RSL Youth Development Update: June 30, 2011

RSL-AZ Academy U-16s qualify for USSDA Championships; Three RSL YD branches gather for camp in

RSL-AZ_U16s_USSDA-playoffs (620x350)

Photo Credit: 
RSL-AZ Academy / Grande Sports World


RSL-Arizona Academy U-16s Advance to US Soccer Development Academy’s National Championships;

RSL to Gather Cream of Youth Development Crop at RSL-Arizona Academy for Weekend Training Camp;

RSL-Utah Under-17 Team Members Well Represented on Season-Ending All-State Teams


RSL-Arizona Academy U-16s Advance to US Soccer Development Academy’s National Championships


Real Salt Lake would like to congratulate the RSL-Arizona Academy Under-16 and Under-18 Teams for their impressive performances at the US Soccer Development Academy Playoffs, which took place across the last week at Pizza Hut Park in Frisco, Texas. Both squads earned the right to head to Pizza Hut Park to participate among the top 32 teams in their respective age divisions after completing the Development Academy’s regular season schedule, the U-16s as one of the SoCal Division’s two automatic qualifiers after a second-place finish (11-6-1), and the U-18s (9-6-3) as the second-seed of 12 “wild card” selections with the highest points-per-game total across the 10 divisions.

Both RSL-Arizona Academy teams would finish out their three games of group play in Frisco with a berth to the Development Academy National Championships – aka “Finals Week” – on the line, but only the U-16s were able to qualify for the USSDA season’s ultimate tournament, set to take place at three locations across Milwaukee, Wis., from July 9-16.

The RSL-AZ Academy U-16s began pool play last Saturday with a 4-1 win over Baltimore Bays Chelsea before settling for a 2-2 draw with Charlotte Soccer Academy the following day, setting up a winner-take-all affair with FC Westchester on Tuesday. The drama would carry through to halftime with RSL-AZ bringing just a 1-0 lead into the break, but a second half explosion would see five players combine for six goals, punctuating their ticket to Finals Week with a 7-0 thrashing. Ben Spencer would tally in all three games en route to a team-high five goals in the tournament, with seven different players scoring at least once to help the squad advance to Milwaukee.


The RSL-AZ Academy U-18s got off to a bright start in their group, earning an impressive 3-0 victory over Chicago-based powerhouse Sockers FC on Friday and a 4-0 drubbing of Cal Odyssey (Fresno) on Saturday, setting up a battle of undefeateds against a fellow MLS academy opponent, the New York Red Bulls, on Monday morning. Unlike their U-16 brethren, the RSL-AZ U-18s would fall behind after 20 minutes and proved unable to catch up, as the Red Bulls would post a 3-0 victory, abruptly ending the RSL-AZ Academy U-18s’ successful inaugural season in the US Soccer Development Academy.


RSL to Gather Cream of Youth Development Crop at RSL-Arizona Academy for Weekend Training Camp


For the first time in Real Salt Lake’s history, members of all three branches of the RSL Youth Development umbrella – the RSL-Arizona Academy, RSL-Utah and RSL-Florida programs – will converge for a joint training camp to be held at the Grande Sports World complex in Casa Grande, Ariz., on Thursday and Friday. Three members of the RSL-Florida U-17 squad and the full 30-player RSL-Utah Under-17 Team pool will join the more than 40 full-time residents of the RSL-Arizona Academy U-16 and U-18 teams for three days of training under the watchful eyes of the RSL Technical and Youth Development staffs.

Among the RSL brass watching over the proceedings will be RSL President Bill Manning, RSL General Manager/Sr. VP of Soccer Operations Garth Lagerwey and RSL First Team Assistant/Youth Development Technical Director Miles Joseph, who will head south to Casa Grande on Friday to observe the final intra-squad scrimmages of the camp. Coaches from all three outfits – Mike Munoz (RSL-Arizona Academy), Greg Maas and Adolfo Ovalle (RSL-Utah) and Maurice Loregnard (RSL-Florida) – will be on hand to assist in the evaluation of the talent assembled, putting the youngsters through practices, scrimmages and team-building exercises in order to determine which players will create the roster for the annual adidas U-17 Cup (formerly the SUM U-17 Cup), pitting the best and brightest of MLS academy teams against each other, this year from July 25-31 at Pizza Hut Park in Frisco, Texas.

“Despite our previous success in the annual Under-17 tournament, choosing and coordinating a team for it proved extremely difficult because of our resources being so spread out,” explained Joseph, who is in his second year of Technical Director duties for the RSL youth system. “But with the RSL-Arizona Academy now firmly established, we are able to utilize Grande Sports World’s top-notch facilities to bring as many players as possible together for a camp for the first time. This weekend will not only help further our mission of instilling the ‘RSL philosophy’ of play into these talented youngsters, but should also provide a unique opportunity for our Technical Staff to evaluate the top players in our system against equal talent.”


RSL-Utah Under-17 Team Members Well Represented on Season-Ending All-State Teams


The RSL-Utah Under-17 Team that was recently named includes plenty of accolades from this spring’s 2011 UHSAA Boys Soccer campaign, with the 30-player group including 10 members of the Deseret News’ All-State teams and six players that made The Salt Lake Tribune’s All-State squads, highlighted by unanimous Class 3A MVP Alex Espinoza of Wasatch High School:


  • MF Lucas Cawley (Viewmont H.S. / La Roca) – Deseret News & The Salt Lake Tribune Class 5A Second Team
  • MF Besser Davila (Mountain View H.S. / La Roca) – Deseret News & The Salt Lake Tribune Class 4A First Team
  • FW Alex Espinoza (Wasatch H.S. / La Roca) – Deseret News & The Salt Lake Tribune Class 3A Most Valuable Player and First Team selection
  • MF Victor Galindo (Ben Lomond H.S. / La Roca) – The Salt Lake Tribune Class 3A First Team and Deseret News Second Team
  • FW Matthew Gay (Orem H.S. / La Roca) – Deseret News & The Salt Lake Tribune Class 4A Second Team
  • FW Noah Jackson (Timpview H.S. / Sparta) – Deseret News Class 4A Honorable Mention
  • DF Alex Neff (Northridge H.S. / Forza FC) – Deseret News Class 5A Honorable Mention
  • MF John Taylor (Davis H.S. / La Roca) – Deseret News & The Salt Lake Tribune Class 5A First Team
  • MF Nicholas Thiros (Layton H.S. / La Roca) – Deseret News Class 5A Honorable Mention
  • MF Justin Ward (Woods Cross H.S. / La Roca) – Deseret News Class 4A Honorable Mention

The 30-player group includes players from the top high school and club teams in the Beehive State:


  • Seven members of the RSL-Utah side played in the Class 5A State Championship at Rio Tinto Stadium last month, three from champion Alta High School (Will Bagrou, Cody Maas and Marshall Miller) and four from runner-up Brighton High (Ian Bartlett, Dylan Brog, Matthew Coffey and Andrew Siddoway).
  • In addition, Alex Espinoza helped his Wasatch High School squad to victory in the Class 3A championship, while Besser Davila led his Mountain View H.S. side to an appearance in the Class 4A title contest.
  • Other high schools with multiple members of their teams making the RSL-Utah U-17 side include Copper Hills (2), Layton (3), Lehi (2) and Roy (2).
  • Three of the area’s standout club sides are main contributors to the 2011 edition of the RSL-Utah U-17s, with recent U.S. Youth Soccer Region IV Under-17 Tournament runner-up La Roca Futbol Club (Layton) leading the way with 15 representatives. In addition, Sparta United SC (Sandy) will see seven of its members suit up in Claret-and-Cobalt this summer, while Inter FC (Sandy) follows right behind with six players on the squad.
  • Twelve players on this year’s RSL-Utah U-17 squad are carryovers from last summer’s team, including six members from the side that finished as runners up in the 2010 SUM U-17 Cup tournament – Aaron Caprio, Lucas Cawley, Eric Christensen, Alex Espinoza, Matthew Gay and John Taylor. / /