Angel Heredia became joined a select group of San Jose Earthquakes Youth Academy players to receive an invite to participate in the US U-17 Reisdency Program when he got a call from Bradenton, Florida last week.
The San Jose native recently wrapped up the Quakes' first season at the USSF Development Academy level. Heredia was discovered in the club's Pre-Academy program, but was a key addition to the U-16s after being called up in March. In 15 games, he scored one goal and had 10 assists while playing as an attacking midfielder.
One year ago, goalkeeper Kendall McIntosh and right back Travis Pillon each received invites. McIntosh went on to earn the starting keeper spot for the US at the U-17 FIFA World Cup in Mexico last June. Also joining Heredia in Residency will be Earthquakes U-16 player Nedine Tucakovic.
Heredia will live and train on the IMG Academy campus in Bradenton, Florida until next summer. Before departing for the East Coast, the creativer attacker sat down with SJEarthquakes.com for an interview:
SJEarthquakes.com: You just got called up to US Residency.
What was your reaction when you got that phone call?
Angel Heredia: I was really excited, and shocked. It’s so surreal. I wanted to shout and just say, “Yes!” I’m very excited and looking forward to the opportunity.
SJEQ: Were your parents pretty excited for you?
AH: They were very excited for me. Actually, my mom got the phone call first. She told me to call Sam Pugsley (former Quakes Fan Relations employee and current team administrator for the US U-17s).
SJEQ: Your parents must be a little bummed they won’t have
an extra body around the house to do chores.
AH: (Laughs) Yeah, it’s going to be pretty quiet.
SJEQ: Tell me about your style of play. What do you think
you bring to the residency program?
AH: I think I bring a quick speed of play. I want to move fast when the pace is slow. I can keep the ball and I like attacking.
SJEQ: Having played in the San Jose Earthquakes Academy, how
did that help you get to where you are right now?
AH: The Academy has been great. I would like to thank my coaches. They changed my game completely from before I got here. They showed me where I could improve my game and they helped me want to improve. I improved every day, every practice, every game.
SJEQ: What was the best piece of advice an Earthquakes
Academy coach gave you last year?
AH: Keep your head high and always go forward.
SJEQ: What is your ultimate soccer goal?
AH: To play for FC Barcelona … and the San Jose Earthquakes, of course.
SJEQ: So you can’t like Lionel Messi at all…
AH: (Laughs) No, I love Lionel Messi. He’s my role model.
SJEQ: Is he a guy you model your game after?
AH: Definitely. I watch every game and enjoy watching the moves he does on the ball, his speed of play and his vision. He’s great.
SJEQ: Marquis White and Stephen Wondolowski are going to be
coaching the group this year. What do you know about those two and what kinds
of positive interactions have you had with them?
AH: Last year, they were great. The positivity around them is great and now having them as head coaches, I think it’s going to be even better this upcoming season. I think all the players here are excited to have them.
SJEQ: Do you have a favorite Earthquakes player?
AH: Chris Wondolowski because he loves scoring.