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.
Congratulations to the D.C. United U-16 Development Academy who will go into their winter break as the number one team in the nation. The Academy is the only division leader who boasts an undefeated record over the first 13 matches. With a 2.69 points per game average, they also lead their age-group in goals. 15 year old Gerson Umana, sits atop the individual standings with 11 goals on the season.
The US Development Academy season starts in September and goes through the following June. The winter break falls between December and March.
A report out today from TopDrawerSoccer.com offers some quotes from D.C. United U-16 Academy player, Gerson Umana.
Umana is currently tied for first in scoring among USSF Development Academy U-16 players with nine goals. “It’s really all team work,” Umana told TopDrawerSoccer.com. “I think as a team we are really complete [and] my coach is making me into a better player.”
D.C. United's mission of "winning championships and serving the community" isn't only for the first team. On Sunday, October 14, D.C. United Academy players, coaches, and parents participated in the Acumen Solution's 8K Race for a Cause in Arlington, VA. The race helped raise money for United for D.C. - the club's charitable arm.
Forty-five players from United's U-14, U-15, and U-16 teams ran with 15 coaches and parent plus the events hundreds of other participants. D.C. United front office staff also participated.
Most of the Academy players were sleepy and chilly at the start of the race (see above), but they warmed up during the run and enjoyed representing the Black-and-Red and a community event.
New Director of Youth Development, Sonny Silooy, finished first among the Academy coaches. And, as the photo on the right suggests, he was pretty happy about it.