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.
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.
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.
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.