Philadelphia Union Academy named ‘Most Comprehensive Club’ by USSDA
Chester, Pa. (Via Philadelphia Union) – The Philadelphia Union Academy has been named the East Conference’s Most Comprehensive Club by the U.S. Soccer Development Academy at an award banquet held in Los Angeles on July 20. The annual award is the most prestigious team honor at the youth level and is the first time the Union have won it in the academy’s short history.
“I’d like to commend the players and staff for the hard work over the course of the season,” Academy Director Tommy Wilson said. “The award comes very early in our journey and now our job is to ensure we remain focused in our aim to develop players for our first team and beyond. I normally don’t single out individuals, but U16s Coach Jeff Cook deserves a lot of credit for his excellent handling of the group. I’d also like to thank our friends at U.S. Soccer for the recognition of the body of work.”
Also at the year-end banquet, USSDA handed out numerous individual and team awards across all three levels of play. Individual awards included a Best XI and Player and Coach of the Year. Team awards varied in nature, but is highlighted by the Most Comprehensive Club award. Voting for all awards comes from the U.S. Soccer Development Academy Technical Staff. The panel consists of nine regional Technical Advisors and USSDA’s Director of Scouting.
“We are very proud of how far along our academy has come in such a short period of time,” Union CEO and Operating Partner Nick Sakiewicz said. “We have a very strong belief and commitment that one of the ways to develop long-term sustainable success for the Philadelphia Union is in developing the youth players in our community. All three of our youth teams had fantastic seasons and it’s a real honor to culminate the 2014-15 season with this award. I want to commend Tommy and his staff for their hard work and know the best is still yet to come.”
As for the Most Comprehensive Club award, the criteria is the tactical approach of the players and coaches in games throughout the year according to the USSDA. It starts with the club adopting the U.S. Soccer curriculum, and teaching a coaching style in training and games that is consistent with U.S. Soccer Development Academy Standards and Expectations. FC Dallas won the award for the Central Conference while LA Galaxy won the award in the West.
The Union academy teams wrapped up the 2014-15 season in July with the U16s finishing 3rd place nationally. In the postseason, the Union won group play by sweeping all nine points in wins over Everton Westchester, Weston FC and Houston Dynamo. Then, they beat New England Revolution to advance to the national semifinals held in Carson, Calif. They lost to FC Dallas before defeating Georgia United in the Third Place Match.
The U18s also made the playoffs, but were unable to make it out of group play despite stunning top-seeded Montreal Impact in a 2-2 draw. They also defeated LA Galaxy in group play to finish with four points. The U14s also had a very strong year, finishing 17-5-5, including two wins at the team’s showcase tournament to end of the year. USSDA does not have a playoff system at the U14 level.