Twelve Sporting KC U18 Academy players declare college commitments

Signing day sees top talent send in National Letters of Intent

Twelve players from the Sporting Kansas City Under-18 Academy team will continue their careers on college campuses across the country this fall. Wednesday marked the initial signing date for prospective student-athletes and the following Sporting KC Academy products have committed to collegiate programs:

  • Darby Cronin (UMKC, NCAA Division I): Cronin has started all 16 matches in the 2013-14 U.S. Soccer Development Academy season for Sporting KC with two goals as a defender. The Lee’s Summit High School grad joins fellow Sporting KC Academy alums Michael Oakley, Jordan Rideout, Derek Schrick, Wes White and Austin Wilcox at UMKC under head coach Rick Benben.        
  • Andrew Dittemore (Missouri State, NCAA Division I): A senior at Gardner Edgerton High School, Dittemore will join a Bears team coached by Jon Leamy and looking to repeat as five-time Missouri Valley Conference regular season champions. The 6’3 goalkeeper was labeled the “top goalkeeper in the Midwest” by Top Drawer Soccer last year and has been a member of the Sporting KC Academy since 2011.
  • Andy Ericks (Colorado School of Mines, NCAA Division II): Ericks has appeared in 12 matches in the 2013-14 U.S. Soccer Development Academy season for Sporting KC and will join an Orediggers program coming off their fourth NCAA Tournament berth in five seasons under Frank Kohlenstein. The midfielder currently attends Lansing High School.
  • Heath Honold (Wake Forest, NCAA Division I) – Honold enrolled at Wake Forest for the spring semester after playing in five games as a forward for Sporting KC in the 2013-14 U.S. Soccer Development Academy season. A Coon Rapids, Iowa native, Honold is now coached by Jay Vidovich for the Demon Deacons, who reached the NCAA Tournament third round in 2013.
  • Mason Leonard (Drake, NCAA Division I): Leonard, a defender, will team up with fellow Sporting KC Academy alum Matt Bernard for the Bulldogs, coached by Sean Holmes. The Blue Valley Northwest senior has played in 14 games for Sporting KC during the 2013-14 U.S. Soccer Development Academy season with one goal.
  • Blake Levine (Baker, NAIA): The Blue Valley Northwest senior has appearances in 15 of Sporting KC’s 16 games in the 2013-14 U.S. Soccer Development Academy campaign. A forward, Levine will be united with Sporting KC Academy alums Andrew Miller and Chris Tuso at Baker to be coached by Nate Houser, the NSCAA Men's Soccer Plains Region Coach of the Year. The top 10-ranked Wildcats were Heart of America Athletic Conference regular season and tournament champions in 2013.
  • Matt Lewis (Fordham, NCAA Division I): A 14-game starter for Sporting KC in the 2013-14 U.S. Soccer Development Academy, Lewis attends Rockhurst High School. The 6’2 defender joins the Rams, coached by Jim McElderry, and will compete in the Atlantic 10 Conference.
  • Andy Lopez (North Carolina, NCAA Division I): The younger brother of Mikey Lopez, Andy scored seven goals as a midfielder in 15 games in the 2013-14 U.S. Soccer Development Academy season. Andy is one of two Sporting KC Academy products headed to UNC to be coached by Carlos Somoano. The Tar Heels reached the NCAA Tournament second round in 2013.
  • Joey Piatczyc (West Virginia, NCAA Division I): A Lee’s Summit High School senior, Piatczyc has appeared in all 16 games for Sporting KC during the 2013-14 U.S. Soccer Development Academy season. The midfielder, rated the No. 1 player in the Heartland Region by Top Drawer Soccer, has twice played in MLS Reserve League games for Sporting KC during the 2011 and 2012 seasons and will now be coached by Marlon LeBlanc for the Mountaineers.
  • Cole Stevenson (Denver, NCAA Division I): Stevenson has contributed seven goals in the 2013-14 U.S. Soccer Development Academy season while appearing in all 16 games for Sporting KC. The forward attends Rockhurst High School and is the No. 5-rated player in the Heartland Region by Top Drawer Soccer. He will now join a Pioneers program coached by Bobby Muuss that reached the NCAA Tournament in 2013 after winning the Summit League’s regular season and postseason titles.
  • Austin Williamson (Northeastern State University, NCAA Division II): The 6’1 goalkeeper has started all 16 games for Sporting KC in the 2013-14 U.S. Soccer Development Academy season. Williamson attends Lee’s Summit West High School and will join the RiverHawks, coached by Rob Czlonka.
  • Zach Wright (North Carolina, NCAA Division I): Wright leads the Sporting KC Academy with eight goals in 15 games during the 2013-2014 U.S. Soccer Development Academy season. The forward, rated the No. 3 player in the Heartland Region by Top Drawer Soccer, is one of two Sporting KC Academy products headed to UNC to be coached by Carlos Somoano. The Tar Heels reached the NCAA Tournament second round in 2013.

A special college commitment ceremony will be held for these players and their families on Feb. 10 at the Three Points Club (1511 Baltimore Avenue) in downtown Kansas City, Mo.

Established in 2007, the Sporting KC Academy is the official youth development program of the reigning MLS Cup champions and features four teams from Under-12 thru Under-18 playing in regional and national competitions. Led by Director of Coaching Jon Parry, the Academy teams train and host home matches at the Swope Soccer Village. Five former Academy players have been signed to professional contracts by Sporting Kansas City.

For more information on the Sporting KC Academy, visit SportingKC.com/academy and follow @SKCAcademy on Twitter and Instagram.