Sporting Kansas City U16 Academy defender Erik Palmer-Brown will attend the U.S. Soccer Residency Program in Bradenton, Fla. for the Spring Semester, the U.S. Soccer Federation announced on Tuesday. Palmer-Brown arrived in Bradenton on Sunday and will attend school while training with U.S. Soccer coaches and some of the best youth soccer players from around the country.
Palmer-Brown, 15, has been a key contributor with the Sporting KC Academy over the last two U.S. Soccer Development Academy seasons. He appeared in all 24 Academy matches during the 2011-12 season and started 11 games to date during the 2012-13 campaign. He appeared in an MLS Reserve League match for the Sporting Kansas City senior team and joined the United States U-15 National Team in September for a training camp.
A Lee’s Summit resident, Palmer-Brown was selected for the U15/16 Academy Select Game last month at the 2012 Development Academy Winter Showcase. His stellar play earned him ussoccer.com’s Man of the Match honors and TopDrawerSoccer.com named him a Development Academy Winter Showcase Standout.
The U.S. Soccer Residency Program, started in 1999, serves to support the development opportunities for elite youth players and is led by U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team head coach Richie Williams. The U17 National Team is currently in preparation for the 2013 CONCACAF U-17 Championship in April in Panama, with the top four teams from the 12-team tournament qualifying for the 2013 FIFA U-17 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates.
The U.S. players live on campus at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., and train in the morning under the guidance of Williams and U-17 MNT assistant coaches. In the afternoon, the players attend classes at St. Stephens Episcopal School.
The team regularly uses IMG’s state-of-the-art strength-training facilities, as well as some of the nation’s best sports psychologists that work at the Academy. The IMG Academy includes top-of-the-line soccer equipment, three Bermuda grass fields, two swimming pools, newly renovated student housing and dining facilities.
Notable alumni of Bradenton include Landon Donovan, Michael Bradley, Jozy Altidore and Sporting Kansas City forward Bobby Convey. Palmer-Brown becomes the second Sporting KC Academy player to attend the Residency Program along with current Sporting KC goalkeeper Jon Kempin.