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.
17-year-old impressed D.C.'s first-teamers during recent training stint
Colin Martin playing with D.C. United Reserves
Equal parts excited and anxious, Collin Martin sat alone at a corner locker in D.C. United’s busy dressing room last week. For the first few days, the latest academy product to be called up to first team training kept to himself - until the Black-and-Red’s captain broke the ice.
Equal parts excited and anxious, Collin Martin sat alone ata corner locker in D.C. United’s busy dressing room last week. For the first few days, the latest academyproduct to be called up to first team training kept to himself - until the Black-and-Red’scaptain broke the ice.
“Dwayne [De Rosario] came up and told me to hang out withthe guys,” Martin said this week, recounting his recent training stint withD.C.’s senior group. “They’ve beenreally welcoming and I felt like part of the team, which has been great. Now, I feel comfortable and all I have toworry about is playing.”
The opening interaction was the first of many between Martinand a group that would both challenge and welcome him over the comingdays. Moments after a drill last week,Brandon McDonald didn’t hesitate to remind the 17-year-old about the value oflate possession following an ill-timed turnover. The next day, Ben Olsen and Chad Ashton spenttime after practice hitting balls to the native of Chevy Chase, Maryland.
“When you aren’t playing with professionals you don’t thinkthat fast and you might not do all the right things,” Martin acknowledged thisweek. “But when you are playing withthese guys it forces you to think and really makes you a better player.”
The knowledge gained during his time in a professional environmentwill benefit Martin greatly in the immediate future. Before heading to ACC-powerWake Forestin the fall, the Bethesda-Chevy Chase High Schoolproduct will travel to the Milk Cup in Northern Ireland with the Under-20U.S. National Team.
The tournament, held in late July, will feature some of theworld’s top young talent and - after training with him for the past week - D.C.’splayers expect Martin to hold his own.
“You can see he has a lot of quality and a lot of upside,”said McDonald. “If you look at his play,he is ahead of his time. [The coachingstaff] put him out here for a reason and that is for us to help him.”
“These kids are the future of the club,” added De Rosario. “The more that we can get them to come up andexperience what it is like to practice with the first team, the more it createsa competitive environment in the youth ranks. Everyone will want to earn their chance.”