D.C. United U-16s to face Real Madrid youth

WASHINGTON, DC (April 1, 2009) - The D.C. United Academy will face youth sides from some of the biggest international clubs, including Spain’s Real Madrid, as part of the third annual Tiffany Trophy Cup, held in Washington DC from April 4-11. The U16 squad will face the Spanish powerhouse’s youth team on Saturday, April 4 at 4:30 p.m., taking the field at RFK Stadium before the first team faces the Houston Dynamo.

“We are very much looking forward to playing against some of the top youth programs in the world over the next several days,” said United’s Director of Youth Development John Maessner. “The goal of our program ultimately, is to develop players who will one day be able to help our first teams success. Games like the ones we will play vs. Real Madrid and Deportivo Saprissa will challenge our players to push themselves and play at a much higher level than they are used to during our regular season matches.”

This invitation-only tournament, which pits youth teams from the best international clubs against local American talent, will be played in several metro Washington DC venues including RFK Stadium, Georgetown University and Trinity College.

Featured in this year’s tournament are youth teams from the Blackburn Rovers (England), Deportivo Saprissa (Costa Rica), Chivas (Mexico), and Real Madrid (Spain). Joining them will be Maryland and Virginia teams Freestate (Bowie, Md.), Great Falls A ’91 Elite (Great Falls, Va.), Pachuca FC USA Internationals (Potomac, Md.), and the D.C. United Academy U16 team.

“This is a great chance for our players to play in our home stadium and get a real feel of what it is like to be a pro and play in front of your home crowd,” Maessner added. “I’m confident we will show well and that it will be an enjoyable experience for all of our players and staff.”

Tickets for the April 4 game are now available though D.C. United (202-587-5000) and will allow access to both the Academy and the first team games.

Results: The D.C. United Academy continued its season over the weekend, taking on PDA and Match Fit. The U16s rebounded from a loss on Saturday to take their Sunday game, while the U18s came away from the weekend undefeated.

“It was another great weekend for our program,” said Maessner. “We played some very good soccer and progressed as a club over the four matches. We are looking forward to our international matches against Real Madrid and Saprissa next week. It will be great to have U17 National team players, Julio Arjona and Shaq Phillips, back with us for our game against Real Madrid on April 4th in RFK Stadium.”

While Saturday saw the U16s fall 2-0 to PDA, Sunday fared better for the Black-and-Red youth. A brace from forward Noah Merlin led the way in the U16s 3-1 victory over Match Fit on Sunday. After setting up one of Merlin’s goals, forward Iyassu Bekele added a tally of his own, finding the net after a goalmouth scramble.

“Our U16 side performed extremely well over the recent two-game weekend in NJ,” said U16 Head Coach Richie Burke. “Although we spilt matches, we were by far the stronger team in both contests with some outstanding football being played by our boys over the course of the weekend. We have been thrilled with the progress of our U16 squad in terms of overall development and although a few results have not gone in our favor, we have been universally accepted in the USSF Development Academy as side that plays attractive, attacking soccer and a team filled with very talented individual players. The team is committed to make further progress in terms of tactical growth and a greater appreciation of defending within the team's structure - two areas where we have fallen down of late. But make no mistake, this is a squad filled with very talented kids, who certainly represent our club's philosophy well and we firmly believe that we are all on the right track.”

Midfielder John Ciampa was the star for the U18s this weekend, scoring four goals in two games. In Saturday’s 4-2 win over PDA, Ciampa scored two while forwards Chris Hegngi and Paul Torres added one each. Ciampa then went on to score both tallies on Sunday to lead his team to a 2-0 victory over Match Fit.

“Getting six points against two great clubs was the goal and we met that,” said U18 coach Judah Cooks. “We asked them to apply our system through out the weekend and for the most part that's what we did. It’s always a learning situation at this age, and I think we learned what works for us and how to make our soccer even better in the future.”

Broadcasting and P.A. Request: When speaking of the organization, please refer to the team as either “D.C. United” or “United,” but not “the D.C. United” or “the United.” We appreciate your cooperation.

Doug Hicks, dhicks@dcunited.com, (202) 587-5448,
Boris Flores, bflores@dcunited.com, (202) 587-5452,
Kyle Sheldon, ksheldon@dcunited.com, (202) 587-5450 or
Cristina Cruz, ccruz@dcunited.com, (202) 587-5440