Season update: The D.C. United U18 squad stormed through the group stage of the U.S. Soccer Development Academy Play-offs this past week in Greensboro, NC, compiling a 3-0-0 record with a plus-12 goal differential en route to earning a spot in the finals.
United opened the play-offs with a convincing 4-1 victory over Sockers FC and followed up the win with a 4-0 thrashing of FC Westchester. The U18s then capped off the weekend with another dominating performance, defeating LAFC Chelsea 5-0. By winning their group, the Black-and-Red booked a ticket to Carson, CA, for the finals from July 10-17 at The Home Depot Center.
“It was a very impressive and productive event for D.C. United,” said United Director of Youth Development John Maessner. “The 18s are in great form and playing extremely polished as we head into Finals. Andy Najar was one of our best players and is still only 15 years old! Our younger team played very well and has progressed nicely over the last couple weeks as we finish up preparations for the MLS U17 Cup.”
While the U16s didn’t qualify for the playoffs, they traveled to North Carolina as well to take on several teams in friendlies. The Black-and-Red earned a 2-0 win on June 26, beating Virginia Rush on goals from Noah Merlin and Yaw Amankwa. United dropped its next game, a 2-1 loss, to FC Greater Boston on June 28. Amankwa scored United’s only goal. The team finished up its set of friendlies the next day with a 4-1 thumping of South Central Premier. United got goals from Merlin, Steven Mashinski, Marcus Salandy-Defour and Dallas Aminzadeh.
“Our U16 team showed a great deal of growth in the areas of mastering a new formation as well as implementing a cohesive defensive unit,” said U16 Interim Coach Desmond Armstrong. “They attacked well as a collective group and I was especially pleased with the way the players performed in positions that they were not accustomed to with a different formation.”
U17 MLS Cup: The D.C. United U17 team will compete in this year’s MLS SUM U17 Cup from July 3-8 in Denver, CO. The Black-and-Red is looking to reclaim the title after winning the 2007 championship, but falling in the 2008 final. United’s opponents in the first round group stage will be the Colorado Rapids, Los Angeles Galaxy and Kansas City Wizards. The champion will go on to play in the prestigious Quixote Trofeo, the U17 Clubs World Cup, in Madrid, Spain and face youth teams from some of the world’s top international clubs.
“Our goal is to make it back to Spain and be more successful there than we were 2 years ago,” said Maessner. “This group has the potential to do great things.”
U16 and U18 Academy Tryouts: In an effort to identify the best youth players in the Washington D.C. area, the D.C. United Academy will be holding tryouts for the U16 and U18 Academy teams throughout the summer. Tryout dates are scheduled for July 28-30 and August 11-13. Sessions will be held at RFK Stadium’s Auxiliary Turf Field. Further details are available at www.dcunited.com/academy.
U15 Academy Developmental Training Program: Specifically designed for the area’s most talented ‘93’s-‘97’s, the program will allow coaches to identify, evaluate and prepare players for the upcoming Academy year. There will be training sessions from 4-5:30 p.m. at the RFK Auxiliary Turf field every Wednesday and Friday until August 8. Additional details are available at www.dcunited.com/academy.
Residential Elite Camp: D.C. United is hosting an intensive four-day residential camp that is geared toward competitive players committed to playing soccer at the highest level. The 2009 Elite Residential Academy uses a curriculum consisting of the same coaching methods as the professional and Academy teams at D.C. United. The residential camp is being held July 30-August 2 at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. Campers will stay in the residence dorms on CUA’s campus. There is a camp fee of $575, including a $100 non-refundable deposit. Registration can be completed at www.dcunited.com/academy or by calling 202-587-5468.
Other Academy Summer Camps include the Half-Day camp (for recreational and competitive players 5-14 years old), the Full-Day camp (for competitive and serious soccer players 8-14 years old), the High School Preseason camp (for high school players with aspirations to play college soccer) and the Striker and Goalkeeper camp (for serious soccer players 8-14 years old). More information, including schedules and how to register for all camps, can be found at www.dcunited.com/academy
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