Local Boy Makes Good-son

clarence goodson

It’s story time, ladies and gents!

Rewind way, way back to the end of summer, August, 2002. I’m home from college, looking for something to do on a beautiful August Wednesday night in the DMV. My younger brother asked me earlier in the day if I wanted to head to College Park, MD that night to check out a scrimmage between DC United and University of Maryland men’s soccer team. So I call a few friends (this was way before the days of text messaging), pick them up after work, and we all head to Ludwig Field.

This is far from our first Terps or DC United soccer match. My brother, Mark Murphy, and I both grew up as huge soccer fanatics in PG County, and our dad took us to a ton of DC United games in the early days of the club. We both attended and played soccer at DeMatha Catholic High School, which was only a few minutes up Route 1 from University of Maryland, so we attended our fair share of matches at Ludwig Field.

But this evening was different.

DC United, enjoying early success after winning the MLS Cup in 1996, 1997, and 1999, was going through a tough time in 2000 and 2001, but they still had plenty of quality on the roster. They had just signed a new center back from New Zealand who everyone was buzzing about, and the overall quality of players on the pitch this evening made it a match, despite being a friendly/preseason scrimmage, that I’ll never forget.

Me: “I remember being at Ludwig Field on a Wednesday night for a friendly, DC United vs MD Terps. Maybe your sophomore year?

Anyway, with as much quality that was on the field that night- Jaime Moreno, Marco Etcheverry, Roy Lassiter, Santino Quaranta, Richie Williams, Eddie Pope I believe was there, Ben Olsen, the list goes on…. I remember coming away with 2 things from that game:

1) Ryan Nelsen is really freaking good! and
2) That big tall center back from Maryland is a beast!

I told my buddies who I was at the game with…and obviously this is no offense… but you looked like a big ol T-rex out there tackling and heading away everything that came your way!”

Clarence Goodson: (laughs) “That’s funny.

Thank you.

I agree, Ryan Nelson was really good. Excellent pro too.

Funny enough, that was my first college game at center back. I was recruited as a forward/midfielder, but we were in desperate need of a center back for that game and I just wanted to play anywhere I could get on the field. Full credit to Brian Pensky- an assistant at UMD at that time (currently head soccer coach at University of Tennessee)- to bring the idea to Sasho Cirovski, and for Sasho to agree to it. That decision helped me become a professional.”

Time at University of Maryland

A Transition for the Best

Clarence Goodson Maryland 2002Goodson, listed on the University of Maryland website as 6’4 his sophomore year, played as an attacking player throughout his youth career with Braddock Road and at W.T. Woodson High School in Fairfax, VA. But his rather late transition to center back during his sophomore year at Maryland would see the Northern Virginia native launch a successful college and professional career, going on to earn 46 caps for the United States Men’s National team. Goodson would stand out for professional clubs, both domestically in MLS for Dallas Burn/FC Dallas, and overseas, playing for IK Start in Norway and Brøndby IF in Demark, respectively. He has since returned to MLS with his current club San Jose Earthquakes.

Only a month after being converted to center back (imagine transitioning from striker to center back and, for your first match, as only a sophomore in college, you have line up against Jaime Moreno and that DC United squad), he was named to Soccer America’s team of the week in September, 2002. Goodson would continue to develop as a defender, helping the 2002 Maryland Men’s soccer team, under head coach Sasho Cirovski, to go on to win the 2002 ACC Soccer Championship in a 3-0 win over Virginia.

Maryland soccer 2002

It would be Cirovski’s second of six ACC titles, also leading the team to the semifinals of the 2002 NCCA Men’s Soccer Tournament before losing to eventual National Champions UCLA.

Goodson, as a junior, would continue to flourish as a center back at Maryland in 2003-2004 before deciding to forego his senior season to turn pro and enter the MLS Draft. He would go on to be selected number 7 overall in the 2004 MLS Draft, one spot ahead of fellow USMNT player Clint Dempsey.

Me: “What do you remember from your time at Maryland? Memorable goals, teammates who your usually hung out with or still speak to….”

Clarence: “My time at Maryland as a soccer player overall was fun. However, it was not without some difficulties. It took time to get used to the expectations of a higher level of soccer, a different coaching staff and different players. Sasho is a great coach and I am very appreciative for all he has done for me. We have a good relationship to this day but he’s intense and demands excellence. It took me a bit to get used to that. Once I understood the expectations, I flourished.

I had so many wonderful teammates at UMD. We were a very close team, and everyone truly enjoyed being with each other away from the field. My two best friends to this day, Abe Thompson (who is still involved in the game and currently serves as a head coach of Braddock Road u16 girl’s team), and Jason Arnold (who is currently the General Manager at the Wilmington Hammerheads), both of whom I played with on Braddock Road, joined me at UMD. We speak almost daily. We won the ACC tournament, regular season championship and went to two final fours while I was there. However, what I remember most is the camaraderie we had. Each one of us didn’t want to let the other down. We cared about each other too much not to give everything we had. It was a special time.”

Me: “When you say that it took you some time to get used to the expectations as a student athlete…for the younger guys who are going into college, or currently playing soccer at that level, what advice can you share with them?”

Clarence: “As student athletes we have two duties- our studies, and then our sport. I think it is important for younger players to understand it can be a difficult balancing act, but that universities have many teachers willing to help, you just need to ask for the help.

Early DMV Memories

Braddock Road Youth Club, 1999 National Champions

Before talking about Clarence’s successful professional career which saw him on the 2010 World Cup roster, it’s important to take a look at where it all started.

Goodson grew up in the DMV, hailing from Alexandria, Virginia. He attended Annandale High School for his freshman and sophomore years, before transferring to WT Woodson where he and Abe Thompson would lead the Cavaliers to a Virginia State title in 2000.

For his club ball, Clarence played for Braddock Road Youth Club, helping to lead the Warhawks to a National championship in 1999.

Me: “So you grew up in Northern Virginia, and you played your youth ball for Braddock Road. What can you tell me about any memories you have growing up as a player in the Northern VA area?”

Clarence: “Youth soccer has always been highly competitive in the DMV area. I felt blessed to be able to compete against so many wonderful players without having to travel very far. The DMV area has produced many successful pros over the year and numerous from my age group. National team players at the youth or senior team include myself, Kyle Beckerman, Oguchi Onyewu, Abe Thomson, David Stokes, Kelvin Jones and Shawn Kuykendall just to name a few. I was fortunate to play with all of them at one time or another. Those experiences only make you a better player.

In NOVA specifically, we would often train at Pine Ridge Park in Annandale, WT Woodson High School, and I have many memories of playing games at Bull Run Regional Park in Centreville.

For indoor we would play in Manassas. Not sure if those fields are still heavily used the way they were in my youth, but they were top notch facilities in the 90’s and 2000’s.”

Me: “You’ve obviously played for a number of coaches throughout your career. A lot of times, players say that coaches who worked with them in the early years are the ones who influenced them the most. Do you remember any of your old youth, high school, or any other coaches who you’d like to recognize?”

Clarence: “The two most influential coaches from my youth were Joe Dougherty (who currently coaches for Arlington Soccer)  & (longtime VA youth soccer coach) Gene Mishalow. Both coached me at different times for the Braddock Road Warhawks, and both helped me grow at different periods in my development. I am very grateful for both of them. I’m 34, and still keep in touch with both to this day. I honestly feel indebted to those men for the time and the grace they gave me as a youth. Top men.”

Life as a Professional

A “Tall” Order

Clarence was drafted seventh overall in the 2004 MLS Draft, but in his rookie season he only registered 247 minutes over 5 regular season MLS games. While he did see extended time in Cup matches, the Burn failed to make the MLS playoffs for the second straight year in manager Colin Clarke‘s first full season.

The following season, iclarence goodson fc dallasn 2005, club owner Lamar Hunt announced that the club would be re-branded as “FC Dallas”, a decision which was coordinated with the opening of their new soccer-specific stadium in Frisco, TX.

That same season, FC Dallas signed Carlos Ruiz as part of a trade that sent Landon Donovan to the LA Galaxy. The team made it to the Western Conference Semifinals, losing to the Colorado Rapids 3-2 after a penalty shootout, a game in which Goodson recorded an assist.

FC Dallas also made it to the final of the US Open Cup, losing to the Los Angeles Galaxy 1-0 in what was basically a home game for the Galaxy in Carson, California.

It would appear as if the new FC Dallas name, jerseys, logo, and stadium all serve as a breath of fresh air for the Dallas MLS club, but the 2005 season was also a breakthrough season for Goodson. He led the team in minutes (2,488), games played (29), and games started (28) despite being used primarily as a substitute the prior season.

Settling in during his rookie season obviously played a role in his standout sophomore campaign.

Me: “So then you’re drafted 7th overall in 2004 by the Dallas Burn. You had some familiar faces with you there…Abe Thompson was a former Terp, Michael DelloRusso, and I’m sure you knew Alex Yi from VA.

Then you have some quality established players like Denilson, Shaka Hislop, Kenny Cooper was hot around that time.

How did you feel about making the jump from college to the pros, what was different in terms of how you prepared yourself as a professional that maybe rubbed off on you from some of those veteran guys?”

Ronnie O'Brien

MLS Standout Ronnie O’Brien helped Clarence settle in when he came to Dallas

Clarence: “Each level I have stepped up to has created new challenges. The game is faster, the margin for error is much smaller, and of course the players are bigger, stronger and faster. We had great players in Dallas.

From day one, Ronnie O’brien took me under his wing. We happened to live in the same apartment complex and I am forever indebted to him for his friendship and mentorship at that time. It makes a huge difference for a young player to have an older professional care about your development. I was also able to watch Ronnie and other guys train like Bobby Rhine, Steve Jolley, Greg Vanney, Jason Kreis, and Richard Mulrooney to name just a few. I listened as much as I could to try to learn something new. You look at those names, and not only were they fantastic players, they’re great men. Those experiences and conversations have helped me in my professional life and my personal life.”

A few years later, in 2007, Clarence would be selected second overall by the San Jose Earthquakes in the 2007 MLS Expansion Draft, but the Northern Virginia DMV native had bigger plans.

Yank Abroad

Looking for a fresh “Start”

Instead of returning to MLS, Goodson decided to take his talents to Scandanavia, signing for IK Start in Norway in what could be looked at as a bit of a “trailblazer” move (see: “Who is Clarence Goodson and why MLS should care“). Between 2008 and 2010, Goodson would make 69 appearances for the club, scoring 10 goals and starting to pop up on Bob Bradley’s USMNT radar.

Clarence after signing for Brøndby IF in 2011

Clarence after signing for Brøndby IF in 2011

Me: “You get a move to Europe, to Scandinavia of all places. IK Start in Norway for 3 years, followed by a move to Danish club Brondby. What do you remember going from MLS, where you were a standout at FC Dallas by the time you left, to Europe?”

Clarence: “At the time, San Jose Earthquakes had just come back to San Jose as an expansion team after previous moving to Houston. They became the Houston Dynamo, and now MLS was having an expansion draft to help fill out the new Earthquakes roster. I was out of contract, and FC Dallas knew of my desire to move abroad. So FC Dallas decided to leave me unprotected (teams could protect 11 of 23 players), and thus able to be picked by San Jose. I was of course picked. I thought it was a really stupid decision by Dallas, but it is what it is. After I was drafted, I felt the contract offer from MLS was poor, and I left to play in Norway. It was one of the best decisions of my career. I also believe coming back to MLS when I did in 2013 was one of the best decisions I have made. Each player is different and each players path is different but I’m happy the route mine has gone.”

Representing his country

Stars and Stripes

Clarence GoodsonGoodson made his first US Men’s National Team appearance against Sweden in a friendly on January 19, 2008. He would go on to earn a total of 46 full caps for the US Men’s National Team, and was selected as a member of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

The Americans were in the same group as England, Algeria, and Slovenia.

Come on, you remember.

easy

They were favored to come out of their group along with England, but Algeria made it very difficult in a landmark game versus Bob Bradley’s Yanks.

Me: “Bob Bradley calls you into National Team camp in 2008. You’re involved in World Cup qualifying in 2008-2009, and you play in the 2009 Gold Cup. Later on, in 2010, you get to live the dream. You’re going to the World Cup!

Is being involved in a World Cup squad the most memorable experience of your soccer career?

wcClarence: “Representing my country has been the ultimate achievement. Its an amazing feeling that is the culmination of countless hours of training and lifestyle choices off the field. Especially in a country that is so large, and with such a massive player pool. To be considered one of the best players we have and have a chance to represent our national team is amazing. It is something I wanted to be able to do just once. I was blessed enough to do it close to 50 times.

Then of course the World Cup is another level all together. That is the really something special. At one moment in time, I was one of the 23 best players in America. The entire process of pre-World Cup training, and a World Cup tournament is extremely draining. Mentally and physically, you cannot afford to take any breaks. If you do, you could lose your spot, or let your team down.

Training sessions were extremely intense, in all the right ways. We encouraged each other, and gave everything we had to make it a successful World Cup. The group stage went very well, and we finished in first place. It wasn’t without stress though. As many may remember, we were tied late vs Algeria and needed to win to advance or we would be out of the WC.”

Me: “Of course I’m going to ask you about that! Landon Donovan’s late goal against Algeria, which sealed the win and sent shock waves throughout the world, especially back home in the States. What do you remember about that amazing moment in US Soccer history?”

world cup goal

Clarence on the left, Jozy coming in strong

Clarence: “Tim Howard caught the ball, threw a quick outlet to midfield and we went end to end with Landon Donovan scoring the winner in extra time. Before I knew it, I was at the corner flag hugging and kissing Landon! It was a massive dog pile I’ll never forget. Amazing time with amazing teammates!”

2014 World Cup

Disappointment

Landon Donovan wasn’t the only name that was omitted from Jurgen Klinnsman’s 2014 World Cup roster. Despite being used in World Cup qualifying and playing in almost every United States win during the qualifying campaign, head coach Jurgen Klinnsman decided to go a different route and select younger, less experienced center backs for his World Cup roster.

Clarence, on missing out on being selected for the 2014 World Cup:

Soccer is the beautiful game, but it isn’t always a fair game. Missing out on the 2014 WC was very disappointing, but things don’t always go the way you envision them. I think its very important for players not to put too much stock in how good or bad one coach thinks you are.

 

 

Coaches are very important, but they are not always right. Jurgen was wrong to leave me off of the team, but it was his decision to make. Just because I didn’t make the team didn’t mean I was suddenly a bad soccer player. For me, it was important to get back out and play again, and not allow someone else’s thoughts of me to define me. I’m proud to say I believe 2015 was the highest level I’ve played at in my career. I honestly believe I was the best defender in MLS in 2015.

San Jose Earthquakes

“Heading” off into the sunset

Goodson returned to MLS in 2013, after 5 successful years abroad, to play for the San Jose Earthquakes. He’s made 49 appearances for the San Jose side, and recently, has embraced a veteran role in which he’s able to provide guidance and tutelage for some of the younger players on the team.

goodson vs rooney

Me: “You mentioned earlier that some of the veteran guys in Dallas were able to help you settle in when you first arrived. Do you see yourself in a similar role now in San Jose at all, maybe showing the younger guys a few things? If so, what do you try to teach/show them what they need to do to be a quality professional player?”

Clarence: “Absolutely. I try to teach others like I have been taught. Just like the older pros I played with at a young age, I’ve always given 100% in training. I have absolutely no time for players who train at 50% effort. That comes down to the individual’s mentality and character, though.

I’ve never been able to give less than 100%. I don’t have it in me. I believe that my 100% effort rubs off on others, and in every club it’s up to the older pros and coaches to set that standard. But the on field stuff is only part of it. A massive part of being a professional soccer player is the choices you make off of the field. Proper nutrition, weight training and sleeping habits are just as big. If a player doesn’t understand that, then they can never truly reach their full potential. Those are just some of the things I try to share with the next generation.”

Life as a Professional

How Clarence has played professional soccer for 13+ years

Me: “You’re now 34, still a professional athlete. To be able to do this, you obviously have to look after yourself.

Give us an idea of what you’ve done to be able to have such a prolonged career (diet, training regimen, anything you can share).

Clarence: “Being a pro athlete is a 24/7 thing. Especially at 34, if I eat the wrong thing or don’t get the rest my body demands, I suffer for it.

I try to eat well-balanced meals, organic if possible, little to no sugar, defiantly no soda or fast foods. We start training at 10am everyday, and I arrive between 8 and 8:20am. I eat, and then prepare for training. I get in the hot tub to warm the muscles, do PRI exercises to help my back and hips. I stretch in the gym, and get taped up to be ready to train. Depending on the day, I might lift weights.

This routine has drastically increased over the years. But at 34, it’s what I need to be able to continue to compete at this level.”

Me: “Okay, one last question. Do you ever return to the DMV area to visit family, etc.?”

HTTR!

“My family and many friends still live in the DMV area. I love being in the DMV area. I have countless memories in the DMV area. I try to get back every winter to see family, and It’s always a very special time.”

Clarence Goodson, truly one of DMV’s finest.

 

DMV’S Finest: Joe Gyau

Not Your Average Joe

Borussia Dortmund, US Men’s National Team, and DMV’S Finest Joe Gyau shares some fond memories of playing in the DMV, and sheds some light on his rehab progress

Joe Gyauby George Murphy

While current US Men’s National Team head coach Jurgen Klinnsman may, for some, be on the hot seat following his team’s failure to reach the Gold Cup Final on home turf this past summer, one thing is for sure: he has no problem giving younger guys a chance to shine.

The German-born head coach and all-time great striker has no problem giving younger players the chance to prove themselves at the International level, which has resulted in a deeper pool of players to select from. Want some examples? Just take a look at guys like DeAndre Yedlin, who is poised to feature for Tottenham this season, Gyasi Zardes, and a host of others.

DMV native Joe Gyau is no exception. The Borussia Dortmund II standout received his first full USMNT cap on September 3, 2014 against Czech Republic, 13 days before his 22nd birthday. He was able to showcase his speed, willingness to run at defenders, and all-around game which excited USMNT fans everywhere.

Gyau, who is from Silver Spring and grew up playing for the Bethesda Roadrunners, came through the US Youth National Team system, representing the Stars and Stripes at the u17, u20, and u23 age groups. He’s been playing in Europe since 2011, enjoying success at the youth level at German clubs 1899 Hoffenheim and FC St. Pauli, before making his move to Dortmund in 2014.

Not many young American players draw interest from a club like Dortmund. But for those who are familiar with the Gyau name in the DMV area, it’s not much of a surprise.

Joe’s Father, Philip

More Than Just a Soccer Dad

philip gyau

Philip Gyau during his time with the Maryland Bays

 

Joe’s father, Philip, is the current head coach of the Howard University Men’s Soccer Team. As a player, he made 6 caps for the United States Men’s National Team, between 1989 and 1991. Philip had stints playing for the Baltimore Blast, Washington Warthogs (for those fellow Warthog fans who can remember going to games at USAir Arena, or the Capitol Centre, whatever it was called back then), and a number of other clubs in between.

He transitioned into coaching in 1998, managing the US Men’s National Beach Soccer Team, Bullis High School Girls’ team, St John’s High School, and a number of other club teams. His successful coaching career has helped him develop 20 players who have represented the United States at the Youth National Team Level, and he was inducted into the Maryland Soccer Hall of Fame in 2007.

That all being said, it is obvious that Joe was exposed to higher-level soccer at an early age. He recalls memories from when his dad was coaching, which helped shape his career and work ethic at a young age.

“I would do soccer camps with my dad for 10 weeks in the summer, every day, from 9 to 5” says the Silver Spring native. “My dad was working camps all summer, so I was there all day. Then he would have clinics after camp, where I would train after. Some days, we would be out from 7 in the morning, and not come home until around 9-10pm. So we were touching the ball literally all day, every single day.”

At the youth level, while still playing in the DMV, Joe played for the Bethesda Roadrunners club team which challenged for National titles. He has some very fond memories of playing soccer in the the DMV area, and says that he still stays in contact with a number of his teammates and friends.

“We played against all of the Maryland teams. The guys I remember playing against the most are from MSC United, guys like Julio Arjona and Peabo Doue. I still stay in contact with my old Varsity teammate Rodney Wallace from the Timbers, Bill Hamid from DC United, Jalen Robinson. Paul Torres, who is currently playing in Norway, Dallas Sikes, who is in Luxembourg. And of course Lester Dewee, my best friend, who is currently playing in Sweden. All the guys.”

Joe also has fond memories of watching Maryland Terps and DC United games live, and of course, of watching his father on the pitch.

“When I was still living in MD, I always watched University of Maryland play, and we would also go to a lot of DC United games. My father was also playing in a Caribbean Mens’ League. Those games were the most fun to go to, just because I got to see my dad play! There were a lot of old Jamaican Internationals playing, old friends, and I remember the food was always good. The one guy I remember watching play when I was younger, though, was Isreal Sesay, we called him Issy. Man, that dude was a beast back in the day, he played for our older Bethesda team. And Chris Agorsor (who went on to University of Virginia), who was playing in the Baltimore area. He was definitely a force to be reckoned with as well.”

Joe’s DMV memories also extend off of the pitch, but he says that there is one thing in the DMV that he doesn’t miss that ALL of us can relate to.

“The main thing I miss when thinking about the DMV is my family and friends…just hangin’ at home, and being around my loved ones all the time. That’s what I miss the most. I come back to Silver Spring around twice a year, winter and summer. I miss the Chinese Food carry outs there, my Barber Shop, Sunday dinner at my grandmother’s house, pickup basketball, neighborhood football, and pickup soccer games of course, haha. I miss a lot of things. I don’t miss the traffic though, at all!”

Hard Work

How It’s Helping Joe Through Adversity

Joe Gyau rehab progress

Joe while in action for Dortmund, doing what he does best…terrorizing defenders.

There’s no doubt that Joe’s constant early exposure to the beautiful game, along with the strong work ethic and passion instilled in him by his father at a young age, has helped him to become one of the most promising young prospects in Klinnsman’s USMNT selection pool.

 

But having to look adversity square in the eye is something that every great athlete has to go through, and Joe is no different.
Joe Gyau vs Ecuador

Joe in his second USMNT cap vs Ecudor

Joe was able to impress Jurgen Klinnsman and the USMNT coaching staff enough during his first full cap that he started his second match, just over a month later. On October 10th, 2014, Joe started a friendly against Ecuador. After just 15 minutes, he had to be subbed off with what was initially thought to be a sprained knee.

However, it was later announced that Joe had torn his lateral meniscus, and was likely out for the 2014-2015 season for his club, Borussia Dortmund.

Recently, reports have been surfacing that Joe has been suffering setbacks during his rehabilitation. He was hoping to be ready for the 2015-2016 season, but rumors continue to surface that there is a chance that he could miss a big chunk, or possibly all, of this next campaign.

Joe was kind enough to let us in on how his rehab is going.

“Rehab has been going really well, I’ve actually recently arrived in Munich and I’m doing some work down here. Things are going well, and I’m always improving. Yes, it is true that I had some cartilage damage, so the surgeon had to do a transplant procedure. They extracted some of my existing cartilage, grew it in the lab, and then 3 weeks later put it back in the damaged spot. I’ve been doing work each and every day, which is tough sometimes, but it’s what has to be done for me to come back stronger. The facilities, physios, and doctors at Dortmund have been with me every step of the way. As for me being out for the whole season, that’s not true. I’m definitely going to be back much sooner than that. But I have to be patient, and keep working hard.”
Joe has confidence that, in the end, his work ethic and love for the game will prevail, and that this small bump in the road will make him a stronger player, and person.
“Personally, I’m not trying to rush back into anything and hurt myself again. I’m still young, and my main goal is to fully recover because I know that, once I do, I’m going to pick right back up where I left off.
Before this injury, I never really had to do the rehab components of life, I was just a pure athlete. Being given the chance to work with so many trained experts, I’m definitely going to come back stronger and faster.
This time away from being on the pitch has also given me a chance to study the game a bit more as well, and to train my mental state of mind. Believe it or not, the professional game is much more mental than a lot of people think, you have to be mentally strong and prepared if you want to play consistently at a high level, and very confident of your abilities. So I have definitely grown during this period, and can’t wait to see how it all translates on the pitch.”
Joe is able to lean on his family, club doctors and physios, coaches, and teammates when he’s in need of motivation. But when we asked him which players he watches and tries to model his game after, it’s obvious that he also looks to a couple of legendary forwards when seeking inspiration.
“I wouldn’t say that I try to model my game after anybody in particular, but I do have players that I’ve always looked up to. First, obviously, I’ve always looked up to my father, because he was a really direct forward.
I admire Maradona, he has so much passion for the game and he never gave up. Also, Ronaldo Lima. Those two guys are my all-time favorites, but Ronaldo has become more of my favorite lately, because he had 2 or 3 potentially career-ending injuries that could have seen him never player again. But he was never deterred by all of the outside talk and speculation whether he would ever be the same or not. He came back from each injury through hard work, and performed on a World Class level, so I admire his resilience. I also admire both players because they both had that one-on-one ability, and could leave players behind with speed, which is one of my main qualities.”
If you’re a fan of DMV soccer, it’s hard not to know the Gyau name. Joe and his father, up to this point, have been a model of what can happen if you work hard, and are passionate about soccer.

 

Yes, it helps to have world-class speed, and quality coaching at a young age. But there are examples of players, not just in soccer, but every sport, who give up and fold after an injury or other setback.

 

To be hearing things from such a young player like “I’m working on becoming stronger mentally”, and “I’m continuing to study and use this time to make myself a better all-around player”, in addition to Joe’s obvious knowledge of the game and respect for those who have come before him, should make all of us hopeful that he will return to the field a better all-around player, and get back to his old ways. A player who will return to the field at the International level, continue to make defenders worry about his next move, and make all of us in the DMV proud to call him one of our own.

 

Good luck Joe, and keep working hard!

 

A few notable photos from Joe’s Instagram account:

Amazing coach … Sad day. #ThanksKlopp #BVB

A photo posted by Joseph-Claude Gyau (@joegyau36) on


Being embraced by former BVB manager Jurgen Klopp

2009… Life changes quick.. Stay humble and don't forget who your fam is… #301 #240 #Rack

A photo posted by Joseph-Claude Gyau (@joegyau36) on


On the playground is where he spent most of his days


His father, Philip, in action for the USMNT

Late night gym session #Work 💪

A photo posted by Joseph-Claude Gyau (@joegyau36) on


Taking a selfie break<

#Throwback #TheBeginning #BVB

A photo posted by Joseph-Claude Gyau (@joegyau36) on


Coming on as a sub, alongside captain Mats Hummels

#Preach

A photo posted by Joseph-Claude Gyau (@joegyau36) on


A quote that gives him inspiration during his rehab process

DMV’s Finest: Maki Tall

A Tall Order

DC Native Maki Tall hopes to rehab from injury and suit up for USA in 2016 Olympics

Maki Tallby Tim Sitar

Not many soccer players in the history of the DMV are compared to Premier League legends, but there is a striker with a DMV connection making a name for himself in Europe who has drawn such comparisons.

That player is DC-born Maki Tall, a young and exciting 19 year-old forward who is already making a name for himself in Europe.

Tall left the region when he was just seven years old, but if he can have a big impact with his new Swiss Super League club- FC Sion- and go on to achieve his goal of representing the United States in next summer’s Olympic Games, there is no doubt that the soccer community in the DMV will proudly proclaim him as one of our own.

“Since I left DC when I was very young, I did not get many chances to play for local youth teams there.” says Tall, when asked if he has any DMV soccer memories worth sharing. “However, during my summer holidays, I did go play a few times with my dad at the Mall, around Constitution Avenue.”

Drawing comparisons to a legend

Tall is very well-traveled. In addition to DC, he has also lived in Cameroon, Senegal, Ivory Coast, and finally France, where Tall would draw comparisons to new Montreal Impact signee and Chelsea legend, Didier Drogba.

Maki says that he welcomes the comparisons, but also says he has a ways to go before they hold any weight.

Maki Tall Drogba comparisons

Didier Drogba after winning 2012 Champions League final, where he was MOTM

“I am honored, of course. But Drogba is unique. I have a long way to go before I can be compared to a great player like him. I think the reason why people compare me to him is because he trained at the same youth academy in Le Mans. My style is that of a fast and powerful striker. I am also sure-footed in front of the goal. Drogba at his prime was a master in all these areas. I hope to be close to that level some day.”

Some of Maki’s other favorite players include Ibrahimovic, Aguero and Teves. Not a bad attacking front 3.

Yank abroad: adjusting to life overseas

Tall developed into one of the most promising prospects at the academy of French League 2 side Le Mans. His on-field exploits dazzled club officials, as he led Le Mans in scoring at four different age groups (U15, U16, U17, and U19). But Tall had quite a few obstacles in his way as a youth player in a foreign country trying to prove himself.

“When I came to Le Mans, I was almost 14 years old. I had to adjust to the cold weather since I was coming from Cote D’Ivoire, and I had to learn tactically how the game was played in France. The physical intensity of the game is also something that I had to adjust to.”

Off the field, his everyday routine also wasn’t exactly that of a normal high school player.

“Language was not a barrier, since I already spoke French. But aside from my father coming to visit every month, I had no family around. We also trained twice a day, and still had to take normal classes.”

His success at Le Mans Academy led to a contract with Lille in 2013, and a four-month loan with third division French club Red Star last season. While his minutes were limited in his first two matches for Red Star, when he did get on the field, he was able to show some glimpses. He was involved in his team being awarded 2 penalty kicks after coming on as a substitute in a League Cup match.

⚽️💯🙌 #paris #nike

A photo posted by Maki Goal (@tallinho_) on

“All together I played in 4 games out of 12 for Red Star, but I missed most of the season because of National Team duty. I must say it was also difficult coming in at mid-season, in a team that was playing well and with a striker in top form (Kevin Lefaix was top scorer in the league). Still, it was a great experience training with very experienced players like (former Manchester United player) David Bellion every day.”

Proud to represent the Stars and Stripes

Tall spurned early offers from the French National team program. Later, he would suit up for FFF youth national teams, but the U.S. never left his mind. Perhaps his Christmas and summer vacations back to the DMV kept him grounded in the possibility of representing his land of birth.

“I go back to DC twice a year, when my schedule allows it. I am a big Wizards fan, and of course I do not miss any Redskins games on TV or through the internet. I have a permanent subscription to NFL and NBA League Pass, so I try to keep up with the Redskins and Wizards.”

“Hail to the Redskins!” Maki says on his Instagram account.

Representing the home town @johnwall @washwizards 💯💯#Playoffs #NBA #DC #Washingtondc

A photo posted by Maki Goal (@tallinho_) on

Maki wondering who would win in a foot race, him or John Wall.

His father, Madani, hoped to see his son in the red, white, and blue of the USMNT, rather than donning the kit of Les Bleus. His father’s hope became reality, at least at the U-20 level. U.S. U-20 head coach Tab Ramos called Maki into camp after the January qualifying tourney in Jamaica. When asked seeing his son step onto the pitch for the first time as a United States Youth National Team Player:

“I was very proud. The culture in America is that if you work hard, you will get your chance. Maki seized his chance when he was called up to join the U20 team, and it was a very great moment for all the family.”

1-0 vs Croatia #nike #usa #salzburg

A photo posted by Maki Goal (@tallinho_) on

The young and dynamic forward wasted little time adjusting to Ramos’ system, and found the back of the net two times in the team’s final four tune-up games before the U-20 World Cup.

Overcoming adversity

Tall would go on to start in the 2015 U-20 WC opener against hopeful minnow, Myanmar. Tall netted the first goal in the 2-1 win for the Yanks. Yet, his time on the international stage was as almost brief as his stay in the DMV.

The right-footer left the Myanmar game in the 49th minute, never to return to World Cup action after suffering a broken left big toe. We asked him how his rehabilitation process has been going.

“I am rehabbing very well. I should start running next week, and I hope to play my first game with FC Sion in early September, after a game or two with the reserve team in order to be in full shape.”

Tall hopes to feature for the reigning Swiss Cup champion, FC Sion, this season and continue to improve. If he finds playing time, there is no doubt that he will stay on Jurgen Klinnsman’s rader.

Will an early World Cup qualifying call-up and cap tying appearance be in Tall’s future?

“That is what every soccer player dreams about. There is a lot of talent in the various USA teams, from the full side to the different youth players coming through the ranks. It will take hard work and a little bit of luck to be part of the full USMNT. Before that, my focus is on the Olympics.”

A young, dynamic, and exciting USMNT prospect who has set goals for himself and is prepared to work hard on (and off) the field to make them a reality. If Maki is able to complete his injury rehabilitation process and make a name for himself in the Swiss league, his dream of representing the United States at the 2016 Summer Olympics, and of going on to represent the full United State’s Men’s National Team one day, may become a reality.

From everyone in the DMV, good luck Maki. Make us proud.

DMV US Soccer Development Academy Recap 9/19-9/20

USDAAll three DMV-area US Academy teams endured long road trips up North this weekend, facing off against tough opponents in the Northeast conference.

DC United traveled to New York to take on BW Gottschee and Albertson SC,  while Bethesda-Olney and Baltimore Armour both took weekend trips to Connecticut to square off against Oakwood Soccer Club and Beachside SC.

Baltimore Armour

Baltimore ArmourBaltimore Armour vs Beachside

Baltimore Armour’s u17/18 side took on Beachside SC on Saturday at University of Bridgeport. They were able to get on the board against a competitive team, but the home team prevailed in a 3-1 victory. Goal scorer for Baltimore Armour u17/18 has not yet been reported.

Also in action on Saturday was the Baltimore Armour u15/16 side, coming off of a victory last week against division opponents Bethesda-Olney.

After allowing 2 first half goals to Beachside, and an early goal in the second half, Armour was down 3-0 early, but continued to fight. They were able to make it 3-1 after defender Ben Detweiler saw his deflected volley find the back of the net. A few minutes later, Matthew Bailey was able to put a left-footed shot in the back of the net to make it a 3-2 game. Armour continued to pressure Beachside’s goal throughout the second half, but were unable to find the tying goal despite a hard-fought effort.

Baltimore Armour vs Oakwood Soccer Club

On Sunday, Armour continued their journey up North to Portland, CT to square off against Oakwood Soccer Club at Oakwood’s beautiful soccer complex.

Baltimore Armour u17/18’s were up first, putting in a hard-fought effort but unable to produce a result despite pressuring the Oakwood goal throughout the game. The match finished 1-0 in favor of the home team.

Up next, Baltimore Armour u15/16’s tried to keep the momentum going after nearly coming back from a 3-0 deficit the day before. Armour was able to get on the scoreboard in the first half, thanks to an excellent finish from Olufela “Fela” Osifeso who collected a flick-on from Baltimore Armour striker Brady O’Connor, dribbled around the goalkeeper, and finished the goal from a tough angle. Armour were able to preserve their 1-0 heading into halftime, despite a number of efforts from Oakwood striker Kamer Nuhiu nearly finding the goal. A second half which can only be described as complete insanity would follow in one of the craziest halves of soccer that you could imagine in a USSDA match.

Baltimore Armour striker Brady O’Connor hit the post early in the first half, unlucky not to give his team a 2-0 lead. Oakwood was able tie the match soon thereafter, with Oakwood striker Kamer Nuhiu, who was very impressive throughout the match, finding the back of the net five minutes into the second half to make it 1-1.

However, Baltimore Armour was able to shift the lead back in favor of the visitors, thanks to Olufela “Fela” Osifeso following up a rebound and finding the back of the net to make it 2-1.

Kamer Nuhiu wasn’t finished however, as he was able to find another goal eleven minutes later, tying it up at 2-2 with 24 minutes left in the match. Game on.

Nuhiu was then somehow able to find 2 more goals in the second half, in the 66th and 68th minutes, to take his goal tally in the match to four and putting his team up 4-2. A resilient Baltimore Armour side, coached by head coach Frank Assaro, continued to battle. Matthew Bailey found Armour’s third goal after a spectacular volley from 25 yards out found the back of the net in the 69th minute, and it was sure to be an intense final 10 minutes of the match with the score being 4-3.

Armour conceded a fifth goal two minutes later, when Simon Becher scored for Oakwood. However, Armour continued to battle, and made the game 5-4 in the 79th minute thanks to Kamso Onwumechili getting on the end of a ball bouncing in the box and finishing for Armour. It was 5-4 heading into extra time, but the Baltimore Armour u15/16 side weren’t able to equalize and were left with a long bus ride home after a roller coaster of a match.

Next weekend, Baltimore Armour travels to Pennsylvania to take on PA Classics on Saturday.

Bethesda-Olney

Bethesda OlneyBethesda-Olney vs Oakwood Soccer Club

Bethesda-Olney u17/18’s came into their matchup vs Oakwood with a perfect 2-0 record so far this season, after defeating Baltimore Armour the week before and Everton FC Westchester in Week 1. The visitors were able to keep their perfect record in tact on Saturday, after defeating the home team 1-0 at Oakwood’s soccer complex in Portland, CT. Bethesda-Olney’s goal was scored by Justin Lobe.

Up next was Bethesda-Olney’s u15/16 side, taking on a tough Oakwood u15/16 side who only lost to New England Revolution’s u15/16 team in week 1 by one goal in a 1-0 defeat. The home team prevailed this time out, with Oakwood winning the match 2-0.

Bethesda-Olney vs Beachside SC

On Sunday, Bethesda-Olney were in Bridgeport, CT to take on Beachside SC before a long journey back to Maryland on Sunday night.

Bethesda-Olney u17/18’s were up first, looking to keep their perfect record in tact. However, they ran into a Beachside team who were able to produce a 3-0 victory and improve their record to 2-1 on the season. Bethesda-Olney’s u17/18 side are 3-1 heading into next weekend’s away matchup vs NJCSA.

In u15/16 action, Bethesda-Olney looked to rebound from 2 straight losses to Oakwood and Baltimore Armour, respectively, and were able to do so after securing an impressive 3-0 away victory versus a quality Beachside opponent. Goals were scored by Jerry Zouantcha, Alex Debayo-Doherty, and Gabe Segal. Bethesda-Olney u15/16’s will travel to NJ next weekend to take on NJCSA.

DC United

DC United AcademyDC United vs BW Gottschee Academy

With the other two DMV-area Academy clubs traveling to Connecticut this weekend, DC United had a Northern road trip of their own this past weekend when they took the road to New York to take on BW Gottschee and Albertson SC, respectively.

DC United u17/18’s were coming into Saturday’s matchup with BW Gottschee- who is historically competitive at every age level- with a perfect 2-0 record after beating NJCSA in week 1, and earning an impressive 5-0 away victory in their last match.

Heading into halftime scoreless, DC United u17/18’s took a 1-0 lead thanks to a goal from Gerson Umana. However, the home BW Gottschee continued to battle and were able to secure two second-half goals, handing DC United their first loss of the season.

DC United’s u15/16 side, who allowed 5 goals in the week prior in a 5-1 defeat to New York Red Bulls, also dropped to the home BW Gottschee side by a score of 1-0.

DC United vs Albertson SC

Both DC United Academy clubs were looking to rebound from losses on Sunday, when they took on Albertson SC at Mercy College in Dobbs Ferry, NY.

The DC United u17/18 side were up first, and managed to improve their record to 3-1 after defeating the home Albertson SC side 2-0. Miles Robinson scored in the first minute of the match, and Jose Carranza scored DC United’s second goal in the first half to secure the 2-0 victory.

In u15/16 action, DC United made short work of Albertson SC thanks to Colin Brezniak, who netted a brace within 20 minutes of the match. Alexis Cerritos scored in the second half, as did Casimir Zekoua, to secure a 4-0 victory for the DC United u15/16 side who travel to Pennsylvania next weekend to take on PDA.

USSDA Atlantic Division Standings

U17/18

U17/18 Atlantic standings

DC United are currently in third place in the U17/18 Atlantic Standings, followed by Bethesda-Olney who are in fourth. Baltimore Armour u17/18 are in last, with a lot of time to improve.

U15/16

U15/16 Academy Standings Atlantic

In the u15/16 tables, DC United are in fourth place through 4 matches, Bethesda-Olney in 6th place, and Baltimore Armour in 8th.

Congratulations to all of the local DMV Academy teams, and keep up the good work!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

College Soccer Recap: #12 Georgetown hosts #1 Team in Country, UCLA

UCLA vs Georgetown

I took a trip to DC yesterday to watch the #12-ranked Georgetown Hoyas take on #1 UCLA, in what was a heated contest both on and off the field. Shaw Field, located directly on the Georgetown campus, was sold out, and the home crowd was absolutely electric. In terms of the weather, it felt like the sun was directly on top of everyone in attendance yesterday, and lets just say that there were probably more sweaty bodies in the crowd than there were on the field.

Both teams are coming off of tough losses from the weekend. UCLA, coming into the weekend ranked #1 in the country, suffered a 3-2 overtime defeat to the University of Maryland on Friday night in front of a record crowd at Ludwig field. Georgetown lost to an Akron team over the weekend which actually defeated Maryland last night. So, needless to say, both coaches would be doing all they could to come out of the weekend avoiding a pair of losses.

UCLA seemed to start off in a 4-2-3-1 formation, with Georgetown Hoyas coach Brian Wiese favoring a 2-striker system with a 4-4-2 formation. Wiese got a ton of effort out of his entire team, especially up front through Senior striker Brandon Allen and Junior Alex Muyl. Allen is a big body, listed at 6’1″ but appearing much bigger on the field through his play. He was strong in hold up play, and worked his socks off throughout the match to make dangerous runs with and without the ball. Muyl, his striker partner, was no slouch either. His work rate and creativity, combined with his close touch in traffic, provided a number of opportunities against a UCLA defense that struggled to contain both forwards.

For UCLA sophomore forward Abu Danladi, who was voted the Gatorade National Player of the Year in his senior year of high school, was voted Freshman of the Year by Top Soccer last season, and looks poised to be a top draft pick if/when he enters the MLS Draft, absolutely terrorized the Georgetown defense throughout the match, especially in the second half. The Ghana-born striker was also strong in hold-up play, but also possesses the speed and strength that would have any defender in the country shaking in his boots once he’s coming at him. At 5’10”, 170 pounds, his physical presence and athletic attributes, combined with his excellent work rate, make him look like a combination of Obafemi Martins and Loic Remy. Okay, maybe that’s a stretch, but needless to say, I was impressed with the young man and expect big things from him once he takes the leap to the next level.

Anyway, on to the action, which started off with Alex Muyl for Georgetown finding himself behind the UCLA back line and going to goal, only to be fouled and taken down from behind by UCLA’s Michael Amick who was extremely lucky to escape with only a yellow card. Amick appeared to be the last man, and the referee’s decision to not asses a straight red wasn’t exactly met with open arms by the home student section. The free kick was taken by Georgetown’s Brendan McDonough, which was kicked directly into the wall.

I decided in the 20th minute to take my chances with the concession stand and go hunting for a bottle of water. After 20 minutes in line, only to find out that they ran out of water, I missed the first Georgetown goal which was scored by junior Brett Campbell. From what I gathered from my friend sitting next to me, it was a ball which bounced around the UCLA box, and put in by Campbell aka Johnny on the Spot. Either way, a goal is a goal, it just would have been nice to see it. Word on the street is that Georgetown is a pretty decent school, you would think they would have more than one person taking money at the concession stand, and that they’d have more water available during a holiday game against the #1 team in the country which felt like it was being played in Dubai somewhere, but what do I know.

I returned to my seat with 5 minutes left in the first half (yes, seriously) which ended without much to write about. Okay, I’m ready for an action-packed second half, let’s do this.

UCLA vs Georgetown

At some point in between my concession stand journey and the start of the second half, UCLA head coach Jorge Salcedo decided to switch to a 2-striker formation, which appeared to be a 4-4-2 from the naked eye. This is where Abu Danladi was at his most dangerous, and he absolutely gave the Georgetown defense nightmares in the second half.

While the weather may have cooled off a bit in the second half, the play on the field was more heated than before.

Georgetown was able to get a quick goal in the 46th minute when they were awarded a free kick in the middle of the field from 30+ yards out. With the free kick being in the middle of the field, and a right-footed Brandon Allen taking the kick, it didn’t appear to be a dangerous situation. However, the UCLA defense was unable to deal with a ball played directly in the middle of their box, and Georgetown sophomore Arun Basuljevic, who was voted Big Ten Freshman of the Year last season, got on the end of Allen’s free kick and played a looping header over 5’11” UCLA goalkeeper Juan Cervantes who watched the ball sail into his net.

2-0 Georgetown.

UCLA came out firing after the second goal, desperate to keep working for a result. In the 48th minute, UCLA’s Jackson Yueill, who is a member of the USMNT U-18 team and who was dangerous throughout the match, found himself with an opportunity in Georgetown’s box, only for his shot to find the outside of the net for a goal kick. A few minutes later, Danladi had an open shot at the top of the Georgetown box, only for his shot to find the hands of Georgetown freshman goalkeeper JT Marcinkowski, who is also a member of the U-18 National Team pool. Needless to say, there was talent on display at all positions on the field, in a heated #1 vs #14 matchup.

Abu Danladi continued to assert himself on the match in the 52nd minute when he was involved in some hold-up play in the box, laying it off to a teammate whose shot resulted in a UCLA corner. A few minutes later, Danladi had another opportunity of his own, a wide open header in the Georgetown box which was another easy save for Georgetown keeper JT Marcinkowski. UCLA was starting to threaten, against a Georgetown back line which looked a bit shaky.

It is worth noting, actually, that both back lines looked shaky in possession throughout the match. There were a number of unforced turnovers, bad passes, and both goalkeepers were guilty of kicking the ball out of bounds in back to back possessions despite not being put under pressure.

Anyway, back to the action, and guess who? In the words of Marc Jackson, “momma there goes that man again”, Abu Danladi finds the ball in the 56th minute and runs directly at the Georgetown back line, only for the ball to be cleared away. It’s only 11 minutes into the second half, and I already need another water break. Oh wait, I didn’t get the first water break. Well hopefully these guys are staying hydrated when they have the chance, because the pace of play is electric, thanks mainly to the Georgetown students and fans who lined the field and provided an excellent atmosphere.

Georgetown soccer fans vs UCLA

Georgetown students adding to an electric atmosphere at Shaw Field

Danladi was given another opportunity on goal, this time being set up by strike partner and fellow Ghanaian Abdullah Adam, but Georgetown keeper JT Marcinkowski was once again cool under pressure.

UCLA’s freshman sensation Jackson Yueill was once again able to assert himself on the match in the 68th minute when the ball was crossed to the left side of the Georgetown box. Yueill’s teammate found him on the top of the 18, and Yueill was able to take a touch and set himself up for a right-footed shot which deflected off of a Georgetown defender and smashed off of the crossbar, with Georgetown keeper JT Marcinkowski this time appearing to be beaten. The ball stayed in play, and Marcinkowski was forced to make a save directly in front of the left side of his goal, which resulted in a UCLA corner kick. Needless to say, UCLA was pounding on the door.

Following the corner kick, Georgetrown strikers Alex Muyl and Brandon Allen were given a much-needed break, with both of them working hard to keep the ball and work extremely hard in the severe heat.

From a tactical standpoint, both teams were able to get wide play out of their outside backs in the 4-4-2 formation. UCLA’s Chase Gasper, who is from Alexandria and attended Gonzaga College High School in Washington, DC, was able to make a darting run up the left side of the field in the 70th minute. The hometown sophomore’s run up the field resulted in UCLA winning a free kick from around 25 yards out. The free kick was taken by Jackson Yueill, which was initially cleared by Georgetown, but the ball eventually found its way to Abu Danladi, deflects and bounces in the Georgetown box, and is finished by Jackson Yueill to make it 2-1. UCLA grabs the ball out of the net, and game on.

Two minutes later, Abu Danladi is played in behind the Georgetown back line off of a punt from UCLA goalkeeper Juan Cervantes, but instead of going to goal himself, he opts for the unselfish option and lays it off for a teammate, who was ruled to be in an offside position.

Another two minutes go by, and somehow Abu Danladi is able to create yet another scoring chance, this one being probably the most important of the match. Danladi finds the ball outside of the box, runs into the heart of the Georgetown defense, and appears to be taken down for a UCLA penalty kick. No call, however, and the traveling UCLA fans go ballistic. Following the ensuing corner kick, play is stopped and UCLA head coach Jorge Salcedo is spoken to by the referee, with the head coach visibly upset at the referee’s decision. In all fairness, he did appear to have an argument, with this being a crucial point in the match which could have resulted in the game being tied.

With 15 minutes left, former Loyola player Larry Ndjock, now playing for UCLA in his senior season, has a ball sit up for him which he crushes on the volley, only for JT Marcinkowski to push it over the bar in an amazing reaction save.

With Georgetown strikers Brandon Allen and Alex Muyl being reintroduced to the match, things started to turn in favor of the Hoyas. UCLA goalkeeper Juan Cervantes was starting to be put under pressure, and not just by the Georgetown players. The fans behind his goal were harassing him throughout the second half, including a pretty clever Finding Nemo Seagulls chant of “Juan Juan Juan Juan”.

UCLA goalkeeper Juan Cervantes hears it from the home Georgetown fans

UCLA goalkeeper Juan Cervantes hears it from the home Georgetown fans

The rest of the game involves an impressive (and probably unnecessary) flip throw from UCLA’s Seyi Adekoya which ended up going out of bounds. This ends up being the last notable threat on the Georgetown goal, with the Hoyas’ back line and goalkeeper being put under pressure throughout the second half. UCLA actually appeared to have three forwards with 8 minutes remaining in the match, and possibly as a result, Georgetown ends up getting their third goal (and the proverbial “nail in the coffin”), with junior Brett Campbell getting his second goal of the match. Both Georgetown forwards who were reintroduced, and whose hard work and skillful play had such a positive impact on the match, were involved in the goal. Alex Muyl and Brandon Allen were both credited with assists on the goal.

Okay, now I really need a water break, time to find a 7-11. And to top it off, as the game is winding down, Georgetown fans serenade the UCLA players, coaches and fans with a chant that they’re sure to remember on their long trip back to the West Coast.

“OOOOVVVVEERRRRRRAAAAAATED!”

 

 

 

DMV US Soccer Development Academy Recap

USDA

The 2015-2016 Fall USSDA season has kicked off. A few clubs had matches last weekend, but with this weekend being the first matches for many clubs in the area, this will be our first USSDA recap for the 2015-16 season. Below are the results and recaps for each club, in alphabetical order. Please note- we will likely only be covering u15/16 and u17/18 action for the new future.

Baltimore Armour

Baltimore Armour

This weekend was the first time Baltimore Armour, the new Development Academy club made up of Pipeline, Sac, Bays, and PSA, was in action during the regular season. Their u17/18’s and u15/16’s hosted Philly Union at Covenant Park in Columbia, a tough first test for the new club.

Baltimore Armour’s u17/18 side dropped its first match of the season, 6-0 to a tough Philadelphia Union squad who have been together for some time. Philadelphia goals were scored by Tiger Graham (2 goals), Joseph DeZart, and Yosef Samuel who had a hat trick.

The u15/16’s also had a tough match, dropping to the Union 5-1. Armour’s u15/16 side had a penalty kick saved in the first half, and also hit the crossbar. They turned in a much better performance in the second half. Philly goals were scored by Brenden Aaronson, Anthony Fontana, Justin McMaster, and Darius Lewis who had a brace. Baltimore Armour goal was credited to Jacob Williams.

Things don’t get any easier for either Baltimore Armour side. They travel to Bethesda-Olney next, followed by two away games in Connecticut against tough opponents, another away game against PA Classics, only to return home to face New York Red Bulls.

Bethesda-Olney

Bethesda OlneyBethesda-Olney’s u15/16 and u17/18 teams both traveled to Purchase, New York to take on Everton FC Westchester on Saturday. It is both team’s first games of their 2015-2016 season, after impressive campaigns last season.

The u17/18’s were able to earn a 0-0 away draw.

Correction: According to Bethesda-Olney’s Twitter account, their u17/18 team were able to earn a 3-0 victory. Goalscorers yet to be confirmed.

In u15/16 action, Bethesda-Olney drew Everton FC Westchester 1-1. Goal scorers have not yet been reported on the USSDA website.

Both clubs will host Baltimore Armour next Saturday at Richard Montgomery High School.

DC United

DC United AcademyIn their second games of the season following opening victories for both teams against NJCSA, DC United‘s U17/18 and u15/16 teams squared off against New York Red Bulls at the NYRB Training Facility in Whippany, NJ in an intriguing pair of MLS club matchups.

In u17/18 action, DC United earned an impressive 5-1 away win against their NY rivals thanks to goals from Nicolas Brown, Chris Durkin, Carson Jeffris, Lucas Mendes, and Miles Robinson.

DC United’s u15/16 team was not as lucky, falling to NY Red Bulls 5-1. DC United’s goal was scored by Colin Brezniak, formerly of the Philly Union.

Next up for DC United, they travel to New York where they face BW Gottschee and Albertson SC in back-to-back away games next weekend.

 

 

 

 

 

Recap: Navy vs Ohio State

 

Glenn Warner Soccer Facility

We took a trip to Annapolis on Sunday to watch Navy soccer take on Ohio State at the Glenn Warner Soccer Facility, located directly on the water in downtown Annapolis at the United States Naval Academy.

Coming off of a 3-2 overtime loss to a tough opponent in Oakland this past Friday, Navy head coach Dave Brandt and his team were hoping to put in an impressive home performance to improve their record to 2-1-1, going into two straight away games against Longwood and University of Maryland, respectively.

The Midshipmen were dominant throughout the match, and the only thing more beautiful than the waterfront background surrounding the pitch was Navy’s tactical and patient play. In what appeared to be a 4-2-3-1 formation with Senior Derek Vogel leading the line as the lone striker, very rarely was their back line left unprotected against an Ohio State team which preferred a more wide open attacking formation, made up of 3 and sometimes 4 attacking players.

Navy’s 2 holding mids stayed disciplined and patient throughout the match, and could usually be found directly in front of their back line whenever Ohio State was able to win the ball. Navy was also able to drop 10, and sometimes 11, players behind the ball during most of Ohio State’s buildup.

From a defensive standpoint, Navy’s back line- made up of freshman Ericson Bean, sophomore Dylan Struthers, sophomore Thomas Moore, and senior standout right back Michael Parker (from Owings, MD and who attended DeMatha Catholic High School in Hyattsville)- looked strong, compact, and disciplined throughout most of the match. Their outside backs had no problem flying up the wing and joining the attack whenever necessary. Defensively, they were able to deal with whatever Ohio State threw at them, anchored by Senior goalkeeper Jackson Morgan who posted 2 saves, one of them being at point blank range from a wide open Ohio State player within 15 yards.

Navy’s defensive efforts from their back line and holding mids was paired with tidy play from their center attacking mid, sophomore Daniel Zaremba. Very rarely did Zaremba turn the ball over. His vision, movement, decision making, and close touch in traffic frustrated Ohio State for the final 2/3 of the match, after coming on as a sub in the first half.

Things got started off in the 17th minute when striker Derek Vogel was almost handed an opportunity. Ohio State’s center back played a poor pass out of the back, directly to a Navy player, who laid it off for Vogel whose effort failed to test the goalkeeper.

11 minutes later, senior Thomas Shiiba had a wide open look from the left edge of the 18-yard box after a Navy midfielder was able to drive at the center of OSU’s defense and lay it off to him, but his effort sailed over the goal.

In the ensuing buildup for Ohio State, in the 29th minute, #19 Marcus McCrary of Ohio State, who was active and very dangerous throughout the match, found himself with an open opportunity in front of goal. He tried to beat Navy goalkeeper Jackson Morgan near post, but his shot found the outside of the net.

Things started to get chippy around the 34th minute. Senior right back Michael Parker was able to keep the ball while under pressure from an Ohio State player, and was able to win a free kick after some heated physical play. A minute later, Daniel Zaremba, who had just come on as a substitute, drove into the box and appeared to have an argument for a penalty, but the referee deemed the OSU player’s tackle to be a clean one.

It didn’t take Navy long to get on the scoreboard after things heated up. Sophomore Aubrey Jones found the back of the net for Navy’s first goal, after he was played in for an open shot on the left-hand side of the box by sophomore Brock Dudley.

Ohio State was able to earn a free kick in the 43rd minute, but the effort resulted in a routine save by goalkeeper Jackson Morgan. The Buckeyes were then almost able to level the score right before half when #21 Jacob Duska found himself open in front of the Navy goal, but senior Michael Parker was able to deal with it and preserve the first half shutout through the same physical play that he asserted throughout the match.

1-0 Navy at halftime.

In the second half, Navy continued their dominating performance. In the 57th minute, Daniel Zaremba was able to dribble into the box and find himself with a clear opportunity, but Ohio State goalkeeper Chris Froschauer was able to make the save.

Jackson Morgan was able to make a save of his own three minutes later, and an impressive one. Danny Jensen from Ohio State found himself with a wide open shot from 15 yards out, which Morgan stoned from point blank range to conserve his clean sheet. This was a clear opportunity for Ohio State to level the score, one which Morgan denied to give his team a boost in confidence and lift the home crowd.

In the 71st minute, Ohio State were reduced to 10 men when junior defender Tyler Kidwell was sent off after being given a second yellow card on a play in his own box, which appeared to be either an intentional hand ball, or a push on a Navy player.

Navy, as a result, was awarded a penalty kick. Senior Derek Vogel stepped up to take the spot kick, but shot it right at the OSU goalkeeper in a poor effort.

Daniel Zaremba was unlucky to not find the back of the net a minute later, after having a shot in the box which deflected for a corner kick.

In the 76th minute, Vogel made up for his missed PK and converted an open header for Navy’s second goal, assisted by Brock Dudley who posted his second assist for the Midshipmen.

Navy soccer vs Ohio State

Navy was able to finish off the visiting OSU side in the 82nd minute, when Thomas Shiiba dribbled through a pair of OSU defenders and finished his shot past the OSU goalkeeper to complete a dominating performance by Dave Brandt’s Navy team.

For more information on the victory, including a video interview with Thomas Shiiba, visit the official recap over at Navy’s website.

Up next, Navy will head to Farmville, VA on Friday as they take on Longwood, followed by a tough opponent the following Monday- the University of Maryland Terrapins, in College Park.

 

 

Weekend Academy Recap April 18 and 19, 2015

Another weekend in the books for the local DMV 2015 Spring Academy season, a weekend which saw hot temperatures on AND off of pitches as local Academy clubs continue to fight for points which are coming harder and harder to come by.

Baltimore Bays Chelsea vs DC United

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On Saturday, Baltimore Bays’ u13/14, u15/16, and u17/18 teams squared off against DC United at Hammond High School in Columbia.

First up was u17/18 action, with DC United taking control early in the match. DC United and future University of Maryland Terp Eryk Williamson got an earl goal in the 9th minute, and 2 minutes later Stephane Kouama put United up 2-0. Williamson added his second goal of the game, and 18th of the season, in the 23rd minute as DC United went into halftime with a comfortable 3-0 lead.

Things got worse for the Bays when defender Gregory Andreou was sent off for a second yellow card, and the floodgates opened. DC United were able to cruise to a 9-0 victory thanks to braces by Jorge Calix (goals in the 73rd and 88th minutes), Lucas Mendes (53rd and 69th minutes), and Daniel Reeves (56th and 66th minutes).

In u15/16 action, the temperature heated up on the field during a match which was a lot closer than the 5-0 scoreline reflected.

DC United forward Raheem Lawal got DC United off to an early 1-0 victory, and the Bays conceded a second early goal in the 9th minute when Carson Jeffris put the visitors up 2-0. However the Bays continued to fight back and saw a goal disallowed on a questionable offsides call right before the half, when Matt Bailey followed in his own shot for a goal off of a corner kick.

Things got worse for the Bays in the second half when Olufela “Fela” Osifeso appeared to be fouled in the box for a penalty, but the referee decided to swallow his whistle instead of pointing to the spot.

DC United went up 3-0 in the 53rd minute through a goal by Luis Rodriguez-Luna, and a second half brace by SahrFelix Sandy saw the visiting DC United rebound from their 1-0 defeat last week to Philadelphia Untion with a 5-0 victory.

In u14/15 action, DC United defeated the Bays in a 7-0 victory. Goals were scored by Dan Benevides (2), Ryan Jones (2), Noah Nwosu (2), and Jonathan Godette.

Bethesda-Olney vs Everton FC Westchester

Elsewhere on Saturday, Bethesda Olney’s u17/18 and u15/16 teams squared off against visiting Everton FC Westchester at Richard Montgomery High School.

The u17/18’s were able to secure a 4-0 victory thanks to goals from Ibrahima Kouyata (2 goals), Stephen Harlan IV, and Alex La Noire.

In u15/16 action, Everton FC Westchester was able to escape with three points thanks to a first half goal from Shane Devine.

Bethesda-Olney’s u14/15 team defeated Lehigh Valley 1-0 thanks to a goal from William Tichy.

Baltimore Bays vs Everton FC Westchester

The Bays’ u15/16 and u17/18 teams played a double header this weekend, facing off against FC Westchester at Harford Community College on Sunday.

The Bays u17/18 team had their best showing of the Spring season, going up 1-0 early thanks to a goal from Randy Rowe. Everton FC Westchester leveled the scoring right before halftime thanks to a goal from Colin Furlong.

In the second half, Frank Assaro was able to get on the end of a set piece for a late goal (82nd minute) that put the Bays up 2-1, but the home team wasn’t able to hang on when Everton FC Westchester scored a late counter-attack goal through Simeon Okoro to escape with a draw.

In u15/16 action, the game remained scoreless through the first half. However, things livened up in the second half when Olufela “Fela” Osifeso put the Bays up 1-0 with an incredible individual effort and his first of the season.

Everton FC Westchester forward Dantae Greer, who came into the match with 13 goals on the season, was able to score the tying goal in the 48th minute. Greer also scored the game winner in the 63rd minute, taking his goal tally to an impressive 15 goals on the season as the Bays were unable to hold onto the second-half lead or earn any points in a 2-1 defeat.

 

 

 

 

 

Weekend Academy Recap

USDA

Another weekend is in the books for DMV area US Soccer Development Academy teams, with a few teams having the weekend off.

 

Baltimore Bays Chelsea

Baltimore Bays’ u14, u16, and u17/18 teams hosted visiting FC Delco teams at Troy Park in Elkridge on Sunday. The u17/18 team kicked things off, struggling to deal with an FC Delco side whose spirits were high after a win last weekend against Seacoast United. Delco was able to squeek by with a 1-0 victory thanks to a goal by CJ Smolyn. Bays goalkeeper Chase Vosvick (Twitter) was sent off in the second half after a very questionable red card for a foul outside of the box.

Next up was the Bays’ u15/16 team, who was able to get a result at home against FC Delco’s u15/16 squad which was 1-1 coming into Sunday’s match. Matthew Bailey (Twitter) was able to get an early goal in the first half, with Brady O’Connor (Twitter) scoring the second first-half goal. In the second half, FC Delco had a player sent off and the Bays were able to close the game out against the short-handed FC Delco squad, with Bays Goalkeeper George Taylor (Twitter) securing the clean sheet.

The Bays’ u14 team had a tough day, dropping to FC Delco by a score of 10-1.

All three Bays teams will have a 2-week break, picking things back up on April 18th against DC United.

Bethesda-Olney

Bethesda-Olney’s u13/14, u15/16, and u17/18 teams all hosted PA Classics over the weekend, with all three squads playing the traveling PA Classics teams at Richard Montgomery High School on Saturday.

The u17/18 team kicked things off on Saturday, securing a 3-2 victory thanks to a hat trick by Sam Sergi (Twitter). Sergi got a first-half goal in the 31′, and scored the remainder of his hat trick in the second half in the 51st and 69th minute. His last goal proved the be the winner, after PA Classics scored two goals in the second half- Aaron Robinson and McKinley Curran netting in the 47th and 85th minutes, respectively.

Next up was the u15/16 team, who were also able to secure a victory with a 4-0 win versus PA Classics’ u15/16 team. Goalscorers were not yet reported on the USSDA website, match report can be found here.

And lastly, Bethesda Olney’s u13/14 team was able to earn a 2-1 victory against PA Classics’ u13/14 team, with goals scored by Alessandro Allen (3′) and Gabe Segal (43′).

Bethesda Olney’s three Academy teams will travel to PDA on Saturday, April 11th.

DC United

DC United were not in action in academy play this weekend. Their u17/18 team reportedly played against Baltimore Celtic in a friendly (3 30 minute periods), with Celtic coming out on top 2-1 thanks to goals by Tyler Gabarra and Connor Smith.

Baltimore Bays, SAC, Pipeline SC, and Pro Soccer Academy Combine to Form Baltimore Armour

Baltimore Armour

Baltimore Armour

US Soccer has officially announced that four Baltimore-area teams- Baltimore Bays, SAC, Pipeline SC, and Pro Soccer Academy- will combine in the fall to form Baltimore Armour, which will compete in the US Development academy starting in the 2015-16 season.

Baltimore Armour Technical Director John Ellinger is excited about the news, which was reported today via press release which announced three other new Academy teams for 2015-16: Boca United, New York City FC, and Sacramento Republic FC.

Said Ellinger:

“Everyone involved with Baltimore Armour are extremely excited about being given this opportunity of full U.S. Soccer Development Academy status; it is a dream come true. The Baltimore area has a strong history of developing players who have played for the various U.S. National Team programs and at the professional level. We look forward to the challenge of creating a stronger player base for many years to come in the Baltimore area.”

 

Baltimore Armour will be sponsored by Under Armour. The new Academy team comes as a breath of fresh air for Baltimore-area soccer, with the Baltimore Bays Academy Program struggling in recent years due to the rise of Baltimore Celtic SC which saw a number of coaches and players leave for the new club.

The official announcement can be viewed here.

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