Union Academy Update: Union still in the playoff hunt

While it hasn't very sunny on the senior side of things, the Union youngsters have kept on trucking and placed themselves firmly on track to participate in June's Developmental Academy playoffs.  All three units have had to face nothing but tough opponents throughout May, and proven themselves to be up to the task.

U17/18s

The oldest group of DOOPers treaded water the last three weeks and earned results that kept them on the warm side of the wildcard rival.  The month of May started with a 1-1 draw at I-95 rival DC United.  Future Duke freshman Noah Snyder scored an equalizer in the 83rd to notch the second draw of the season against the other MLS-based academy in the Atlantic Division.  The team followed up that result with a 2-0 "home" win over Match Fit Academy at Conshohocken's Proving Grounds.  Zach Zandi and Mohammed Conde both scored in the second half to help grab three points for the Union.  Finally, in their toughest test of the calendar year,  the Union drew 1-1 with league-leading side Players Development Academy (PDA) to land themselves the 9th slot in the 13-team wildcard pool.  After PDA opened the scoring in the first half, Noah Snyder scored his second goal in three matches with a 68th minute equalizer.  The score was identical to the November match in which Neicko Williams scored the second half equalizer.

The Under 18s travel to Holmdel, NJ to play New Jersey Soccer Academy (NJSA) '04 on the 31st for their last regular season game before the playoffs commence.

U15/16s

Since their trip to Texas last month, the Under 16s have been dragging their feet towards the finish line, notching only one win in their last four matches.  Second-place DC United handed them their worst loss of the season, resoundingly beating the Union 4-1.  Striker Isaiah Young, who leads the team in goals with 12, scored the lone Union goal.  Thanks to Kevin Carvalho the team rebounded the next week and beat Match Fit Academy 1-0.  The win all but clinched a playoff spot.  The Union finished the tough stretch of matches with a scoreless draw at home against league leaders PDA.   Defeating NJSA '04 next week can lock up a 6th place division finish for the Union.

U13/14s

Meanwhile, the Under 14s keep steamrolling their competition, winning their last eight matches and scoring at least three goals in their last seven.  Head coach Chris Brewer's boys started May with a 4-1 thrashing of DC United.  Star striker Colin Brezniak, who's amassed an impressive total of 17 goals this season (Second only to Juan Infante's 19), added a brace while captain Anthony Fontana and Jalen Weatherspoon scored a goal each.  Fontana added two more to his season tally the next week when the Union blanked PA Classics 3-0.  Faced with a Saturday-Sunday doubleheader last weekend, the Union finished off the month by squeaking by Soccer Association of Columbia 3-2 and blanking PA Classics again 4-0.  Fontana finished off his best month of the season by scoring the second half match-winner against SAC, while Juan Pablo Infante capped off his stellar season by scoring his 19th goal of the season.  Infante and Brezniak finished the season as the top goalscorers in the North Atlantic Division.  While the older academy kids are participating in the playoffs, the Under 14s will also be traveling to Westfield, Indiana to play West Coast clubs De Anza Force and Real So Cal in the Summer Showcase.

Final notes

For some additional reading, feel free to check out the YSC Academy's monthly newsletter, detailing all the goings-on at the Academy and recapping the trips to Qatar and Texas for the Generation Adidas Cup.  Furthermore, since I can't find any more highlight clips here's a short featurette on former Union Academy product (and potential Union homegrown player) Zack Steffen by US Soccer.

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