Hardware is not exclusive to the Sporting KC first team and the Sporting KC Academy is ready to add another trophy of their own to the case.
The Sporting KC U-14s will square off against Des Moines Menace Red at 10 a.m. CT in the US Youth Soccer Region II U-15 championship in Fox Cities, Wis. The match will be broadcast free in high definition.
The Sporting KC Academy U-14's are looking to defend their title after winning the US Youth Soccer Region II Championship in 2014. The winner of today's match will punch their ticket to the 2015 US Youth Soccer National Championships in Tulsa, Okla.
In each of my affiliate visits thus far, I have communicated a distinct message to the coaches and board of directors: The pathway to the pros. This message represents a topic that means a great deal to me.
Growing up, my path to the pros was not only unclear, but also almost non-existent. Players in today’s culture have the opportunity to associate themselves with an MLS club not only locally, but regionally as well as nationally.
Our Academy Affiliate program offers this clear pathway and as our 2015 Academy tryouts have concluded, an astounding 197 players -- out of approximately 750 total trialists -- were represented from 10 different Academy Affiliate teams. Of those 197 players, 32 players were added to the Sporting KC Academy teams from the U12, U13, U14, U16 and U18 age groups.
The U12 age group is a tremendous indicator of the impact of our Academy Affiliate program. For example:
- Sixty-two out of 150 players trying out came from our Affiliate program
- Eight of our affiliates across the nation were represented
- Fifteen out of 22 players, or roughly 70%, of players on the U12’s were developed within the affiliate program before making the U12 Academy team
This is a very exciting and clear indicator that our affiliate system is working and we are headed in an extremely positive direction. Families are moving to Kansas City to accommodate this prestigious accomplishment, distinctly demonstrating the change in the culture of youth soccer.
A special thank you to all of our Academy technical staff who poured in countless hours providing a competitive environment for which the enormous talent pool could compete in. Also, congratulations to all of the players who made Academy rosters or trials.
Sporting Blue Valley, Sporting Lincoln, Sporting Kaw Valley, Sporting Lee's Summit and Omaha FC are all represented in the Academy rosters and this should further encourage affiliate clubs’ participation in related experiences.
More information regarding Academy tryouts and rosters can be found here.
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."