As a little bonus to our college and academy recap this week, I got a chance to chat with FCD assistant coach Marco Ferruzzi about how Dallas tracks their academy players in the college game. It's a good, informative read.
I'm curious to know how the Academy graduates like OC(Okwuono), Jack Coleman, Bradlee Baladez, candidates for homegrown contracts with the first team in the future, are tracked by your staff. Is it using Schellas' and Barry's relationships with long-time college coaches, getting videos of their games or how do you track these guys during the year?
It's a little bit of both. It's obviously conversations with the coaches, were fortunate enough to send our academy players to some very strong universities. We're scouting all of those universities and getting prepared for the draft which gives us an opportunity to see them in action, follow up with some of the boys who have moved on a little earlier like Bradlee Baladez at South Carolina, London Woodberry at Maryland, so the ACC obviously we cover very strongly, as well as the Big 10 where Jack(Coleman) is playing at Indiana.
These are all schools that we keep tabs on all the time, we've got good relationships with the coaches so we get to see and hear what's goin on with them. Again, like I said fortunately they're at some big schools where they're on TV, we're going to their conference tournaments, they're getting exposure and even as simple as checking to see if they were in the lineup the last couple of weeks.
We do it remotely but at this point in the year we're starting to go out on our scouting trips so we'll be at the tournaments looking at them first hand.
So after the season is over it's you and Drew(Keeshan) and others going out to these tournaments?
Exactly, we've all shared the work and like I said we're looking at seniors, and underclassmen that may be moving out of college early. We have an opportunity to check on our own players as well a kid like Bradlee comes back during the summer to train with us and they're able to show some stuff in a couple of weeks working with us that we're not necessarily able to see in their college environment. So when they come in here and adapt into our training environment, we get to pick up a little more about their progress as well.
With guys like OC and Jack, we've seen them in reserve games and they're not out of place but obviously it's better to send them to college and have them play games and develop rather than sitting on the bench here...
Absolutely, I think the college game is very beneficial for a number of reasons. Primarily they're going to get physically stronger there, they're going to get games, the process of learning that goes on there in the soccer environment and off the field as well is extremely important for the professional athlete. They just kind of come out with more tools.
The professional game is a very competitive field and the more tools these guys get coming out of college the better they are equipped to deal with some of these things. The college game is different from the pro game, absolutely correct no brainer, but some people feel that cutting around college gets you there quicker and that's not always the case. So they're getting games, a soccer education as well and they're getting an education that will help them dealing with the life of being a professional.
Jump for the full college/academy week in review
Bradlee Baladez(Forward) - University of South Carolina Sophomore (2 GOALS) After a rough start, Baladez and the Gamecocks are turning things on with 4 straight wins. Baladez is certainly the player of the week with game-winning goals in 2 consecutive games USC defeated UAB 2-0 on Tuesday and beat Tulsa 2-1 last Friday night. Bradlee leads the team in goals with 4 in 10 games. Look out for this kid in a couple of years. I'd be
Damian Rosales(Midfielder) - SMU Sophomore - (GOAL) Rosales scored his second goal of the season in SMU's 4-2 loss to UCF last Friday night. He has a goal and an assist in 10 games this year. Rosales played 90 minute last night in SMU's huge 2-1 road win at Tulsa
Jamie Ibarra(Goalkeeper) - SMU Sophomore It was an up and down week for Ibarra as he gave up 4 goals in the loss to UCF, but made 7 saves in their 2-1 defeat of Tulsa yesterday. Coach Tim McClements had some great things to say about him after the game.
"Jaime was unbelievable," McClements said. "He was the man of the match without a doubt. He had several point blank saves and kept us in the game."
London Woodberry(Defense) - University of Maryland Junior Woodberry and the Terps solidified their credentials as the best team in the country, topping #2 and undefeated Creighton last weekend with London Woodberry going 90 minutes in the 1-0 win. On Tuesday night, Woodberry and Maryland beat Rutgers 2-1 in overtime with Woodberry playing all 97 minutes. UM has 6 games left before their conference tournament in this undefeated season.
Daniel Premenko(Defender - Creighton Sophomore Creighton rebounded from their loss to Maryland to beat Wisconsin. Premenko has not featured this season.
Boyd "OC" Okwuono(Defender) - University of North Carolina Freshman Two more wins for #3 UNC over Duke and UNC Ashville and two more starts for OC who has started all 11 games in defense as a freshman for the Tar Heels. It'll be a couple of years to wait for this kid to play with FCD, but he's another slam dunk provided he doesn't go the Europe route.
Jacob Gerondale(Defender) - IPFW Redshirt Freshman It looks like Gerondale has broken into the starting lineup as he started his second and third games in a row for the surging Mastodons. IPFW won both their games last week against Central Arkansas and Oral Roberts.
Jack Coleman(Defender/Midfielder) - Indiana Freshman The Hoosiers crashed to earth this weekend losing 2-0 to Wisconsin and 3-2 to Louisville. Coleman did not play in either game, you wonder if he's redshirting this season.
Chris Figueroa(Midfielder - SMU Sophomore Ineligible due to transferring from NC State
Skylar Hagan(Outside midfielder) - Old Dominon Freshman ODU had a nice weekend beating Delaware 2-0 and VCU 4-0 though Hagan did not play in either match. After starting last week, he likely picked up some sort of injury.
Byron Knowles(Defender) - Lubbock Christian Freshman Knowles has started all nine games this season for the Chaps, registering one goal and one assist from his left back position.
It may be a new year with a very new-look team for the U18 Academy, but the results are staying the same. FCD U18's moved to 3-0 on the young season with a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Lonestar SC of Austin. The defense was the story in this one holding the Lonestar wonderkid forward Kekuteh Manneh off the scoreboard while Flavio Guzman scored the game-winner for the U18's.
The U16's stumbled to their first loss of the season dropping a 2-0 result to Lonestar.
This weekend is a huge one for the academy as they entertain city rivals Dallas Texans at Pizza Hut Park on Saturday afternoon. These are can't-miss games if you've got nothing else going on this weekend. The U18 game I caught between Texans and FCD last year was some of the best youth soccer you're going to see in the country. They play at PHP 2PM kickoff for the U18s and 430 for the U16s this Saturday afternoon.