Academy Update: New season opens with offensive flood

Teams to dedicate 2011-12 season to memory of former teammate, Academy graduate Jose Perez

FRISCO, Texas – The FC Dallas Academy and Pre Academy teams started their respective seasons off strong last weekend, with all five teams winning their games and outscoring their Classics Elite counterparts 31-1 on the day. The U-18s won 3-1, the U-16s won 7-0, the U-15s won 8-0, the U-14s won 7-0, and the U-13s won 6-0 in San Antonio.

“The boys performed very well [last Sunday],” said Academy Director Oscar Pareja. “Some of our boys have been in this program for several years now, but for the younger players and new players, it is very encouraging to have such great results.”

The youngest team’s 6-0 victory was highlighted by a pair of braces scored by U-13 Pre Academy players Duncan James and Brandon Pike. The U-14’s 7-0 win featured a hat trick by Weston McKennie and a brace by Christian Ramirez, both of whom have participated in U.S. Youth National Team camps. And the U-15 Pre Academy team’s 8-0 rout saw a pair of hat tricks scored by Sebastian Gordillo and Livano Salas as well as a brace scored by Brent Mandelkorn.

“The boys have dealt with extreme adversity the past two weeks, and they have been able to turn that hardship off of the field into focus on the field,” said Pre-Academy Director Chris Hayden. “[Last] weekend showed us that not only can we overcome adversity as a team, but we can also play attractive soccer and get results.”

The U-16 Academy team posted a 7-0 win thanks to three braces by Zach Dunbar, Aaron Meyer and Ilya Dmitriakov and a fifth minute golazo scored off a 35-yard free kick by U.S. U-17 Residency graduate Kellyn Acosta.

The U-18 Academy team won their season opener 3-1 after Home Grown forward Jonathan Top scored a brace in the first half and second half substitute Bobby Edet tacked on a third in the 70th minute. Classics Elite player John Villarreal pulled one back in the 72nd minute, but FCD held on to preserve the 3-1 victory.

“We are very proud of [our players],” said Pareja. “They came together after what has been an incredibly difficult time and were able to perform very well on the field. It makes us optimistic that we are going in the right direction for the season ahead.”

The Academy games were originally scheduled for Saturday, September 17, but were rescheduled for Sunday to allow the players to attend funeral services for their friend and former teammate, Jose Perez. Perez, a talented midfielder who was an inaugural member of the FCD Academy program, passed away last Tuesday, September 13 in a car accident on his way to practice at San Jacinto College in Houston.

“It’s important to all of us to honor Jose,” said forward Jonathan Top. “No one loved this game more than he did. He was so skilled and had so much potential.”

Top had been Perez’s teammate for the past three seasons with the FC Dallas Academy.

“Being on the field with him made you a better player,” Top continued. “We all were just shocked and devastated by the loss. But we played for him [last Sunday], and we will dedicate this season to his memory and, God willing, this will be an even better season than last.”

The teams are back in action this weekend, as they take on Andromeda FC at Russell Creek Soccer Complex Saturday (Academy) and Sunday (Pre Academy).

Scoring Summaries:

U-18 Academy:
Top, Jonathan (2) - 17', 20'
Edet, Bobby - 70'

U-16 Academy:
Acosta, Kellyn - 5'
Dunbar, Zachary (2) - 11', 31'
Meyer, Aaron (2) - 39', 79'
Dmitriakov, Ilya (2) - 51', 73'

U-15 Pre Academy:
Gordillo, Sebastian (3)
Salas, Livano (3)
Mandelkorn, Brent (2)

U-14 Pre Academy:
Ramirez, Christian (2)
McKennie, Weston (3)
Najera, Jessi
Tapia, Richard

U-13 Pre Academy:
James, Duncan (2)
Pike, Brandon (2)
Granillo, Benji
Gerondale, Alex