By Jimmy LaRoue
CASL Chelsea FC Academy Under-16s moved into first place in the South Conference’s Atlantic Division with a 2-1 win over North Carolina Fusion last week, and will look to hold onto the top spot when it hosts Virginia Rush Sunday at the WRAL Soccer Center.
Rush (7-3-2), who held onto the top spot for several weeks while the North Carolina teams played catch-up with the schedule, finally slipped out of the top spot when Charlotte Soccer Academy held the spot until this past Thursday. Before that matchup, Rush will face North Carolina Fusion Saturday at Bryan Park Soccer Complex’s Stadium Field.
Rush will have a chance to reclaim at least a share of first place with a wins over Fusion and CASL (8-0-2), who have allowed just seven goals in 10 division games. Rush, returning to action after a couple of months off for high school season, has scored 21 goals in 12 division games. The two clubs’ U-18 teams will also face off Sunday.
Richmond Kickers will also make the trek south, with its U-16s and U-18s facing CASL Chelsea FC Academy Saturday and North Carolina Fusion Sunday, while the Richmond Strikers academy teams host Charlotte Soccer Academy and North Meck SC at West Creek.
Those two Carolina teams will also face McLean Youth Soccer over the weekend in what will most certainly prove to be key division games over the weekend, as McLean’s U-18s (8-0-2) are just one point ahead of Charlotte (7-1-4) in the Atlantic Division.
This weekend will represent McLean and the Kickers’ first academy games since the end of February, while Rush and the Strikers haven’t played since mid-March.
U-18 East Conference Mid-Atlantic Division leaders Baltimore Bays Chelsea (6-0-1) will look to maintain or extend its first place lead this weekend with a single game against last place Potomac (0-4-2) Sunday. It’s a much tighter race for the U-16s, as five teams are separated by just two points, including D.C. United and Bays Chelsea. United hosts Potomac Saturday.
In the Central Conference, Shattuck-Saint Mary’s Soccer Academy U-18s (8-1-2) extended its first place Frontier Division lead to seven points with a 2-1 win last week against Sporting Kansas City. Shattuck-Saint Mary’s U-16s are also in first. Both the U-16s and U-18s are off this weekend and have three academy games remaining.
In the Northeast Division, New England Revolution U-18s are the current front runners, tied with Oakwood Soccer Club at 3-2-1 but ahead on goal difference. The Revs’ U-16s are the third first place team in three weeks, and will look to hold onto the top spot with games against FC Westchester and Albertson SC. The Revs’ U-16s are tied for the top spot at 4-1-1 with FC Greater Boston.
The LA Galaxy U-18s (11-3-1), meanwhile, clinched a spot in the academy playoffs after a 5-1 win over Arsenal FC last weekend. The Galaxy’s Jaime Villareal scored his 18th goal of the season in the win. The Galaxy’s U-16s had already qualified for the playoffs. Both the Galaxy’s U-16s and U-18s finish up the regular season Saturday against Nomads SC on the turf at Home Depot Center’s Field 5.
Notes: U.S. U-20s coach Tab Ramos has named 14 academy players to his 20-player squad for a training camp in Houston in preparation for games against Uruguay (June 6 and June 8) and Chile (June 12 in Santiago). … The U-15 Boys National Team opened the International Marveld Tournament in Holland with a 5-0 win over Feyenoord. New York Red Bulls Academy forward Malcolm Dixon scored twice in the win, while three more academy players–Ben Swanson (Crew Soccer Academy), Max Stiegwardt (Minnesota Thunder) and Amir Bashti (San Jose Earthquakes Academy)–added goals.
For complete Development Academy results and standings, see below:
[ +U-16 Standings ]
[ +U-18 Standings ]