D.C. United today announced that two members of D.C. United’s Academy U-16s team have been named to the U.S. Soccer Development Academy (USSDA) U-15/16 East Conference Starting XI for 2012-13. Additionally, the D.C. United U-23s ended its 2013 National Premier League Season (NPSL) with a 2-1 victory over CASL Elite.
Defender Steven Gandy (Gainesville, Va.; Prince William Soccer Inc.) and forward Gerson Umana (Lorton, Va.; Prince William Soccer Inc.) were selected to the USSDA U-16s’ Starting XI in recognition of honoring the Academy principles of dedication, effort and integrity in awards that have been voted on since the Academy’s inaugural season in 2007-08. The accolades were overseen by the U.S. Soccer Technical Advisors. Umana led the D.C. United U-16s in scoring with 18 goals last season in his 28 appearances (26 starts), and was named as one of three forwards in the East Conference Starting XI. Meanwhile, Gandy is in his third year with United and is one of the four defenders in the XI.
“This past year’s group was an exciting one in terms of the fast style of play,” said D.C. United U-16 Head Coach Tom Torres. “Many players were deserving of awards, but both Steven and Gerson were dedicated to training for the entire year and showed their quality during matches. We are happy for and proud of both players, and this type of honor is a testament to the work that the players and staff put in for the entire 10-month season.”
D.C. United’s U-16s (16-7-5) enjoyed a highly successful USSDA season, finishing third in the East Conference Atlantic Division. Umana was the team’s top goalscorer with 18 goals, followed by Christophe Koffi (Potomac, Md.; Team America Premier) and Graydon Hester (Middleburg, Va.; Lee Mt. Vernon) with 10 apiece. Umana’s 18 goals were enough for him to finish tied for third-most goals in the East Conference. The Lorton, Va., native’s hat trick against FC DELCO on April 20 also earned him USSDA Player of the Week. The team’s strong regular-season form was enough for them to qualify as the 15th seed in the USSDA Playoffs, held in Frisco, TX from June 25-28. The Black-and-Red lost 4-2 to FC Bolts Celtic, 3-0 to Chicago Magic PSG and 2-1 to Solar Chelsea SC.
The Black-and-Red U-18s (18-7-3) also finished third in the East Conference Atlantic Division and reached the playoffs as the eighth seed. Jorge Calix (Alexandria, Va.; Team America Premier) led the team’s scoring with 11 goals, with support coming from Ian Harkes (Fairfax, Va.; Herndon Youth Soccer) and Denis Najar (Alexandria, Va.), who scored nine and eight goals respectively. Calix also led the team in appearances with 27 (23 starts), a tie for second-most games played among all players in the East Conference. The side traveled to Frisco, TX for the USSDA playoffs, which were held from June 24-27. The Black-and-Red lost its first game 1-0 to CASL Chelsea FC Academy, but went on to take a 2-2 draw against St. Louis Scott Gallagher Missouri and a 2-1 win over Real Salt Lake AZ thanks to an own goal and a game-winner in the 92nd minute from Michael Sauers (Glen Arm, Md.; Baltimore Bays Chelsea). Harkes and Sauers had also been honored earlier this year with selection to the 2012 NSCAA All-America High School Boys Team.
Lastly, the U-23s (4-3-1) concluded its NPSL season with a 2-1 away win over CASL Elite at the WRAL Soccer Center in Raleigh, NC. United went behind early but was quickly level as Uche Onyeador (Georgetown University) slotted home after latching onto a Tyler Rudy (Georgetown University) through-ball for his fourth goal of the season. In the second half, the Black-and-Red was awarded a penalty after Jannik Eckrendode (Radford University) was fouled, with Daniel Jackson (Coker College) converting from the spot for his seventh goal of the season. D.C. United finished joint-second alongside the Myrtle Beach Mutiny in the South Region Mid-Atlantic Division with 13 points.