Philadelphia Union Academy goalkeeper Kris Shakes was honored last weekend with a Best XI nod for the Eastern Conference of the U.S. Soccer Development Academy.
The 17-year-old from Florida starred in goal for the U17 and U19 teams over the past season, earning 16 starts within his age group and six playing up with the U19 team. He’s also trained regularly with Bethlehem Steel FC and been part of the 18 on game days on four occasions this season.
“It means a lot to me, to know all the work that me and my team put in everyday at training is showing on the field,” Shakes said about the honor. “If it wasn’t for the whole Academy I wouldn’t be where I am today.”
Shakes recorded a pair of clean sheets in six games for the U19s and six clean sheets in 14 starts in league play while also playing for the U17s in the Generation adidas Cup.
“That comes with all of the years of hard work he has put in,” U17 head coach Gary Lewis said. “He’s just relentless in terms of his application to everything and he does it with a smile on his face.”
One of his best performances of the season, according to Lewis, came in a 2-0 loss in the playoffs to Orlando City.
While Shakes was the only Union player recognized by the league — Brenden Aaronson’s injury likely kept him off the list — he wasn’t the only person from the Union recognized. Daina Lecuona was named Administrator of the Year for the Eastern Conference in his first year on the job.
The Girls Development Academy also handed out awards to a couple of players from the region in Penn Fusion midfielders Rowan Lapi and Emily Gray. Gray, a Virginia Tech commit from Washington Township, N.J., was second on the U19 team in goals with 16. Lapi, of Reinholds, Pa., had 11 goals in 26 matches for the U17 team. The club also earned the community impact award.