Academy not only produces topnotch talent, it also produces a brotherhood of soccer players. Robinson said, “You know, we all could be back playing together somewhere down the line.”
Collin Martin, former D.C. United Academy standout and current Wake Forest Demon Deacon, was called into the United States U-20 Training Camp in Carson, Calif., from April 22-29 in preparation for the 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup.
The freshman midfielder/forward hails from Chevy Chase, Md., and has trained with Manchester United in 2008 and German side Hoffenheim in 2011. The young midfielder has made an impact with both United’s Academy and professional level— scoring a game-tying goal for United’s reserve team against the New England Revolution. Furthermore, Martin impressed coaches and players alike at several practices with United’s First Team in 2012.
Martin— named First Team All-Met by the Washington Post— helped the U-18s reach the USSDA National Championship in Texas and was named an Eastern Conference starting XI midfielder at the end of the 2012 season.
The 18-year-old graduated early from Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School and went on to feature in 20 games for Wake Forest, starting 15 of them. The young standout tallied one goal and registered six assists in the 2012 season, helping the Demon Deacons reach the first round of the NCAA tournament. Martin was then called into the U-20 camp in December of 2012.
"Collin being called into camp is important for D.C. United," said D.C. United Director of Youth Development Sonny Silooy. "He is still 18, still very young. When someone is already selected at just 17, you know he already has a lot of talent. He has potential to make the First Team for D.C and maybe the United States National Team someday."
Collin will join 23 other players in California, including current Major League Soccer standouts Will Trap and Jose Villarreal.