What goes on when you have 20 talented youth soccer players, a competitive soccer weekend, and one video camera? You get a behind the scenes look at D.C. United's U14 Developmental Academy team at the U.S. Soccer Eastern Regional Event in North Carolina.
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.
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.
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 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.
The D.C. United U-18 team grab breakfast before kicking off the tournament.
The bus ride to the 22-field complex.
The 18's starting XI against the Carolina Railhawks.
Seven D.C. United Academy players will meet in the NCAA College Cup Semifinals on Friday, Dec. 13 in Philadelphia, Pa. at PPL Park. Maryland players Sulianman Dainkeh, Mikias Eticha, Cody Neidermeier and Michael Sauers will play against former D.C. United Academy teammates Patrick Foss, Kevin McBride and Marcus Salandy-Defour of Virginia.
Washington D.C. (Nov. 26, 2013)—All three teams ended the first half of regular season play with multiple goal victories against the Richmond Strikers.
What do you enjoy most about going to the U.S. Youth National Team's camp?
I enjoy a lot of things about going. I like interacting with the coaching staff because they are all really knowledgeable and helpful. I also enjoy the style of play for the US National Team because it’s very fluid and fun. Oh, and the fields are REALLY nice and the hot weather in California is a plus.
Washington D.C. (Nov. 18, 2013)—The D.C. United academy teams were in action this past weekend in New Jersey and North Carolina. While the U-14s traveled to Advance, N.C., to play in the U.S. Soccer Eastern Regional Event, the U-18s and U-16s played away against Match Fit Academy FC.