Academy Season Kicks Off: D.C. United’s Academy teams opened their season last weekend with both the U16s and U18s in action against Oakwood SC and South Central Premier in Connecticut. The U18 squad came from behind to win both matches, while the U16s went 0-1-1 to begin the year.
“For our first trip and first games of the new Academy year with the new group of players we have, it was overall a good trip for our program,” said United’s Director of Youth Development John Maessner. “We obviously want to continue to be better and sharper on all aspects of our game and build on what we have done over the last 10 weeks of pre-season. We look forward to playing three very good clubs at the Academy Winter Showcase to help evaluate where we are and where we need to improve.”
The U18s rode an impressive opener by Michael Funes, who tallied a goal and an assist to lead the team to a 2-1 victory over Oakwood SC. Harold Tchameni’s 86th minute goal capped the win for the U18 team. The following day Connor Shanosky, assisted by Myles McGinley, and KC Onyeador catapulted the squad to a 2-1 come-from-behind victory over South Central.
“We are very excited about the charatcter shown by coming back both days from one goal down and getting six points,” noted U18 Head Coach Judah Cooks. “Connor Shanosky showed how he can develop into not only a great player but a great leader. Kevin McBride and Mike Funes also showed that they are determined to make this season a special one as well.”
The U16s did not fare as well over the course of their opening weekend. The squad settled for a 0-0 tie to Oakwood SC, but fell 3-2 to South Central Premier. Marcus Salandy-Defour scored an opening goal in the 20th minute and was taken down in the box leading to a penalty kick in the 36th. Yaw Amankwa converted the PK for a 2-1 lead, but the U16s could not hold on as South Central rallied for goals in the 50th and 65th minute.
“With many new players playing for D.C. United for the first time, anxiety was a big factor on the players’ ability to perform at the expected level,” said Roberto DaSilva, U16 Head Coach. “We need to settle in now and work to play to our potential. We have a very talented group and are expecting lots of good things. We hope that our boys will learn from our first games and turn in strong performances at the Academy Winter Showcase.”
The Academy teams will now turn its focus to the Academy Winter Showcase in Phoenix, AZ from December 3-7, where they will play Real SoCal, Chicago Magic and the Columbus Crew Academy. Four Black-and-Red youth will also be playing in the Academy Select matches while in Arizona: U18 player Michael Funes and U16 players Collin Martin, Cody Neidermeier and Jalen Robinson.
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