While the senior team was watching their playoff hopes get flushed down the drain by Lawrence Olum, the Union youth academy faced off with their first MLS counterpart, DC United. The Union fared pretty well, notching a win, loss, and draw. Let's recap the action.
The oldest bunch of Doopers gave up a second half stoppage goal to Cristhyan Najar (younger brother of former DC United star Andy Najar) to draw with DC United 2-2. After DC United struck early, Noah Snyder scored with a header off a Matt Greer free kick. The goal was Snyder's first of the season. Neicko Williams scored the other goal for the Union in the second half. The U17/18's next match will be at the PDA Facility in Zarephath, NJ, where they will play undefeated Players Development Academy. Some of the Union academy kids came from PDA, like Chris Gomez, Noah Snyder, and current Homegrown player Cristhian Hernandez.
There have been some bright performances on the team, including Brandon Levano who has scored four goals so far this season (Levano started in defense against DC United). Like many kids in his age group, young Brandon is in the midst of choosing which college to attend, which means Youtube highlight reels!
The seventh ranked (according to TopDrawerSoccer.com) Under-16s defeated fourteenth ranked DC United 3-1 behind two goals from Abu Winter, his third and fourth goals from the season. Kevin Carvalho added a long range effort to notch his seventh goal of the season. Still the academy's strongest age group, the U15/16s have averaged 2.57 points per game, good for fifth on the East Coast, which includes teams from the Atlantic, Northeast, and Southeast divisions. Unfortunately for them, the team they play this upcoming weekend, Players Development Academy, is third in the same region.
Before Saturday, the Under 14's had allowed just one goal all season. On Saturday DC United were able to score five times in a 5-2 victory over the Union. This was the U13/14's first loss of the season. Colin Brezniak and Adrian Aprahamian were the Union goalscorers. Since PDA doesn't have an Under 14 squad, the youngest DOOPers will be travelling to Endicott City, Maryland this Saturday to play Soccer Association of Columbia. In a September match at the YSC Complex, the Union Under 14s won comfortably 11-0.
(Fun Fact: Soccer Association of Columbia was involved in a controversial lawsuit this past summer. James Coleman, a volunteer coach for SAC, was retrieving a ball in the net at SAC's home Covenant Park when he randomly decided to jump and grab the crossbar. The goal frame subsequently collapsed and the unlucky coach suffered severe injuries. Coleman sued SAC for negligence and wanted them to pay for his recovery. Unfortunately for Coach Coleman, he lives in one of four states that allows the defense of contributory negligence. The jury ruled that Coleman was partly negligent for his own injuries and therefore could not order SAC to pay his hospital bill. Moral of the story kids; don't treat your neighborhood soccer goal as your very own basketball rim to hang on. Just slap it and move on.)
Inside the YSC Complex
To end this week's column, I will post a few videos that give more insight into the youth academy in Wayne, PA. The first video is from the club's own Youtube channel. It involves Technical Director and U16 coach Jeff Cook talking about the Academy and a look at some of the facilities.
The final two videos posted deeper behind-the-scenes looks at basic training, from the fitness tests taken at orientation to some simple soccer drills.