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February 7, 2013
USL Next Gen, Development Academy roundup

United Soccer Leagues has accepted three more clubs into the Next Generation Series. Knoxville Soccer Academy, Southern Soccer Academy and Atlanta Fire United are the newest members of the youth development partnership between the league and IMG Academy.

The 2013 Next Gen Series format will consist of U12 and U14 boys and girls teams participating in an eight-month season, including two evaluation/competition events at IMG, beginning in August and culminating in April.

“Our players will certainly benefit from the plan set in place by the NGS program,” SSA Director of Soccer Steve Gummer said. “The fact that the program is being run by market leaders makes us very excited, and we are glad to be part of this new venture from the very beginning.”

Three of Southern Soccer Academy's teams attended the 2012 Super Y-League North American Finals at IMG Academy, with the U16 boys winning the national championship as forward Tyler Edwards took home the Golden Boot award.

During the past two seasons, Atlanta Fire United has qualified eight teams for the Super Y-League North American Finals, with two of the teams taking the title.

“The emphasis at our younger age groups is to teach them how to play before we teach them to compete,” Atlanta Fire United Director of Operations Mark Mackain said. “We would rather lose by four goals while learning to play from the back than to win by a toe ball from midfield. The NGS is targeting clubs with similar philosophies and expectations, making games more enjoyable to coach, play and watch. Player development is achieved at the club level. However, we believe it's sustained with meaningful games against quality competition at the league level.”

U.S. Development Academy
The San Jose Earthquakes U-18s defeated Crossfire Premier 2-0 on Saturday, then dropped a 3-0 decision to Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Sunday at Danville’s Mustang Soccer Complex. Tren Ray Biswell and Emilio Rey Hurtado scored goals for the squad in their 2-0 win. San Jose remains atop the West Conference standings with a 10-5-0 record, five points ahead of Whitecaps FC.

San Jose’s U-16s drew 1-1 against Crossfire Premier on Saturday and knocked off Vancouver Whitecaps FC 3-2 on Sunday at Danville’s Mustang Soccer Complex. After falling behind early against Crossfire Premier, San Jose’s Amir Bashti equalized in the 30th minute to preserve a point. The next day, San Jose pulled ahead with a sixth-minute strike from Joshua Totte, and found the lead again after an own goal with a finish from Alex Liua in the 32nd minute. Vancouver rallied again and equaled at the hour mark, but Jonathan Portillo broke through with the game winner in the 78th as the squad improved to 5-6-4 on the year.

Kory Kisling scored two goals and Cal Odyssey’s U-15/16 team defeated the Vancouver Whitecaps 3-0 last Saturday in Northwest Division action. Cal Odyssey improved to 4-9-2, and the shutout was the team’s third of the season. Gabriel Velazquez also contributed a goal for Cal Odyssey.

Texans SC Houston’s U-15/16 team extended its unbeaten streak to seven games with a strong 4-0 victory over the Dallas Texans on Saturday. Jackson Shelledy and Bryce Marion each tallied a brace to account for the scoring. Texans SC Houston is 6-0-1 during this unbeaten stretch, outscoring the opposition 19-1. For the season, the team is 9-3-3 in the tightly contested Frontier Division.

North Carolina Fusion’s Donovan Japp scored his 13th and 14th goals of the season as the Fusion posted a 3-1 win against Chargers Soccer Club and a 2-1 victory against IMG Academy to extend its winning streak to four games. Japp has accounted for a whopping 70 percent of North Carolina Fusion’s offense this season.

The LA Galaxy U-18’s (8-2-2 overall) suffered their second loss of the season last Saturday, falling 1-0 away from home against Real So Cal. Mar Verso scored for Real So Cal in the 81st minute.

The Galaxy U-16’s snapped a three-game losing streak on Saturday, playing to a wild 3-3 draw with Real So Cal. Rolando Muñoz gave LA a 1-0 lead in the 13th minute, only to see Real answer nine minutes later on the first of two goals by Eric Calvillo. Real So Cal went in front for the first time on a goal by Carlos Gonzalez in the 64th minute, only for the Galaxy to equalize a minute later with a goal from Christian Chavez. In the 78th minute, Real So Cal's Calvillo appeared to have scored the game-winning goal, but LA once again fought back, scoring a minute later through Taylor Takada to claim a 3-3 draw. The goal was the first of the season for Takada, who had entered the game as a substitute midway through the second half.

The Galaxy U-16’s are now 2-5-5 for 11 points on the season while Real So Cal are now 8-4-2.

Fully funded
The Colorado Rapids announced that the club’s top competitive youth teams, which participate in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy, will be fully funded by the club starting in the 2013-14 season. The Rapids’ program also will expand to include a Development Academy team at the U-14 level in addition to the existing U-16 and U-18 sides, with all administrative, coaching, facilities, equipment, travel and other costs covered by the club.

Three Colorado Rapids youth players, Davy Armstrong, Shane O’Neill and Dillon Serna, have been signed to the first team as Homegrown Players.

Futsal Invitationals
U.S. Soccer, in partnership with Nike, will host two youth futsal invitational events in March and April as part of a new initiative in the development of elite U.S. youth players.

The first event will be held from March 1-3 at the Competitive Edge Sports Complex in King of Prussia, Pa., and will feature the U-13/14 boys' teams from the top clubs in the area.

The west coast event will be held April 19-24 at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., and will feature U-13/14 boys' and girls' teams from the top clubs in Southern California. Similar to the east coast event, coaches will be required to participate in a futsal symposium led by U.S. Futsal team coach Keith Tozer, and local officials will have an opportunity to participate in a futsal certification clinic in Los Angeles.

NSCAA High School Players of the Week
Laura Marcantel, a senior forward at St. Joseph’s Academy (Baton Rouge, La.) and Will Keegan, a junior midfielder at Pensacola Catholic High School (Pensacola, Fla.) have been selected as the NSCAA High School Players of the Week.

Marcantel was vital in St. Joseph’s push to finish as the top team during the regular season. The senior forward scored the winning goals in her last two matches, both in the final 10 minutes of each match. The senior forward finished the regular season with 17 goals – five of them game-winners -- and three assists.

Keegan led Pensacola Catholic High School to the District 1-2A championship with a goal and two assists in the championship game. The junior midfielder was key in the team’s 3-1 regional semifinal victory with a goal and an assist.

Keegan finished the regular season with 24 goals and four assists through 23 games.

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