The D.C. United Academy U-18 team will play in the Development Academy championship match tonight against Carmel United at the Home Depot Center in Carson, California. The match will be broadcast live on ESPN Classic and ESPN360.com at 10 p.m. ET.
U.S. Soccer Communications put together a ton of great notes on both teams, so if you're planning to watch the game tonight, you'll want to read up..
WINNERS TO BE CROWNED ON ESPN CLASSIC: D.C. United Academy and Carmel United are set for the U-17/18 Development Academy championship match on Thursday, July 16, at 7 p.m. PT. For the second consecutive year, the Development Academy season will finish on a high note during as the final will be broadcast live on ESPN Classic and ESPN360.com from U.S. Soccer's National Training Center at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. Soccer America’s Ridge Mahoney and U.S. U-20 Men’s National Team head coach Thomas Rongen will be providing commentary for the game.
- A total of 10 out of the 20 players on this year’s U-17/18 Carmel United squad were on of the team that won the inaugural U-15/16 championship last year.
- Midfielder AJ Corrado, who is still age-eligible for the U-15/16 age group, was part of that championship squad and netted the game winner in the 2008 final.
- Andy Najar leads all scorers at Finals Week with four goals, while two other D.C. players have two each, Michael Funes and Chris Hegngi.
- Born in 1993, Najar is also the youngest player in the U-17/18 age group of Finals Week.
- Carmel has two players born in 1992 - Austin Oldham and Corrado – while D.C. has five – Julio Arjona, Samir Badr, Sam Bradley, Myles McGinley, Shaquille Phillips and Nicky Yin.
- Every player playing in the U-17/18 division of the Development Academy Finals is age-eligible to participate in the 2009 FIFA U-20 World Cup.
- Hegngi entered the match against PDA in the 47th minute. By the 50th minute he had scored what would be the game winning goal and also added a 66th minute tally.
- Until IMG notched a seventh-minute goal on Tuesday evening, Carmel United had not allowed a goal in 291 minute of Finals Week play.
- Carmel United’s James and Jeremy Vollmer are the only siblings playing in the final.
- D.C. United suffered only four losses during the regular season, with its 20-4-5 record earning them a No. 6 seed at Academy Playoffs.
- D.C was one of three Major League Soccer Academies represented at Finals Week, along with FC Dallas U-15/16 and New York Red Bulls U-17/18.
- Three D.C. players have experience as part of U.S. Soccer’s Under-17 Residency Program. Arjona, Badr and Phillips have each spent two semesters in Bradenton, Fla.
- Two D.C. United Academy players – Paul Torres and Ethan White – will be enrolling at the University of Maryland in the fall.
- The 40 goals scored at Finals Week in the U-17/18 age group were from 27 different goal scorers.