Academy Notebook: U16s set to begin 2013-2014 campaign

U-16 squad, led by Stephen Wondolowski, opens play on Sept. 14

Led by a group of seasoned returnees, the U16 San Jose Earthquakes Academy team will look to improve on an 11-11-6 mark from last year. The team won its final three matches of the 2012-13 campaign to give them some momentum heading into this season, where they look to jump back into the playoff picture.

Familiar faces will be leading the team as front man Stephen Wondolowski returns to the helm with trusted assistant Marquis White once again by his side. The two have been together with the Quakes since the 2010-11 season and will once again split the 16's and 18's. Both are bay area natives, Wondolowski from Danville and White from San Rafael. Wondolowski played collegately at UC Santa Cruz while White at the University of San Francisco, and they both returned to the bay area after their professional careers.

The list of returning players is impressive as well, headlined by Phillip Hausen and Jonathan Partida, the team’s top two scorers from a year ago. Hausen led the team last year with 8 goals in 11 starts, while Partida added 5 goals while starting 20 matches. Veteran midfielder Rory Birse and defender Nils Langstrom also return for their second seasons on the U16 squad.

The net will be minded by Remi Prieur, who started 10 games last season with the 16's, splitting time with JT Marcinkowski. Prieur, a native of France, should see a lot of action with Marcinkowski up with the 18s, and will look to build on what he learned this offseason while attending Manchester United Soccer Schools Camp in Manchester, England. He will be supported in net by Eduardo "Lalo" Solarzano, a native of Modesto.

Returners Theo Huxham, Justin Moreno, Shane Penner, and Dylan Yatsuke should see signicant increases in their roles as they look to make the jump from spot starters to full time. Penner's younger brother, Jacob, has joined this year's squad, continuing the trend of brothers following the leader into the Quakes program.

Rei Dorwart, Kevin De La Cruz and Isaias Pio all gained valuable experience making last year’s trip to Dallas for the postseason. The team will also see a boost after receiving two transfers from Northwest Division rival De Anza, as Rhys Pak and defender Chris Poulsen have joined the San Jose contingent.

The U16s will open the 2013-14 season at home Saturday, Sept. 14 at 12:30 p.m. against Crossfire Premiere of Redmond, WA. The Quakes battled Crossfire to a 1-1 draw in early February, before earning a convincing 3-1 victory over the wildcard-bound Crossfire on May 19 in Washington.

On Sunday, Sept. 15, San Jose will meet the Vancouver Whitecaps in Danville for a 1:30 start. The Quakes took both matches from Vancouver by 3-2 scores last season.

- Richter Media