Tuesday, May 26, 2009

By the Numbers

We've reached the tail end of the 2009 Development Academy Spring Showcase, and we figured you'd be interested to find out the details of what goes into a weekend like this.

So, for your consideration:

-Over 23,000 bottles of Gatorade were given to players through the Gatorade Bar

-20,000 pounds of ice were used

-8,100 gallons of fluids (water and Gatorade) consumed by teams on the fields

-Approximately 4,000 spectators total for all four Showcase games this weekend

-2,200 Academy players

-342 goals scored in the U17/18 division

-300 goals scored in the U15/16 division

-218 games played, 222 counting the YNT Showcase Matches

-162 soccer balls used

-150 officials

-23 balls retrieved from a canal that bordered one field

-4 games by Youth National Teams

-1 impromptu coaching lecture given by U-20 MNT head coach Thomas Rongen

Thanks for following throughout the weekend, we'll be back in force June 26-29 for Development Academy Playoffs!

Until then, follow all the U.S. Youth National Teams here for news and updates.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day Wrap-Up

Full U-20 game recap!

That's it for tonight folks, we'll be back bright and early tomorrow for the last day of the 2009 DA Spring Showcase.

The Next Generation

The folks at U.S. Soccer sometimes like to refer to themselves as one big family, and it's easy to see why on weekends such as an Academy Showcase. But sometimes it's truer than you'd think.

This here is Trevor Mulqueen. He's the son of U.S. MNT U-20 goalkeeping coach Tim Mulqueen and one of the smallest members of the coaching staff. But he is a member of the staff. Helping his dad warm-up the keepers has been one of his daily tasks throughout this past weekend, but we're betting that's not why the team loves him. To quote the man himself, "My favorite part of helping them out is climbing over the boards to get the balls that miss the goal."

Now that folks, is a Most Valuable Player.

*Trivia Time*
Knowing what you've just read about Trevor and his family, take a closer look at his jersey. Any guess as to what name is on the back? Hint 1: Trevor receieved it as a gift to wear this coming Saturday. Hint 2: Trevor's father used to coach him...

FOUND: Owner of AS Roma Truck

We at the YNT Blog have an apology to make. It seems that in assuming the owner of this wonderful truck was a man, we incorrectly stereotyped its owner. As it turns out, it's a woman who proudly flaunts her love for the Italian club, and we caught up with Holly to find out the reason behind her vehicular decoration:

YNT Blog: So why did you decide to show that much support on your truck?
Holly: "Because I didn't want my truck to be lame."

Pretty good reason, when you really stop to think about it.

New Studio 90!

It's got U-20s, MNT, WNT in Toronto, and what you're probably looking for the most—more DA highlights.

It's exactly what you've always wanted.

U.S. 2, Costa Rica 1

Under a setting Florida sun and a packed sideline, the U-20 Men's National Team defeated Costa Rica 2-1 this afternoon at the Sarasota Polo Grounds.

With the match decidely in Costa Rica's favor early on, it seemed likely that they would strike first. But a strong defensive presence kept the sheet clean for the U.S. in the first half, and neither side were able to create a particularly dangerous opportunity.

The second half brought more Costa Rican offense, and they finally converted in the 49th minute. After good ball movement around outside of the box, Josue Martinez took a pass from Mynor Escoe and with a quick touch sent in a curling shot to the upper left corner of the U.S. goal. U.S. 'keeper Brian Perk got a finger to it, but not enough to push it aside.

The U.S. struck back in the 60th minute after some good possession won them a free kick about 25 yards from goal. The kick was taken as a short pass to the right, where Peri Marosevic fiercely drove it on frame. The shot was blocked by Costa Rican goalkeeper Esteban Alvarado, but fell to the feet of an onrushing Michael Stephens who converted the rebound.

The U.S. snatched the momentum, and almost 30 minutes and a bevy of substitutions for both teams later, the U.S. went ahead for the first time in the 88th minute. Nice possession passing and a bit of individual skill by Tony Taylor allowed the forward to attract three defenders, leaving Jared Jeffries open at the top of the box. Coolly collecting the pass, Jeffries drove the ball into the lower left corner for the winning goal.

Check back later for photos and a detailed match report. Until then, enjoy the rest of your holiday!

U-20 Men's National Team Starting Lineup

On our way to catch the most highly anticipated Showcase match of the weekend with the U-20 MNT squaring off against Costa Rica. Here's the starting U.S. lineup:

GK: Brian Perk
D: Kyle Davies, Anthony Wallace, Sheanon Williams, Ike Opara
M: Gerson Mayen, Dilly Duka, Jared Jeffrey, Fuad Ibrahim, Jorge Flores
F: Peri Marosevic

Back after the match with a recap and photos!

Look Mom, I'm On TV!

One of the biggest sights in the Athletes' Lounge is a projector screen that was showing highlights of the U.S. Men's National Team the first few days of the Showcase. With a few days of games in the book, players are now entering the Lounge to see themselves on the big screen.

DA staff have created a highlight DVD of goals scored throughout the weekend, and teams have moved away from the video games to see if they made the cut. (As for the other end of the spectrum, 'keepers shouldn't fear. Nobody plans to put any soft goals on the screen to the tune of Keyboard Cat anytime soon)

Walkin' the Line

Along with the soccer, the level of officiating in the Development Academy is also top-notch. Working with U.S. Soccer Federation officials, the men and women who run the fields continually strive for perfection—though listening to some of the parents might make you think otherwise. (Sorry ma'am, but offside is offside, even when it's your son scoring!)

Take a look at one of the tools they use to improve their decision making.

Here's the clip in question, think you could have made the right call?

Welcome to the DA

Six new clubs sent their coaches and managers to the Spring Showcase this weekend to get an in-depth orientation into what the Development Academy really means. Their schedule included game observation, coaching seminars with U-17s head coach Wilmer Cabrera and U-20s head coach Thomas Rongen and Q & A sessions, ensuring a packed but educational weekend. How did it go? Find out here!

Happy Memorial Day!

The weekend concluded, it's back to a full slate of games today to start closing out the 2009 Spring Showcase. Get the full recap of day three here. We'll have a full episode of Studio 90 later today with goals and highlights from the weekend, so sit back, fire up your grill and spend your holiday with the YNT Blog!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Class with Thomas Rongen

Today's afternoon Showcase game is an intrasquad scrimmage by the U-20 Men's National Team. With the team divided between red and blue jerseys, the players drew to 0-0 at the half. There were a few slight chances, but for the most part both defenses were holding strong.

The bigger news was head coach Thomas Rongen standing on the crowd sideline rather than his team's, speaking to the audience about coaching tactics, player scouting and what the Development Academy has meant for all the youth national teams. The players and coaches that chose to stick around today are getting a great lesson on what it takes to be one of the best players in the country. Just another example of the advantages that players and coaches have by being part of the D.A.

We'll be back later with a scrimmage recap and some photos from the game as day three of the 2009 Spring Showcase comes to a close. While you wait, why not check out today's Studio 90 News for highlights from yesterday's U-17s match vs an Academy Select team?

Helping Around the House

Some of the U-17 Men's National Team spent their Sunday afternoon working with the referee department to film an instructional DVD. The segment concerned free kicks and the delaying tactics that defenders often use to stop them, such as kicking the ball away or standing in front of the ball.

We're not sure they knew what they were getting into, but they found out for sure when Alex Shinsky lined up to take a free kick with the wall running forward and one of the "directors" (and we use that term loosely) said "Go ahead, hit them with the ball, it's more realistic that way!" Much thanks to Perry Kitchen, Jonathan Kempin, Spencer Richey, Tyler Polak, Eriq Zavaleta and Alex for helping to improve the level of officiating of American soccer.

Scouts from Italy?

Probably not. But it was still cool to see the dedication one A.S. Roma fan has for his team.

Staying Cool With the Fact of the Day

It's another hot, sunny day here at the Sarasota
Polo Grounds, and people are doing their best to stay cool.

On the field, there is a pretty cool test going on for players whose games are on the Showcase field. Gatorade has set up some scales, weighing players before the game (with their shirts off, as we'll explain later). They then play their game, and get weighed after. The difference in pounds is the amount of fluids they lost. The average field player loses between 2-4 lbs, though some players have lost as much as NINE pounds. So why are they weighed without jerseys? Because, as many of you know, your shirt will collect most of your sweat throughout the game— meaning the weight with a dry jersey before and a wet jersey after would make it seem like you hadn't lost anything. To get back to 100%, players should drink the same amount of ounces as they lost. So if you lose 3 lbs in a match, you need to drink 48 ounces of Gatorade and water before your next strenuous activity. Let's call that today's fact of the day!

We interrupt this YNT Blog...

For big news regarding the MNT this morning as Tim Howard was on ESPN's Sunday Feature for a segment detailing his career in England, followed by the first release of the MNT roster for the upcoming FIFA World Cup Qualifiers. Head on over to the MNT Blog to see who got invited into camp! If you missed it, you can catch the Tim Howard piece again at 6 tonight on ESPN's SportCenter.

Take a Seat

With hundreds of scouts, coaches, players, cameramen and staff, places to sit are few and far between throughout the weekend. In the concession area, it's been noticed that people come to the tables, eat their burgers—and leave with their chair. Allowed? No. Crafty? Very.

Apart from chair thievery, DA staff members are also debating the merits of our office chairs in the clubhouse. Some feel the woven seats provide a comfortable massage, while others describe it in much less flattering terms. Take a look at the offending furniture, and judge for yourself. Would you sit in that?

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Scouting the Crowd

One of the biggest advantages for players in the Development Academy is the immense scouting network that U.S. Soccer provides. National team coaches and assistants spend all day watching multiple games, looking for players that may be worth an invitation to a future national team camp. Just down the sideline from them are hundreds of college coaches too, representing programs large and small. Take a look at the list of scouts and coaches attending the 2009 Showcase, and you'll quickly see that the exposure these players get is a just reward for the work they put in on the field.

U-17 MNT Beat Academy Select 5-3

Under the eyes of a packed house on the Showcase field, the U.S. U-17s beat a skillful Academy Select team 5-3, with two late goals providing the difference in an otherwise tightly-played match. The U.S. went on top first with a goal by Dustin Corea in the 26th minute, but the Academy team came back with two quick replies by Christian Velez and Zack Foxhoven. Emilio Orozco drew the U.S. even just before the half. Coming out strong in the second half, Dominick Sarle put the U.S. on top again in the 47th minute, but a skillful breakaway finish around the 'keeper by Joseph Schmid of F.C. Delco tied it up once more. After several chances, including a volley off the crossbar by the Academy Select, the game stayed scoreless until a Foxhaven own goal put the U.S. ahead in the 88th minute. Sebastian Lletget ensured the U.S. win with a cracking shot to the top corner in the 90th. Look to the YNT Blog for highlights and post-game interviews tomorrow!

The Full 90

We're off to catch today's marquee match-up between the U-17s and another Academy Showcase team. We'll be back tonight with the result and some photos, but while you're waiting take a look at today's jam-packed Studio 90. We've got Development Academy highlights, updates from the Women's National Team in Toronto, and a sneak peek at tomorrow's ESPN Sunday Feature on Men's National Team goalkeeper Tim Howard!


With temperatures in the 90s under a full Florida sun, there's no shortage of exhausted athletes coming to the Gatorade bar to grab a cold drink. When the line starts forming, there's no time for our staff to say specific flavor names. But all the shorthand made us think: if "blue" were a flavor, what would it taste like?

Photos ho!

The first usssoccer.com photo galleries are up now, so take a look for your club. More will come throughout the weekend as matches continue, thanks to our awesome photographers at isiphotos.com.

Be sure to check back later as we bring you a new episode of Studio 90!

Look-alike Contest?

Day two of the Showcase is underway, and one of the first matches of the day is pitting the U-17/18 Columbus Crew against Match Fit Chelsea. The YNT Blog checked out the start of the game and the first thing we noticed is that the Chelsea keeper looks a LOT like Peter Cech—keeper of the real Chelsea F.C. of the English Premier League. Orange Jersey? Cech. Lanky arms? Cech. Short hair looking a little like a helmet? Ce--well, maybe from a distance. See for yourself, and call us crazy if we're wrong!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Day One in the Books

With a 3-1 victory by the Under-17 Men's National Team against an Academy Select team, the first day of the 2009 Development Academy Spring Showcase has come to a close. Both teams were closely matched at first and went into halftime with a 1-1 game off early goals from Riley Wolfe for the Academy team and George Malki for the U-17s. But the second half saw the national team cash in on their chances, with finishes from Andrew Craven and Stefan Jerome putting the game away. Check out a full episode of Studio 90 tomorrow for highlights of this match and many others from throughout the day as the Showcase rolls on into day two!

Rain Delay

After living up to its moniker for most of the day, the Sunshine State showed its darker side this afternoon as thunderstorms rolled in around us. With the safety of the players and referees foremost in their mind, Academy staff called for a suspension of games until the lightning passed. With teams off the field and under shelter, we waited out the worst and are happy to announce that games are back underway.

As for what's coming up, the YNT blog is off to watch the U-17 Men's National Team take on the first of two Academy Select teams. We'll be back after the game with more updates and news as Day 1 of the 2009 Development Academy Spring Showcase comes to a close.

USA Bid 2018/2022

One of the biggest items in the Athletes' Lounge is the Bid Map. Stretched out from floor to ceiling and about 12 feet wide, this gigantic map of the U.S. shows each state in white. Armed with markers and pens, players and coaches from across the country are signing their names near their hometowns to show their support for the USA's bid to host the FIFA World Cup in 2018 or 2022. Many players stated their desire to see a match near their hometowns, while others said they'd travel across the country for a chance to see their favorite stars. (And a few just wanted to show off their best professional autograph, we think). No matter what, the YNT blog is encouraged to see the support!


Here at the Showcase, the most popular area for players is the Athletes' Lounge—an air-conditioned tent with Men's National Team highlights showing on a video wall, a fully stocked Gatorade bar (every flavor you can imagine) and a timeline detailing the history of the Development Academy and U.S. Men's National Team.

But the most popular area by far is the EA Sports zone, where players can chill out on couches and challenge their on-field opponents to some off-the-field FIFA 2009. Early results included a rematch of the 1998 FIFA World Cup Final (with Brazil defeating France 2-1 after a PK awarded in the 116th minute) and a preview of next week's UEFA Champions League final between Manchester United and Barcelona.

For those of you wondering how the REAL games are going, head on over to ussoccer's Development Academy website to check out results as they come in throughout the day.

Studio 90 News

The first video from Sarasota is up as today's episode of Studio 90 News. Check out an interview with DA Select coach Hugo Perez, listen to some of the planned weekend events, and even get a look at our crack grounds crew getting the fields ready after a few days of fowl, err...foul weather. Enjoy!

2009 Development Academy Showcase Kicks Off

The YNT Blog is back in action this weekend from Sarasota, Florida as the 2009 Spring Showcase begins with 146 teams from 73 clubs across the country. Stay tuned to ussoccer.com for Studio 90 updates, player profiles, photos and more throughout the weekend.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Field is Set!

It came down to the final group matches at the UEFA U-17 Championship, but the field of 24 teams for the 2009 FIFA U-17 World Cup is now set. Italy, Spain and Turkey will join Germany, the Netherlands and Switzerland in representing Europe. Here is what the complete field looks like:

Korea Republic
United Arab Emirates

Burkina Faso


New Zealand

North America
Costa Rica

South America


Monday, May 11, 2009

U-17 CONMEBOL Completed, UEFA Taking Shape

Colombia and Uruguay have clinched the third and fourth South American places at the 2009 FIFA U-17 World Cup by virtue of a four-team playoff.

As Brazil defeated Argentina in the regional championship to take the crown, with both teams already assured of a place in Nigeria, Uruguay, Colombia, Ecuador and Bolivia battled it out for the two remaining places. Uruguay made quick work of the final phase, drawing Bolivia before defeating Colombia and Ecuador to earn its World Cup berth.

Meanwhile, Colombia (home country of U.S. U-17 head coach Wilmer Cabrera) took it to the wire by bouncing back from a loss to Uruguay to top Ecuador 3-0 and Bolivia 2-1 to secure its passage to Nigeria.

Meanwhile, across the Atlantic, host Germany claimed the first semifinal berth at the UEFA U-17 Championship, thereby clinching the region's first spot in Nigeria. By virtue of a 3-1 win against Turkey and a comprehensive 4-0 win against England, Germany took control of Group B at home. The Netherlands outlasted Turkey to book their place in Nigeria as one of six European teams and are now looking for a place in the semifinals from Group B.

In UEFA's Group A, Switzerland has locked up the top place in Group A, along with a semifinal berth and trip to the '09 FIFA U-17 World Cup. Italy, Spain and France are all looking to secure trips to Nigeria on Tuesday when group play wraps up.

UEFA is the last region to finish qualifying for the event, and when the final three teams are decided on Tuesday, the 24-team field will be complete.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

CONEMBOL U-17 Qualifying Update

CONEMBOL is staging its U-17 qualifying tournament, with the top four teams set to head to Nigeria for the 2009 FIFA U-17 World Cup. The way it looks so far: Argentina and Brazil are in. The two traditional powerhouses topped their respective groups to earn automatic berths to the World Cup, with Brazil winning Group A on nine points and Argentina leading Group B on 10 points.

Two more qualifying spots are up for grabs, and four teams are playing a round robin to determine who heads to Africa. Colombia, Bolivia, Uruguay and Ecuador are vying for the ticket to the World Cup and with one game out of the way, Colombia leads the pack. Next up, Colombia faces Uruguay while Ecuador meets Bolivia. You can see these games live tonight on Gol TV (along with the rest of the tournament as it happens).