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U-16’s feeling confident heading into 2012 USSDA National Championship

U-16 Academy Team begins the 2012 United States Soccer Development Academy National Championshi

D.C. United’s U-16 Academy Team has advanced to the 2012 USSDA National Championship in Houston, Texas after finishing undefeated in their playoff run in Dallas, Texas. The team finished in first place in Group 6, with victories against Concorde Fire and Colorado Rush, and a draw with the LA Galaxy. The team currently has an overall record of 17-7-6 (6-2-4 divisional record) and is led in scoring by Michael Seaton with 14 goals (Capitol Heights, Md.) and Nigel Robinson with 13 (Woodbridge, VA).

After defeating the Concorde Fire, and drawing with the LA Galaxy, D.C. United U-16’s needed a win against the Colorado Rush to advance to Nationals. The squad trailed 1-0 at halftime, but Head Coach Tom Torres settled the bunch, “You’ve got 40 minutes to put in the effort, let’s not let them work harder than you.” The squad responded with four second-half goals, securing a 4-2 victory, which Coach Torres described as “deserving of going to Houston for Nationals.”

One of the biggest struggles this season according to Coach Torres has been, “not always having players at games, and available for key moments during the season. We always had a week where players couldn’t make it: school conflicts, SAT’s, things came up. We were playing well, but whenever you can have your top group together, it allows them to perform very well. Our roster for Nationals is the top squad.”

Current D.C. United first-team members, goalkeeper Bill Hamid, defender Ethan White and midfielder Andy Najar all had the opportunity to represent the D.C. United U-18 Academy Team at USSDA Nationals, and Coach Torres feels this is a big step for the organization, “It’s a strong statement to show that we’re doing the correct things at D.C. United. In our academy, we are training the right things, we’re all on the same page. It’s a strong, quality, yet friendly environment. We want the best for our players. We expect a lot out of them.”

With the Championship game of the eight-team tournament occurring at the brand-new BBVA Compass Stadium, home of the Houston Dynamo, on July 23rd, Coach Torres is eager to keep his players focused on taking it one game at a time, “It would be a great opportunity for our players. The game against the Crew Soccer Academy Wolves is our first focus. The nice part about this tournament is after each match, you have a full day off before you play your next match. We are going to focus on the first group, then move on from there. No doubt that all of our players are thinking about making it to the final, and winning the first National Championship for D.C. United Academy Teams, but it’s our job as a staff to keep them focused on the game at hand.”

The squad will begin play on Tuesday, July 17th, when they take on Crew Soccer Academy Wolves at 9 p.m. ET on Field 3 of the Houston Amateur Sports Park. Below is a list of the team’s group-stage matches, as well as the 18-man roster traveling to Houston, Texas.

D.C. United U-16 Academy Team Finals Week Schedule:

  • Tuesday, July 17th, 9 p.m. ET v. Crew Soccer Academy Wolves U-15/U-16 (Houston Amateur Sports Park, Field 3)
  • Thursday, July 19th, 8 p.m. ET v. PA Classics U-15/U-16 (Houston Amateur Sports Park, Field 4)
  • Saturday, July 21st, 9 p.m. ET v. St. Louis Scott Gallagher Missouri U-15/U-16 (Houston Amateur Sports Park, Field 5)

U-16 Academy Roster for 2012 USSDA Nationals
Jorge Calix (Washington, Md.)
Carlos Canas (Woodbridge, Va.)
Suliaman Dainkeh (Reston, Va.)
James Doll (Bethesda, Md.)
Rafael Fagundo (Herndon, Va.)
Josh Golob (Potomac, Md.)
Ian Harkes (Fairfax, Va.)
Graydon Hester (Middleburg, Va.)
Christian Paul Kershaw (Severna Park, Md.)
Michael Antonio Monahan (Arlington, Va.)
Cristhyan Najar (Alexandria, Va.)
Doluwamu T Oyewole (Waldorf, Md.)
Robert R Palmer (Bethesda, Md.)
Sergio Reyes (Kensington, Md.)
Nigel Robinson (Woodbridge, Va.)
Michael Sauers (Glen Arm, Md.)
Michael Seaton (Capitol Heights, Md.)
Abdi M Yusuf (Herndon, Va.)

Academy Update presented by Korrio.

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