United States U17 midfielder Danny Luis Flores is the latest high-profile player to be recruited to the Philadelphia Union Academy’s residency program from outside the area.
The 16-year-old Half Moon Bay, California, native spent the past two seasons at Shattuck St. Mary’s in Faribault, Minnesota, earning a Central Conference Best XI nod from the U.S. Soccer Development Academy for his play in the 2017-18 season.
A holding midfielder, Flores split time between the U17 and U19 team last season, scoring four goals in 12 appearances for the U17s and a goal in 10 appearances for the U19s. He had three goals in 11 appearances for the U14 team in 2016-17 and a goal in 12 appearances for the U16 team that season.
Flores joined Shattuck St. Mary’s from Juventus SC in Northern California, where he was also part of the U.S. Youth Soccer Olympic Development Program. He’ll enter YSC Academy as a junior.
He was most recently called into the United States U17 team for a training camp in Costa Rica that concluded last week.
Though sad to see him leave their program and school, Shattuck St. Mary’s Director of Boys Soccer Sean Bushey said Flores is a model player and student who will be talked about for years to come.
“For me, he is a player that brings me a soccer-joy, whether training or in a game,” Bushey said. “His competitiveness, soccer instincts, his ability to read and close space and his ability to pass through lines are the characteristics that have gotten him U17 National Team opportunities. As a 6, he is what we look for and how we want the player in that position to play – on both sides of the ball. He will not wow you with his athleticism, but if you watch him closely he will wow you with his soccer.”
Other newcomers to the Union youth teams ahead of the 2018-19 season include Ryan Becher from Hummelstown and Brazilian by-way-of-Boyton Beach, Florida, Leonardo Afonso, who scored 25 goals in 37 appearances for the Boca United U17 team last season.