(Matt Visinsky/Dallas Cup)
I have people ask me a lot about the Academy and what's up with the young guys from time to time. I haven't given a big update on what's going on at World Cup Way for awhile so let's take a look at how the young guns are doing and what's up next for the #1 ranked Academy in the country. First off, it's important to mention that Danny Garcia, Jon Top and Boyd Okwuono have just finished a successful week with the U20's. Travis Clark at Top Drawer Soccer has an excellent recap of the week and he talked to Garcia & Okwuono.
While results are not the most important thing in youth development, the older you get in age group, the more you start to pay attention to them and the FC Dallas U18s are simply put, running riot through the ultra-competitive Texas Division of the US Soccer Development Academy. After 18 of their 24 game conference schedule, FC Dallas is 16-1-1 with 60 goals scored and just 6 goals allowed. In their last three conference games, FCD is 3-0 with 16 goals scored and zero goals allowed. In fact, FCD U18s have not allowed a goal in their last 7 Texas Division games.
The defensive unit of Mark Ashby(Harvard), Alex Frankenfeld(2013 grad), Aaron Guillen(Florida-Gulf Coast) and Nick Rochowski(New Mexico) has proven to be as strong a unit as there is in the USSDA. In attack, I think most readers of the site will be pretty familiar with Danny Garcia who has 17 goals in 18 starts, but its Jose De La Tejera that has come on as of late. The big, bulky Mexican forward has scored 12 goals in just 15 games(7 starts) and was pretty impressive at Dallas Cup.
The U18s have six games left before the USSDA playoffs and they have an enormous game against Solar Chelsea at FCD Stadium on Saturday afternoon at 3PM. With a win, FC Dallas will clinch their third straight Texas Division U18 title(it may be more than that but the standings only go back to 2009-2010).
U16s after the jump
After a rough start to the season, the U16s are really beginning to hit form. They suffered a heartbreaking Dallas Cup quarterfinal penalty kick defeat to eventual champions Rot Weiss Essen of Germany and are just now getting back captain and midfield destroyer Kellyn Acosta, back from a broken wrist.
After an atypical 2-3-1 start to the season, the U16s have recovered very well to sit second in the Texas Division, ten points behind leaders Dallas Texans with six games to play. They're 5-0-1 in their last six Texas Division games and right in the thick of the fight for a USSDA playoff spot. Like the U18's, they have an absolutely enormous game on Saturday against Solar Chelsea who they are tied for second in the division with.
I haven't gotten nearly as good a look at the U16s as I have from the U18s, but the biggest name to watch on this team is Kellyn Acosta. The U17 World Cup starter for the United States has been moved from his outside back position to defensive midfield and I was extremely impressed in the game I saw him play there about a month ago. He's a ball winning midfielder with great vision and passing skills while his eight goals is second on the team. He's really on another level than most players out there and that's not a dig on anyone else, simply a credit to Acosta's skills.
For both academies, now is crunch time as the posturing begins in seeding for the USSDA playoffs which will take place in Frisco, June 25-29th.