Academy Notebook: U18s set for playoffs, open tryouts & RDS camp information

U-18s to begin playoffs Monday night, Quakes Academy to hold open tryouts in July

The U18 Academy team is set for the playoffs, starting Monday night, after a successful third season of existence.

“We are all very excited and focused for the playoffs. We’re ready to show the country what our Academy is made of,” said goalkeeper JT Marcinkowski, one of four players pulled up from the U16 squad for this week’s matches in Frisco, TX. 

“We had a plan for our 18s to make the playoffs by year three, and here we are. Now we want to be a consistent participant in the playoffs,” said Academy Director Fred Wilson.

Thirty-two teams will compete nationally in the postseason, 19 playoff teams and 13 from the wildcard bracket. Said Marcinkowski, “Even though this is our first trip to the playoffs. we’re not going to settle. We’re going to act like we’ve been there before and not be overwhelmed by the moment.”

The Quakes join Vancouver, Seattle and geographic rival De Anza as the four playoff representatives from the Northwest Division. The 32 teams are split into 8 four-team pools to begin, with only one team from each bracket advancing to the finals in Houston in mid-July.

San Jose’s draw includes the L.A. Galaxy, New England Revolution and Dallas Texans.

“We expect to win this group,” said Wilson. “The guys know anything can happen and we’ve added some new, talented players since the beginning of the season. We are playing better than when we faced these teams early in the year , and we got on quite a roll just to get into the playoffs.”

San Jose’s only loss in their last six matches was to division winner Vancouver, and the Quakes went 4-1-1 in that stretch. Relative to the teams in their draw, the Quakes dropped a tough match, 3-2, to Dallas during the Winter Showcase event in Florida this past December. Their match against the Galaxy was an uphill battle from the opening whistle, as L.A. scored in just the 2nd minute en route to a 4-0 victory. The Quakes did not  play the Revolution this season.

The first match will be against the Galaxy Monday night at the FC Dallas Sports Park. Tuesday night, the Quakes face off against the Revolution. Their final pool play match will be against the Texans Thursday afternoon.

Joining Marcinkowski from the U16 team on the U18 playoff roster are Amir Bashti, Alex Liua and Josh Morton. All of them started 11 or more matches with the Academy’s premier team this season, led by Morton’s 26, which tied him for most on the team with standout defender Trevor Long.  Liua finished the campaign with the third-most goals on the 18s with a total of 9 in his 24 starts.

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The Quakes Academy program will be holding open tryouts in July, and with the addition of an U14 team next season, there will be a tremendous influx of new talent in the program soon. The Quakes are expecting to add anywhere from 15-25 new faces into the fold for the 2013-14 season.

“We are constantly seeing kids, assessing them, and inviting them to our tryouts,” said Wilson. “We encourage our players to invite friends that they think are good enough to play at this level, and we even encourage fans to spread the word.”

Whether you’re new to the area, a late bloomer, or just under the radar, the Academy takes on all comers. From the initial tryout, some players will be invited back to train with the Academy and even participate in the pre-season.

“They spend a week with us on the campus at Cal State East Bay, 7 days and 6 nights. The players get a feel for what we expect regarding nutrition, training, and games. And we get to see what kind of teammates they are,” said Wilson. “This experienced gives us more information than we might be able to get from a tryout, workout or game situation.”

Beyond the initial tryout, there is a lot that goes into the decisions regarding who is selected ultimately, including academic. The Academy is truly searching for the best of the best. Said Wilson, “We are serious about getting the best kids, and want to ensure those kids are more than just good soccer players.”

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The Earthquakes Regional Development School Program camps are getting ready to fire up for the summer and the action is sure to be red hot! The camps will kick off at the beginning of July in San Jose and an East Bay camp will run for a majority of August in Union City.

The program will feature many coaches from the Quakes academy staff as well as members of the first team staff. This year, the Regional Development School (RDS) has teamed up with iSoccer to provide each participant with their own account so they can set, track and achieve the goals that they have in mind. iSoccer allows players to compare their stats and skills with other players, and even members of the MLS and WPS.

The RDS Prospect Training Program is tailored to fit any age and skill level, and each training session is led by top Earthquakes instructors. Each session is strategically designed to maximize each individual’s proficiency and tactical understanding of the game. Players of all skill levels between the ages of 4 and 14 are encouraged to join up for what will be an immersion into the craft of soccer.

Participants will also receive an official adidas Earthquakes training t-shirt, as well as other benefits relating to Earthquakes games and other events.

Registration information can be found via the following links:

South Bay https://korrio.com/groups/sjea-san-jose-region/programs

East Bay https://korrio.com/groups/sjea-east-bay-region/programs/

- Richter Media