Last weekend, all three segments of the Union Academy traveled to Lancaster County to play PA Classics. The Manheim-based club is one of the Union's local youth development affiliates, along with FC Delco (former club of current Homegrown players Zach Pfeffer and Jimmy McLaughlin), Penn Fusion, Lehigh Valley United, Yardley-Makefield Soccer, and Players' Development Academy. After a tough weekend in which both the Under 18's and Under 16's suffered home losses to Maryland rival Bethesda-Olney, the Union ended up leaving Manheim with 3 wins out of a possible 3.
The Under 18s set the tone for the afternoon by romping PA Classics 4-1. Impending Dartmouth student-athlete Matthew Greer had a brace, while Neicko Williams and Doyle Tuvesson scored goals of their own. Like their first match back in November, the Union jumped out to an early first half lead. This time, however, the Union never let Classics back into the match. The win meant that the Union jumped Classics in the Atlantic Division table, landing in fourth place.
PA Classics came into the match atop the Atlantic Division U15/16 table and one of the potential entrants in the Developmental Academy coming up in the Summer. The Union, slotted at fifth at the table, needed a win to keep pace with the teams above them and lock down a spot in June's Developmental playoffs. Derrick Amaniampong and Nick Jackwak each scored first goals to pull the upset over PA Classics 2-1. Classics scored late in the match and also secured a penalty kick in the 88th minute, but goalkeeper Cameron Keys saved the penalty kick and preserved the win for the Doopers. This will be a big confidence boost for the Under 16s as they head to Virginia this weekend.
This week's highlight reel features Under-16 captain Morgan Hackworth, son of first team coach John Hackworth. Morgan, who mostly plays defensive midfielder, has one goal in 16 starts.
Oh, look - the Under 14s ran roughshod over another outmatched opponent. Tonny Temple, now with 8 goals in 3 matches, scored a hat trick in a 7-0 beatdown of PA Classics. Juan Infante (his team-leading 14th goal) , Kalil Elmedkhar, Kurtis Olsson, and Nykolas Sessock each scored a goal for the Union, who have scored 17 goals in their last three league matches and conceded only one.
All three Union squads will be headed to Virginia this weekend for doubleheader with the Richmond Kickers and Richmond Strikers.
YSC Sports Releases Academy Newsletter
Finally, YSC Sports has released a 16-page digital newsletter summarizing the events that have occurred during the past month at the Union Academy. The newsletter features a behind-the-scenes look at the Under 18s training with the first team, a discussion about how jazz relates to soccer, and a summary of Liverpool defender Jose Enrique's February visit to YSC Sports for a talk with students. I highly recommend it not just to fans, but to parents of kids thinking about joining the Philadelphia Union Academy.