Academy notebook: U.S. call-up first, Qatar was a success, GA Cup coming up and more

Our weekly roundup devoted to the Union's youth system

Academy Qatar image

Photo Credit: 
Courtesy of Philadelphia Union Academy

This week, the Union Academy received a bit of good press.

And U.S. Soccer got a young and upcoming talent.

On Monday, the Federation announced that U15 boss Hugo Perez called 32 players into camp beginning March 22. Union Academy player Andrew Aprahamian was among the lot and was one of 10 players to receive their first ever call-up to a youth national team program.

Aprahamian spent the weekend helping the U14 boys of the academy program celebrate a 3-1 victory over Bethesda-Olney in U.S. Soccer Developmental action on Saturday. The Union received goals from Tony Temple, Anthony Fontana and Colin Brezniak in the win.

One thing of note: In a recent interview, Union Academy director Tommy Wilson told philadelphiaunion.com that it was actually Union manager John Hackworth that discovered Temple in a youth match he was watching.

“This boy Tony Temple lives in the middle of Pennsylvania,” Wilson said.  “He was spotted by John Hackworth in a game he was watching. John recommended this boy and we went and watched him and brought him in. [In his first game for us], he scored four goals that weekend. He’s proof that we need to continue to scout and develop the best players that are in our own territory first and foremost.”

The U14s celebrated a win, but the U16 and U18s fell short against Bethesda. For complete scores and match statistics, log onto philadelphiaunion.com/academy.

Academy players train, compete and learn…in Qatar.

Last week, we told you that members from the Union’s Academy competed in Qatar, accepting an invitation from Aspire Academy, based in Doha. The players on teams that have 1999, 2000 and 2001 birthdates all traveled and had quite the experience. From drinking Coca-Cola written in Arabic to playing under one of the best backdrops quite possibly anywhere, these players had quite the experience. To view images of the trip, check out this photo album on Facebook.

“We believe this trip created an invaluable experience from competing against some of the world’s best youth programs. The lessons learned both on and off the pitch provided a progressive understanding of what it takes to compete at the international level, and allow us as a staff to evaluate areas we can improve upon as a program and educate our players on how to become world-class players.”

News and notes

In less than a month’s time the 16s will look to go after another Generation Adidas Cup crown. About a week ago, the team put out who it would face via Twitter (follow: @PhilaUnion_Acad)

The group captured the crown in 2012 behind Union homegrown and former Academy stud Zach Pfeffer…and finally, congratulations are in order to Academy standouts Morgan Hackworth and Will Campbell. Both boys played with the Union reserves on Sunday during a closed door scrimmage at PPL Park against developmental affiliate Harrisburg City Islanders. Campbell played a half, and Hackworth, son of head coach John Hackworth played a full 90 minutes.

From the desk of the Director

Earlier this month, philadelphiaunion.com had a sit down with academy director Tommy Wilson. One of the things he discussed was how to convince a player and parent to forgo college to pursue a dream of playing with the Philadelphia Union first team. Here’s what Wilson had to say:

“It’s a good question and that’s a very difficult ask.  We haven’t done it yet [with a specific player] but it will be a tough one to do. I think collectively we have some ideas. Our goal is to put players on the right track to one day representing the Union at PPL Park, but at the same we know the importance of having a proper education. It’s paramount. So we are constantly looking into ways to do both to ensure the player and their families that their best interest and ours is for that player to grow as a scholar and as a player. But we aren’t going to do anything until we have ideas that make sense and balance out. That’s something for the future.”

Contact Union digital editor Kerith Gabriel at kgabriel@philadelphiaunion.com