This past weekend, the U.S. Soccer Development Academy Showcase took place in Lakewood Ranch, Florida. Featuring youth soccer programs involved in the Development Academy, including MLS and non-MLS clubs, as well as a youth international tournament, it was an exciting weekend for some of the top high school-aged talent in the country. Chivas USA sent their U16 and U18 teams, and by all accounts, the weekend was a success. It was not a tournament for the club academies, so no trophies were awarded, but the Chivas' teams emerged with an undefeated weekend. Impressive, huh?
The U17/18 squad got off to a good start on Friday with a 4-1 victory over the Dallas Texans U17/18s. Eric Gonzalez had a brace, while Marki Delgado and Joel Martinez each added one. On Saturday, the Baby Goats thrashed the Clearwater Chargers U17/18s 6-2, with Eduardo Quezada and Jordan Gutierrez each scoring a goal and Mark Verso and Esteban Rodriguez each getting two. And earlier today, they played the Houston Dynamo U17/18s 3-1 (no information available about the goalscorers). On the weekend, this group was 3-0-0 in their matches, with a +9 goal difference. Well done!Meanwhile, the Chivas U15/16s started the showcase with a 2-2 draw against the Dallas Texans U15/16s. On Saturday, they played the Clearwater Chargers U15/16s and beat them 3-1, with two goals from Romario Lomeli and one from Hugo Gutierrez. In their final match, this morning against the Houston Dynamo U15/16s, they cruised to a 5-0 victory (no information available about the goalscorers). Their record for the weekend was 2-0-1, with a +7 goal difference. Congrats!
There were additional honors for a few select Chivas academy members. U15/16 member Adonis Amaya was selected to the USMNT U17 20 man roster for the showcase. He was substituted into the match and played the final five minutes of the US' match against the France U17 in a 2-2 draw last Wednesday, but did not see the field against Turkey or Brazil. Still, getting a few minutes will hopefully provide a glimpse of international soccer and give him motivation moving forward. Congrats to him!
And U18 members Ben Spencer and Marki Delgado were picked to the U17/18 Academy Select Teams, which played a showcase match on Saturday, resulting in a 1-1 draw. Spencer and Delgado played for opposing sides, and both were substituted into the game and played a little more than a half. Neither got in the scoring, but it was an impressive honor for both players, who look like they might be the most likely to make the jump to the senior Chivas squad in the next couple of seasons.
All in all, it was a promising weekend for the Chivas Academy. Let's hope the development continues and begins paying dividends for the first team in a few years!
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