Academy Finals: The D.C. United Academy U18 squad capped off a great season by reaching the US Soccer Development Academy Finals in Carson, CA, this week, going 2-1-0 in the competition’s group stage to earn a spot in the final. United will take on Carmel United on Thursday night, July 16, in the tournament’s championship game. The match will be shown live on ESPN Classic at 7 p.m.
The Black-and-Red began the tournament with a 3-1 opening match win over Chelsea FC Academy on Friday, with Andy Najar striking for a first half hat-trick. United’s scoring touch did not carry over to the team’s second game, however, a 1-0 loss on Sunday at the hands of Real Colorado.
United entered its final game needing a win to have a shot at advancing to the championship. The Black-and-Red left no doubt in the team’s final group stage match, drubbing PDA 5-1 and earning a spot in the final. Michael Funes and Chris Hegngi led United with two goals apiece in the offensive outburst, while Najar added extra insurance to push the Black-and-Red onto the final.
“It was a great game from our boys,” United Director of Youth Development, John Maessner said. “We’re very happy to be in the final.”
“The boys deserve to be in the final,” said Head Coach Judah Cooks. “They have worked very hard and are an extremely talented and special group. We are very proud of our players and excited to end the season on a very high note Thursday night on live national television.”
U20 Team: The Academy U20 team currently sits on top of the USL Super 20 League’s Mid-Atlantic Group B with a 7-0-1 record. In its most recent game, the Black-and-Red earned a 3-2 victory over the Jersey Knights, who sit fourth place in the standings. Levi Houapeu notched a hat trick for the Black-and-Red, giving him nine goals in five games for United. United has already clinched passage to the National USL Super 20s tournament, which will be held in Chicago from July 30-Aug. 2. During qualification thus far, United have scored 30 goals while only conceding six.
“If we can keep all our key players fit and travel with our strongest squad we will have a great chance of succeeding at Nationals in Chicago, our goal scoring ability will be key to our potential success,” Head Coach Dafydd Evans said.
Academy accolades: US Soccer Development Academy has recognized a few D.C. United players for their performances during the 2008-2009 season. Defender Ethan White and midfielders Paul Torres were both named to the East Conference U17/18 Starting XI, while midfielder Andy Najar was named to the East Conference U15/16 Starting XI.
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 28-29 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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