The Philadelphia Union Academy U-16 team played their first game of the 2015 US Soccer Development Academy playoffs today, facing off against Everton FC Westchester.
The Union U-16s are the number two seed in the tournament and came out of the gates playing like it. Starting in a 4-4-1-1 formation, star in the making Justin McMaster played in his preferred number 10 role while Andrew Verdi got the starting nod in goal.
The Union took it to Everton in the opening minutes, forcing a corner and then a save off the line, all before the nine-minute mark. While they played a high pressure system, they had one or two mental lapses on the defensive end that called for Verdi to make some pretty remarkable saves.
The pressure from the Union eventually broke down the Everton defense, with the team scoring their first goal of the tournament through Tiger Graham, who was assisted on the goal by Jack Skahan. The game would go into halftime with the Union up 1-0.
The second half saw both teams come out with renewed energy but it only took two minutes for the Union to break through and score again, this time it was McMaster on another assist from Skahan. Both Skahan and McMaster would be subbed out in the 64th minute but the offense remained for the Union as one of the substitutes, Raheem Taylor-Parkes, scored just two minutes after being subbed on for McMaster.
Everton would go on to get one back but that was the end of the scoring on the day for both teams. Both teams looked tired at the end of the game with chances becoming less and less frequent. The game ended in a 3-1 Union win.
The Union U-16s will be in action again tomorrow when they face off against Weston FC at 2:30.
The Philadelphia Union Academy U-18 team played their first game of the 2015 US Soccer Development Academy playoffs today, facing off against the number one seed in the tournament, the Montreal Impact.
The starting lineup presented by the Union was similar to the one that was seen last week in their warm-up game against Reading United A.C. The team set up in a 4-1-4-1 lineup, with Sebastian Elney up top and Cameron Keys in goal.
The game was tight for both teams until the Impact managed to score in the 30th minute. They then score again in the 37th minute after they got a head to a corner kick. The score remained 2-0 going in to the half, with possession being split nearly 50-50. The game continued to be played close until the 70th minute when Derrick Jones came onto the field as a substitute.
After Jones was subbed on, the Union began to attack in full force, throwing everything they had at the Impact. After a succession of chances, the Union finally scored off of a Sebastian Elney free kick to make the score 2-1 with only stoppage time remaining.
Now, with a chance of getting a draw, the Union turned it up to a gear that they have rarely shown before and hammered the Impact until they finally made a mistake and conceded a penalty. Jones stepped up and slotted the ball past the keeper, leveling it up at 2-2. The referee blew his whistle shortly after kickoff.
This is a huge win for the U-18 team as they managed to get a draw against the toughest team in their group. This gives them hope to make it out of the group stage, as only the winner can advance to the quarterfinals.
The Union U-18’s had previously lost to the same Montreal team early May, losing 4-1.
When the U.S. Soccer Foundation started the Soccer for Success program in 2009, they served around 4,000 children in 4 cities. Today, Soccer for Success has grown to serve 30,000 kids in over 30 cities across the country. Now, between the hours of 3-6pm, tens of thousands of children in urban centers nationwide are learning healthy lifestyles, soccer skills, and the value of mentorship – at no cost to their families.
Now in its third year, Chester Upland Soccer for Success—a collaboration between Widener University, the Philadelphia Union Foundation, Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer Association, and Crozer Keystone Health System—has produced very positive health results. Of the 383 children participating in the program in fall 2014, 79 percent improved or maintained their body mass index percentile, 73 percent improved or maintained their aerobic capacity, and 52 percent decreased or maintained waist circumference.
The work of the U.S. Soccer Foundation is guided by its goal to transform underserved communities using the sport of soccer. Soccer for Success combines physical activity, nutrition education, mentorship, and family engagement, resulting in a dynamic program that addresses different aspects of youth development - from children’s health issues to juvenile delinquency. This week, the U.S. Soccer Foundation is proud to announce that a third-party, professional evaluation confirms that Soccer for Success has a positive influence on the health of participants.
This report is based upon work supported by the Social Innovation Fund (SIF), a program of the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS). The Social Innovation Fund combines public and private resources to grow the impact of innovative, community-based solutions that have compelling evidence of improving the lives of people in low-income communities throughout the United States. The Corporation for National and Community Service awarded the U.S. Soccer Foundation a prestigious Social Innovation Fund grant to expand its Soccer for Success program, as well as evaluate its impact on participants.
The Soccer for Success: Implementation and Impact Evaluation found that improvements in health and fitness of Soccer for Success children were statistically significantly greater than those of children in non-Soccer for Success programs. Overall, more children enrolled in Soccer for Success decreased their BMI percentiles, transitioned to healthier BMI percentile categories, decreased their waist circumference size, and improved their aerobic capacity (as shown in higher numbers of completed PACER laps) as compared to non-program children.
Conducted by Dr. Danielle Hollar and her team at Healthy Networks Design & Research, the yearlong extensive study of Soccer for Success’ examined the health and fitness outcomes of children participating in Soccer for Success as compared to children enrolled in non-athletic, non-nutrition-based afterschool programs in the same communities. Health and fitness data, including Body Mass Index (BMI) percentiles, waist circumference, and completed PACER laps, were collected on children in five cities across the U.S. These combined factors provided a snapshot of the health and fitness status of the participants.
The takeaway from the study’s results are meaningful beyond Soccer for Success: the program’s 3-day-a-week structure and inclusion of nutrition education set a realistic, achievable example for tangible results. Programs like Soccer for Success, show the value of quality out-of-school programming and the need to replicate and expand such efforts in order to improve the landscape of underserved communities. These results are extremely motivating and push us to continue working to build healthier generations through innovative vehicles. With additional insight into outcomes such as education to come, we are excited to see what the next few years hold for Soccer for Success and the U.S. Soccer Foundation.
More information about the Soccer for Success impact evaluation can be found on ussoccerfoundation.org.
The Union play the LA Galaxy for the only time this season at 10:30 tonight. Here is our lineup:
ST: C.J. Sapong, MLS start No. 74, Union start No. 5
LAM: Andrew Wenger, MLS start No. 53, Union start No. 35
CAM: Cristian Maidana, MLS start No. 34, Union start No. 34
RAM: Zach Pfeffer, MLS start No. 9, Union start No. 9
LDM: Brian Carroll, MLS start No. 308, Union start No. 120
RDM: Vincent Nogueira, MLS start No. 40, Union start No. 40
LB: Sheanon Williams, MLS start No. 137, Union start No. 137
CB: Richie Marquez, MLS start No. 6, Union start No. 6
CB: Maurice Edu, MLS start No. 84, Union start No. 84
RB: Ray Gaddis, MLS start No. 95, Union start No. 95
GK: Brian Sylvestre, MLS start No. 7, Union start No. 7
Bench: John McCarthy, Raymond Lee, Ethan White, Fabinho, Fred, Jimmy McLaughlin, Antoine Hoppenot
Career Stats vs. LA
C.J. Sapong (5 GP, 3 GS, 0 G, 0 A)
Andrew Wenger (3 GP, 1 GS, 0 G, 0 A)
Cristian Maidana (0 GP, 0 GS, 0 G, 0 A)
Zach Pfeffer (1 GP, 0 GS, 0 G, 0 A)
Brian Carroll (19 GP, 18 GS, 0 G, 0 A)
Vincent Nogueira (1 GP, 1 GS, 0 G, 0 A)
Sheanon Williams (6 GP, 6 GS, 0 G, 0 A)
Richie Marquez (0 GP, 0 GS, 0 G, 0 A)
Maurice Edu (4 GP, 4 GS, 0 G, 0 A)
Ray Gaddis (2 GP, 2 GS, 0 G, 0 A)
Brian Sylvestre (0 GP, 0 GS, 0 G, 0 A)
Social Timeline: Week of June 15th
John McCarthy and Mike Lahoud got in some good laughs as they celebrity judged on Comedy Sportz Philadelphia on Saturday night!
— Philadelphia Union (@PhilaUnion) June 16, 2015
Another amazing text to win contest! Text to win a chance to win free tickets to the Chipotle Homegrown Game in Colorado! Who will be there? The Union is taking votes, check out our twitter @philaunion and retweet to vote!
— Philadelphia Union (@PhilaUnion) June 18, 2015
— Philadelphia Union (@PhilaUnion) June 19, 2015
— Philadelphia Union (@PhilaUnion) June 16, 2015
Don’t miss this great opportunity! Nominate who you think deserves to be recognized as Community MVP. Share their story for a chance to win!
Fans that couldn’t make it to the game had the opportunity to follow along with the Livestream of the 2015 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Philadelphia Union vs. Rochester.
— Philadelphia Union (@PhilaUnion) June 17, 2015
The Union Foundation officially announces they will be hosting the Annual River Cup on September 19th!
— Philadelphia Union (@PhilaUnion) June 17, 2015
Camping out at PPL Park is back and what site could be better? The Union announces tickets are up for sale for fans to join together after the Union vs. Portland game for a night of fun and games! The post game camp-out will include a movie screening and strength and conditioning session with Union coach Kevin Miller.
— Philadelphia Union (@PhilaUnion) June 18, 2015
Ray Gaddis takes over the Union Snapchat @philaunion. Follow us and check it out what Ray Gaddis and the rest of the team are up to on their trip out to Los Angeles!
— Philadelphia Union (@PhilaUnion) June 18, 2015
Meet the Union when Sebastien Le Toux and John McCarthy visit the Voorhees Town Center on June 22nd! Not to mention, there will be a live DJ and plenty of union prizes being given out to lucky winners!
The team spends the day getting some much-needed rest and regenerating for what’s to come! Go Union!
Here is the team's injury report for this week:
|Sebastien Le Toux||QUESTIONABLE||Left knee MCL sprain|
|Mike Lahoud||QUESTIONABLE||Right quad strain|
|Ferndando Aristeguieta||QUESTIONABLE||Left fibular contusion|
|Conor Casey||QUESTIONABLE||Left quad strain|
The only new addition to the injury report is Le Toux who was injured after being subbed on in the U.S. Open Cup game on Tuesday against the Rochester Rhinos.
The Philadelphia Union U16 Academy team handed the FC Continental U18s a 4-0 drubbing this afternoon in preparation for the USSDA playoffs next week.
After the game, head coach Jeff Cook was happy with his team’s performance and excited for the upcoming tournament.
“The main objective today was preparation for next week. We haven’t played a game since June 6 when the academy season ended so we wanted to get back into competing and preparing for a game…so I was pleased with how the guys approached the game. It’s going to be 3 good teams and we’re going to have to be very intensely focused on the first game. FC West Chester have made the playoffs and they’re a good club from suburban New York. We’ve seen some tape on them. They have a very good striker we’re going to have to control, and we’ll have to make good on our chances to score. We’re a good team going forward, so if we can maximize our chances it’ll give us a good chance to win.”
FC Continental played conservatively from the onset, holding a deep line and rarely pressuring the Union backline in their own third.
Philadelphia spent the opening moments cycling the ball and probing the Continental backline. Despite sustained pressure, they struggled to put together the final pass, save for a shot off the post in the first 15 minutes.
FC Continental grew into the game and put together a few spells of possession late in the first half, but left themselves vulnerable to a number of Union counters. One such counter caught them out as Joe Dezart stripped a Continental attacker in front of his own box. He quickly collected the ball and sent it forward to Justin McMaster. McMaster then took off down the field and played a through ball to a streaking Jack Skahan who blasted his breakaway chance into the upper corner of the net.
McMaster collected his second assist soon after, as his entry pass was badly misplayed by the Continental keeper and swept up by Tiger Graham, who put it through the keeper’s legs and into the net in the waning minute of the half.
The last bit of action occurred in the Union box, as a Continental attacker found space from 25 yards out and sent a low hard drive in towards Andrew Verdi’s goal. The shot had pace but was struck right at Verdi, who did well to smother it with multiple Continental attackers lurking for the rebound.
Head coach Jeff Cook put out a new 11 for the second half. The first action occurred only minutes in, as replacement keeper Justin Bajek.
The Union nearly struck once again as Raheem Taylor-Parkes narrowly missed a low angle shot to the far post.
Taylor-Parkes narrowly missed once again following some brilliant dribbling by Anthony Fontana. Fontana put together two spin moves before playing Raheem through, but his breakaway chance was well saved by the onrushing keeper.
After relentless pressure, the Union found their 3rd in bizarre fashion as a Dawson McCartney corner kick somehow eluded everyone and found its way into the net.
The biggest scare of the match occurred late on, as Justin Bajek whiffed on a Continental corner. Fortunately for him, Evan Godfrey was there to clear. It was one of several key interventions that Godfrey made during the half, as he put in a solid shift at center back.
The last goal was scored late on, as Kalil Elmekhar tore down Continental’s left flank and played a low cross into Juan Infante, who sent touched down the ball and struck a half volley off of the crossbar and into the net.
Cook also spoke volumes about the Union Academy program and how far it has come in only two years of existence.
“We’re coming to the end of our second year as a full time academy program and our objective is to produce outstanding players from our home territory that can eventually represent the club at PPL Park as professionals. We have about 75 players involved in the program now, of which 25 are in residency. Of that group, there’s another 50 that are students at YSC Academy. So it is a comprehensive full-time program. It’s 10 months so it’s very demanding and the staff is working absolutely tirelessly to try and accelerate the development of the most elite players in our region. We’re excited about the future and we feel that there are a lot of indicators that say we’re making good progress.”
Today, on the Philadelphia Union’s practice field, the Philadelphia U-18 academy team fell 2-1 to Reading United A.C., the Union’s player development club.
Multiple players from Reading have previously featured in the U-18 academy team including University of Virginia star Darius Madison and Georgetown University’s Brett Campbell.
The game started well for the U-18’s, scoring in the first five minutes thanks to Sebastian Elney, who will play for the University of Maryland next year. He was able to make the most of a ball put into the box and put it in the back of the net despite it bouncing around after he received it. Elney’s goal was made more impressive by the fact that he was playing with a large foam covering on his wrist due to a recent sprain.
The rest of the first half went about as well as they could have hoped for, with the team alternating their defensive strategy between high pressure and low pressure. The first 15 minutes saw the players chasing down every ball and not letting the Reading players get more than two touches. This worked well as it caused Reading some early issues and lead to the goal being scored. The next 15 were dedicated to a low pressure approach, which they executed well. The final minutes of the half saw them switch back to a high pressure system in order to try to get another goal.
“I thought our work on the pressing scheme came off quite good today, and it also showed we still have some work to do with it,” head coach Peter Fuller said. “I thought the guys did a good job, particularly the first group, and overall. The first group, the first 45 minutes I thought was excellent. Going forward into next week our focus is on getting guys sharper and getting better, getting guys more and more comfortable with themselves and making sure out speed of play is right because all three teams in our group will force us to play quickly.”
Fuller then made a full line change at the half, sending out all eleven players who were on the bench for the first half, including Yosef Samuel and Derrick Jones.
The second half did not go nearly as well for the team as they struggled to press the same way that the first half team was able to. Being unable to press lead to Reading having much more time on the ball and were able to pick out passes and eventually place a cross into the box which was headed home on the far post.
Will Campbell, a University of North Carolina commit, was subbed on half way into the second half after playing in the first half. At this time, Samuel was moved into a center-forward position in a switch from the left wing. Neither of these two changes worked for the team as Reading scored a second goal, this time on a well-balanced counterattack.
In his post game talk with the players, Fuller said that he has no favorites on the team and will put the best 11 players out there that can best represent the club.
Fuller will pick the 18 players who will travel to the US Soccer Development Academy Playoffs in Indiana on Friday. They face the U-18 teams for the Montreal Impact, the LA Galaxy and Kendall SC in group play which begins on Tuesday, June 23.
Today was a great day for practice, with the sun staying out for long periods of time while the breeze came in off of the water.
Practice today was a relatively easy day, especially for yesterday's starters, most of whom play 120 minutes. The starters did some warm ups before ending early with some stretching and conditioning.
Those who didn't start or are coming off of injuries proceeded to play small sided games with varying tasks. One of the people who returned to practice today was Conor Casey, his first game action since re-injuring his hamstring playing the New York Red Bulls.
Practice consisted mostly of various versions of 4v4. The first version was a normal 4v4 where Conor played offensively for both teams as an extra man.
Those teams broke down like this:
The game then expanded to a half field where goalies were involved. This was a 3v2 set up where Antoine played offense on one end and Casey played offense on the other end. Everyone else were in teams of two and they rotated between moving forward against another team of two or defending against one.
Practice ended with a normal 4v4 with the exception of Conor and Antoine not allowed on to the defensive half of the field for their respective teams. Both Brian Sylvestre and Andre Blake looked good in goal.
After practice, Lee, McLaughlin, and Bird got some extra work in on receiving crosses. Antoine and Sheanon did extra conditioning work while Andre and Brian did some extra goal kicks.