FRISCO – Despite 3,000 youth players, 78 youth squads, 14 MLS teams and five days of competition, the FC Dallas Academy U-17/18 and U-15/16 squads still managed to stand out from the crowd at the 2010 Development Academy Showcase in Phoenix, Arizona.
The two sides posted a combined 5-1 overall record, with the only loss coming in the U-16’s final match against Chivas USA. The U-18 squad was one of only two teams in their age division to win all three of their matches.
“It was very positive winning five out of the six games played,” said Oscar Pareja, director of player development and head coach of the U-18 side for FC Dallas. “The boys did a great job both on and off the field representing FC Dallas, but more important was the overall experience we received from playing other MLS Academy teams like San Jose and Chivas.”
The Showcase kicked off strong for FCD when they faced Kendall SC out of Miami, Fla., with the U-18s posting a 4-0 shutout and the U-16s notching a 1-0 victory.
“The result was good, but the style we got the result with is what we walked away feeling best about today,” said Pareja after the dual shutouts. “We always tell them the same message, and we keep it always the same: we stay with our style. We stay who we are. We are proud of the boys because that is exactly what they did today.”
Next up for the FCD U-18 and U-16 teams were the San Jose Earthquakes, and again both sides soundly defeated their age counterparts, with the U-18s taking a 2-0 victory and the U-16s posting a dominant 6-0 win. Recent first team homegrown signees Victor Ulloa and Moises Hernandez had an assist and a score respectively for the U-18 side, while U-16 player Bobby Edet notched a hat trick and Victor Portillo, Alex Frankenfeld and Mark Ashby chipped in the other three goals for the younger side.
“This game is a really clear example of the progress we have made these past few months – our team has grown,” said Chris Hayden, head coach of the U-16 squad and director of coaching for FC Dallas Youth. “It’s really easy when a team puts lots of pressure on you to deviate from your style, but our boys are not deviating. It says a lot about them, about their character.”
The U-18 and U-16 sides went into the final day of competition undefeated and without being scored on, but their final opponent – Chivas USA – turned out to be the toughest of the tourney. The U-18s remained unscathed, posting a 2-0 victory and another clean sheet behind the play of ‘keeper Eduardo Cortez, who stepped in for Richard Sanchez (Sanchez left the Showcase to join the Mexican U-17 national team in Cuba). The U-16s, however, were not as fortunate, posting their only defeat of the tourney with a 1-0 loss to their Chivas counterparts.
Other bright spots from the tourney included four FCD Academy players selected to the All-Tournament team; the opportunity to play in front of U.S. National Team coaches and scouts in attendance; and the presence of FCD Academy player Kellyn Acosta as a member of the starting XI for the U-17 US National Team in their match against Turkey.
“As a program, FC Dallas is extremely pleased in the quality and quantity of opportunities that we continue to offer each of our Academy Players,” said Pareja. “We know these opportunities are preparing them for their very bright futures.”
The FC Dallas U-16 and U-18 Academy teams return to action on December 12th in Houston when they face Texans SC Houston before returning home to end their fall season on Dec. 18th vs. Solar Chelsea SC at the Pizza Hut Park Complex.
Stay tuned to FCDallas.com and FCDallasYouth.com for all the latest news on the FCD Development Academy.