Home-grown player signings and bigger, better youth academy programs have become regular news items around Major League Soccer. Most, if not all, of the league’s clubs are increasingly eager to find talent in their own backyards, for reasons of competition as well as community relations, and the trend is growing steadily – so much so that it’s easy to forget that youth development initiatives were a rarity just a few years ago.
With only two weekends of games remaining in WAGS' spring season, the final scramble for points starts this weekend. While some divisions will actually finish up on Sunday, many other teams have at least two games left to catch up.
High School and Under-19s
With goals from Conor Doyle, Josh Gatt and Luis Gil, the U.S. U-20 Men’s National Team drew France 3-3 in an international friendly on Tuesday. The U.S. took the lead twice during the game, but France was able to find the equalizer each time.
The team includes Sterling, Va. native and D.C. United midfielder Conor Shanosky, who did not appear in the starting XI.
Conor Doyle got the U.S. on the board in just the eighth minute. Gatt sent in a cross from the left side that was headed off the cross bar by Terrence Boyd, but Doyle was there for the rebound.
Last week, Dumfries, Va. native and Prince William Soccer product Ali Krieger was named to the U.S. Women’s National Team roster for the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Germany this summer. It’s her first World Cup opportunity and Krieger, who spent four years playing club soccer in Germany with FFC Frankfurt, is not only a squad member but a leading contender for a starting role at right back. On Monday Potomac Soccer Wire caught up with Ali to chat about her latest achievement and the unconventional road she took to reach it.
The championship matches are set for the 2011 edition of the Maryland State Cup. All the final matches will take place at the Maryland SoccerPlex on May 21, beginning at 8:00 a.m.
In the Under-18 division, the Bethesda Internationals bested SAC Premier 2-1, and the MD Rush Nike beat Baltimore Bays Blues 2-0.
Final: Bethesda Internationals vs. MD Rush Nike, 12:00 p.m., SoccerPlex Stadium
Another beautiful weekend allowed all the games to kick off in WAGS, and many teams are now closing in on a divisional title. With only three weekends of regular season play left, it’s time for teams to really step up their game if they are in striking distance of the lead.
U-19s and High School
The Seneca Eagles were leading U-19 Division 3 before the weekend with ten points, and had a match against the DSC Freedom on Sunday. However, none of the scores from the weekend have been posted yet.
The Virginia State Cup is quickly coming to a close, with only two weekends of play left as the fields have been narrowed to four.
The VSA Heat Blue dominated the FCR Mystx in a 6-0 victory in the U-14 division. They will play the CYA Chaos, who snuck by Loudoun 96G Red in a tight 3-2 victory. The PWSI Courage Red defeated Beach FC 1-0, and they will face the DCST Metros Blue, who won 1-0 against the FASA Elite Impact.
Fredericksburg Hotspur is experiencing a baptism by fire so far in its inaugural season in the United Soccer Leagues Premier Development League, and Sunday’s 4-0 loss to the West Virginia Chaos in their home opener at the University of Mary Washington’s Battleground Athletic Complex was a strong example.
Most of Hotspur's team has been playing together for a matter of days, and head coach Carl Gray said it showed against a seasoned West Virginia side.
Fredericksburg Hotspur, one of the Premier Development League’s newest entrants, held a “meet the team” event at a local restaurant on Thursday night in preparation for their home opener, a 2:00 pm match against the West Virginia Chaos at the University of Mary Washington on Sunday.
Another weekend of games awaits the area as we head into the sixth week of WAGS play. At this point, many of the divisions have clear leaders, but several of them still remain a tightly contested race to the finish.
U-19 and High School
The McLean Fusion have High School Division 1 locked up by now, as the squad is undefeated in seven games. Their closest challenger is the Crofton Wolves, and considering they only have 11 points in six games, they're hardly a threat. The Fusion play the LMVS Patriots on Saturday and the DSC Sparks on Sunday, and should remain undefeated.