Washington, D.C. - D.C. United’s Youth Academy opened March with a successful weekend in South Carolina as the U-16 squad claimed the Charleston Cup title with a 3-1 victory over the Chicago Fire, while the U-18 team was runner-up, falling in the final to Chicago 2-1. Both finals were played on Sunday, March 6 at Blackbaud Stadium, home to United Soccer Leagues club Charleston Battery.
United’s U-16 side was led to victory in the final by goal scorers Yaw Amankwa, Collin Martin, and Kennedy O’Shea. Amankwa also had a hand in advancing the Black-and-Red to the final by scoring a late goal in the semifinal against North Meck to tie the match, 1-1. United rode the late momentum into penalties and advanced, 4-3.A stellar performance from Iyassu Bekele helped the U-18 team to their runner-up finish as he accounted for all of United’s goals on the weekend. Bekele tallied two goals in United’s semifinal win against North Meck with an assist coming from the boot of Julian Griggs. Bekele scored again in the final, but his efforts were not enough to overturn a 2-1 defeat to Chicago.
United has also received positive national news regarding two of its Academy players, as Cody Albrecht (Dematha Catholic) and Joey Wilkins (Gonzaga) have received nominations for the Gatorade National Player of the Year Award. Both Albrecht and Wilkins have won the Maryland and Washington D.C. Gatorade Player of the Year award in their regions, respectively.
Albrecht, a midfielder, is headed for St. John’s University in the fall, while defender Wilkins will play for Loyola University Maryland. The last Black-and-Red player to win the Gatorade National Player of the Year was Alecko Eskandarian in 2000. The 2011 Gatorade National Player of the Year is scheduled to be announced on May 16.