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Philadelphia Union Academy teams open season at D.C. United

The Union Academy begins its fourth season in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy season on Saturday

Anthony Fontana
Anthony Fontana
Matt Ralph

A Labor Day weekend trip to the capital region will kick off the Philadelphia Union Academy’s fourth season in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy.

The U18 and U16 teams will visit Leesburg, Virginia for games with D.C. United while the U14 and U13 teams will play in Washington D.C. The U12 team will be the only Union team not making the trip. They will travel to Tinton Falls, N.J. to take on Cedar Stars Academy instead.

Both the U12 and U13 teams are competing this year in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy’s two new age divisions. The U15 team opens their second season in the Northeast Pre-Academy League at YSC Sports on September 10 against PA Classics.

U18s

The U18 game kicks off at 2 p.m.

The team returns a number of key players, including midfielder Emmanuel Perez and forward Tiger Graham, who are taking a post-grad year and defender/midfielder Frederick Gil, the lone player on the squad born in 1997.

Other returners include defenders Matthew Real, Mark McKenzie, Rayshaun McGann and Freeman Dwamena, midfielders Anthony Fontana, Josue Monge, Alexander Soto, Maximilien Sakiewicz and Dawson McCartney. Forward Justin McMaster also spent time with the U18s last season.

Goalkeeper Matthew Freese is new to the team, replacing a spot that would have been occupied by recent Benfica signing C.J. Dos Santos.

The remaining newcomers were with the U16s last season, including defenders Andrew Aprahamian, Evan Godfrey, Brandon Golden and Patrick Murphy, midfielders Omar Ayala and Kalil ElMedkhar and forward Darius Lewis.

U16s

The U16 game kicks off at 4 p.m.

Regulars from last year on the team include defenders Benjamin Ofeimu and Nykolas Sessock, midfielders Seth Kuhn and Iverson Brisma, forwards Issa Rayyan, Daniel Bloyou and Chad Letts and goalkeeper Tomas Romero.

Newcomers include midfielder Axel Picazo from Texas and midfielder James Simpson, who played at Continental FC last year.

Players moving up from last year’s Pre-Academy U15 team include defenders Oluwaola Ogunwale, Kevin Escobar and Andrew Taber, midfielders Aziz Saidi, Christian Contreras and Carter Emack and forward Liam O’Brien.

Newcomers from the U14 team include defender John Wagner, midfielders Michael Pellegrino, Nicholas Blacklock and Guei Marco Bla and forward Jason Aoyama.

U14s

The U14 game kicks off at 12:30 p.m. at RFK Field in Washington D.C.

Perhaps the most high profile addition to the U14 team this year is Ennis Stewart, son of Union Sporting Director Earnie Stewart.

He’s one of five new players on the team who weren’t in the Academy last year, including Julian Anderson, Zephyn Brokert-Kress, Lukas Burns and Tiron Shatku.

Christopher Hackley is the lone player to move up to the U14s from last year’s U12 squad and midfielder Jack de Vries is the lone holdover from last year. The rest all moved up from the U13 team - Paxten Aaronson, Aboubacar Camara, Ramir Cofield, Zachary Golden, Sean Jennings, Chay Kaplan, Adam Lenges, Justin Shaffer, Cole Sotack, Cole Verrico and Zachary Wagner.

U13s

The U13 game kicks off at 2:45 p.m. at RFK Field in Washington D.C.

More than half - 11 of 21 - of the players on the U13 roster were on the U12 squad last year.

Newcomers include Ekow Asomaning, Micah Cain, Mason Carrico, Jackson Debusschere, Jason Grandizio, Dante Huckaby, Mateo Infante, Arnel Miscic, Selmir Miscic and Marco Silva.