The Sporting KC Academy U14's and U18's won U.S. Youth Futsal national titles last weekend at the New Century Field House in Gardner, Kansas. The U14's defeated Ginga Academy 4-1 in Sunday's championship match, while the U18 division featured an all-Sporting KC championship as Team Indigo topped Team Argyle 8-7.
The Sporting KC U16's finished the group stage in first place with a 2-1-0 record and claimed a 6-5 semifinal win before falling 6-0 to Samba Black Boys in the championship. Fellow Academy clubs Sporting Blue Valley and Sporting Lincoln also competed in the tournament, which hosted 126 teams from 19 different states.
The SKC Academy U16s finished the second phase of the 2014-15 Generation adidas Cup with a 1-0 loss to FC Dallas on Monday. Despite heavy wind and rain, Sporting KC held Dallas scoreless through the first half. A second half penalty kick, however, sealed the win for the Texas squad, who is currently in first place in the USSDA U-15/U-16 Central Conference with a 10-1-2 record.
The Sporting KC Academy U-16s entered Monday following a two-goal victory over an MLS opponent on Saturday at the Houston Sports Park. The win secured a top-two finish in the Central Region standings, qualifying for the coveted GA bracket at the national event to be held in Dallas in April.
The Sporting KC U16's prevailed 2-0 over the Colorado Rapids with goals from Fernando Borges and Chase Bromstedt. Goalkeepers Steve Tekesky and Dakotah Bainter combined for the clean sheet as the squad increased their goal difference to +9 in the competition (11 goals scored, two goals allowed) thus far.
The Sporting Kansas City Academy U16's opened "Event 2" of the 2014-15 Generation adidas Cup with a 3-1 win over the Columbus Crew on Friday at the Houston Sports Park. The victory keeps Sporting KC atop the Central Region standings with a perfect 3-0-0 record and a +7 goal difference (nine goals scored, two goals conceded).
The 2014-15 GA Cup features 18 academy teams affiiliated with MLS teams, divided into three regions (East, Central and West). The top two teams from each group will qualify for the "GA" bracket at the national event in April, while the remaining teams will qualify to the "ESP" bracket.
The United States Under-14 Boys' National Team made it back-to-back days with victories in Spain with a 4-0 victory over an Academy side from Rayo Vallecano on Wednesday. Thirteen-year-old Sporting Kansas City Academy defender/midfielder Cameron Duke was again in the lineup for the United States, who defeated Real Madrid's youth side 2-0 on Tuesday behind a brace from Ulysses Llanez.
Duke, the younger brother of Christian Duke, has become a regular as of late with the youngest U.S. youth national team. Duke travelled from his home in Olathe, Kansas to California for a U.S. U14 BNT training camp in October and most recently joined the squad in Florida last month.
He has now made the most of his time in Madrid as one of 20 players on head coach Brian Johnson's roster. The U.S. will close out the camp with a friendly against Extremadura on Saturday.
Follow @ussoccer_ynt on Twitter for updates.
Cameron Duke pictured on far right, wearing No. 4 jersey for US U14 BNT
The Sporting KC Academy's Cameron Duke featured for the U.S. Under-14 Boys' National Team on Tuesday in a 2-0 victory over Real Madrid. Duke -- an Olathe, Kansas native -- is one of 20 players in Spain for the 11-day training camp that began Feb. 6 and will continue through Feb. 16.
The U.S. squad is led by head coach Brian Johnson and will play two additional Academy sides before returning home. The team will first face Rayo Vallecano tomorrow before taking on Extremadura on Feb. 14. Follow @ussoccer_ynt on Twitter for updates.
In the summer of 2006, the United States Soccer Federation invited 120 players to Middlesex School -- 20 miles outside of Boston -- to join a seven-day identification camp for the U.S. Under-14 Boys' National Team. The camp was run by Technical Director Manny Schellscheidt, a member of the National Soccer Hall of Fame who had coached the U.S. Men's National Team in 1975 and led the United States at the 1984 Olympics before beginning a 13-year tenure at the bottom rung of the U.S. youth national team ladder.
"I thought it was best to start with the little guys because it’s definitely important that we get the first step right," Schellscheidt told USSoccer.com. "I felt that if we can get a good introduction at the bottom with the most talented kids that we could find in the country that would be a good thing."
Among those in attendance nearly a decade ago? Sporting Kansas City homegrown goalkeeper Jon Kempin -- making the trip from his hometown in Leawood, Kansas -- and at least three other future members of the U.S. Men's National Team: Will Packwood, Wil Trapp and DeAndre Yedlin.
Kempin, now 21, and Trapp are each currently in Carson, California with the full U.S. Men's National Team for the first time in their professional careers after steadily progressing through the ranks. In fact, Kempin has now joined eight different levels of U.S. Soccer's national team program (U14, U15, U17, U18, U20, U21, U23, USMNT) and has been named to a U.S. Soccer roster during nine of the past 10 years.
10-YEAR RISE: U14 TO USMNT
2015: USMNT (Training Camp in California, January)
2014: U21 (Training Camp in California, April)
2013: U20 (Training Camp in Mexico, January)
2012: N/A (sidelined due to fractured ankle)
2011: U23 (Training Camp in Germany, November); U18 (Northern Ireland Milk Cup, July); U18 (Lisbon International Tournament in Portugal, May); U18 (Training Camp in Oregon, April)
2010: U18 (Traditional Winter Tournament in Israel, December); U20 (Torneo de las Americas in Georgia, November); U18 (Training Camp in California, April)
2009: U18 (Training Camp in California, December); U18 (Training Camp in California, October); U17 (Residency in Florida, Spring)
2008: U17 (Residency in Florida, Fall); U17 (Training Camp in Florida, August); U15 (Training Camp in Missouri, June); U15 (Training Camp in California, February)
2007: U15 (Development Academy Nike Friendlies in Florida, December)
2006: U14 (Identification Camp in Massachusetts, July)
Unlike Kempin's first weeklong experience in 2006, the U.S. Men's National Team January Camp is a 28-day gauntlet highlighted by a pair of international friendlies on the horizon: away to Chile on Jan. 28 and home versus Panama on Feb. 8. Kempin is one of four goalkeepers on head coach Jurgen Klinsmann's roster and one of 12 Olympic-age players included with an eye toward qualifying for the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro.
"I think it's going very smooth because the older guys help them to feel comfortable, to feel at ease and to enjoy it," said Klinsmann. 'I think this is a big plus for this team and has always been a big plus for the American team that they make it easy for new players to come in and feel welcome and to feel part of the group right after a couple of days. I think that's what happens now with these younger players. They feel accepted, they feel respected and they spend a lot of time together. Therefore, I think it's a nice thing to do with this January camp to help this younger group to grow into the next level."
The road to College Cup officially kicks off later today as 32 of the 48 teams in the 2014 NCAA Division I Men's Soccer Championship begin play. But the journey for seven Sporting Kansas City Academy alums has been years in the making since their days on the Swope Soccer Village fields.
Take, for example, University of Denver freshman forward Cole Stevenson. The Leawood, Kansas native and Rockhurst High School graduate has one goal and two assists in 18 appearances this season for the Pioneers, who won their second straight Summit League championship. Stevenson can be seen below as a member of the Kansas City Wizards Juniors during the 2009/10 season - the first in which the club's U16 and U18 squads competed in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy.
In fact, tomorrow will mark the five-year anniversary of the club's inaugural Development Academy matches. The U16's (1-0) and U18's (3-2) won both games of a doubleheader against Texas Rush at Bear Branch Soccer Complex in Woodlands, Texas.
Games to watch in the NCAA tournament (updated with scores):
- Saint Louis University (Raymond Lee) 2, University of Tulsa 0 | FINAL
- University of North Carolina (Zach Wright, Andy Lopez) 6, James Madison University 0 | FINAL
- Wake Forest University (Heath Honold) 0, University of Maryland, Baltimore County 0 (UMBC advances 3-2 on PK's) | FINAL
- University of Denver (Cole Stevenson) 0, Oregon State University 1 | FINAL
- Fordham University (Matt Lewis) 1, Dartmouth College 2 | FINAL
- Creighton University (Eric DeJulio) vs. Oregon State University | 12:30 p.m. CT on Sunday
Who can resist Chipotle and soccer? Our point exactly!
The Sporting Kansas City Academy has teamed up with Chipotle to raise money for the 2014-15 season. Sporting KC fans are encouraged to join Academy midfielder and Chipotle Youth Homegrown athlete winner Roman Knox at the Chipotle on 135th & Metcalf in Overland Park, Kansas on Monday, November 17 from 4-9 p.m. CT. Chipotle will donate 50% of proceeds to the Sporting KC Academy when customers show the cashier this flyer.
Bring your friends. Let's make this a party.
The Sporting KC Academy program has proven valuable in recent years for Sporting KC Manager Peter Vermes, who has added talent to his senior roster with the homegrown signings of Kevin Ellis, Jon Kempin and Erik Palmer-Brown. Ellis was consistently seen in the starting lineup for Sporting KC this season, appearing in 20 MLS matches, while Kempin and Palmer-Brown made their MLS debuts. The 21-year-old goalkeeper earned MLS Save of the Week honors in his first two appearances for Sporting Kansas City and 17-year-old Palmer-Brown was the youngest player to appear in an MLS match this season.
Early this year, the Sporting Club Network announced its #MLSCupTour. As a celebration of Sporting Kansas City's 2013 MLS Cup championship, the Sporting Club Network packed up the Philip F. Anschutz Trophy and took it on a tour throughout the Midwest. Throughout this nine-month excursion, stops were made at a variety of Academy Affiliate cities to provide members of our network the chance to celebrate our championship in the comfort of their own backyard.
More than 50,000 Sporting Club Network members had the opportunity to see the cup as it traveled to 10 cities across four states. From Sporting Kansas City’s senior team to each and every youth player around the Midwest, this tour signified that we are all part of the same club by allowing our members to touch, feel and imagine raising the trophy themselves. Check out our Storify chronicling the tour and take a look at our video and photo album below highlighting this awesome series of events.
Thank you to the countless players, coaches, administrators, board members, fans and families that supported Sporting KC as they were crowned 2013 MLS Cup champions and celebrated the achievement along our tour throughout the Midwest. We’re so happy to have had the opportunity to share this victory with all of you and can’t wait to #DefendTogether!
Sporting Kansas City homegrown defender Erik Palmer-Brown is among the world's top 40 players at his age, acording to The Guardian's "Next Generation 2014" list released earlier today. The 17-year-old is the only American included in the compilation and one of two from CONCACAF along with Mexico's Erick Aguirre.
A Lee's Summit, Missouri native, Palmer-Brown appeared in six matches for Sporting Kansas City across all competition in 2014. He made his professional debut in May, becoming the youngest player in MLS history to start a regular season match as a defender and the youngest player to appear in a Major League Soccer match this season, for the first of three MLS games played. Palmer-Brown also started each of the team's two matches in the 2014 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup and he most recently started in the team's 3-0 victory over Real Esteli FC in the 2014/15 CONCACAF Champions League.
Palmer-Brown is a member of the United States Under-20 Men's National Team, participating in an international training camp in Buenos Aires, Argentina last month. He attended the prestigious U.S. Soccer Residency Program in Bradenton, Florida in 2013 before being named one of five finalists for U.S. Soccer's Young Male Athlete of the Year.
Palmer-Brown is a product of the Sporting Kansas City Academy. He became the club's third homegrown player upon signing a professional contract in August 2013.