2018 has been a big year for the Quakes Girls’ Academy. They completed their first season in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy system and are now underway in their second. Many of the players and Academy Director Andres Deza were recognized for their achievements after the completion of the inaugural season, receiving awards and callups to the U.S. National Teams.
On the field, the U-15s and U-17s had standout seasons. The U-15s finished first in the Northwest U-15 division with 70 points, a 22-5-4 record and a +51-goal differential. The U-15s took an impressive 2.2581 points per game in the regular season, and finished in third place overall after a successful playoff run.
The U-17 squad finished in second place in the Western Conference with 73 points and an 24-6-1 record. The team also reached the semifinals of the Girls' U-17 Academy Championships where they fell 1-0 to the Nationals of Pontiac, Mich. after a stoppage-time goal.
Academy Coach of the Year
As a result of the Quakes Girls’ Academy’s strong first season, Academy Director Andres Deza was named the Western Conference Coach of the Year in July. According to U.S. Soccer, the Coach of the Year award is presented to team leaders that best exemplify the U.S. Soccer key qualities of a coach, including, but are not limited to, the ability to read, analyze and understand the game; create a game-like, reality-based training environment; demonstrate a holistic approach; serve as a role model; show genuine interest in players; and actively listen and communicate openly.
With his role, Deza coached the U-17s in the 2017-18 season while overseeing the Girls’ Academy program, ensuring that the teams are performing and training at the highest level. During the current season, Deza is taking the lead on the U-15 and U-17 teams, while continuing to manage the program.
The U-15s and U-17s’ performance in the 2017-18 season also saw four of the players named to the Western Conference Best XI: defender Andrea Kitahata (U-15), midfielder Sophie Jones (U-17), forward Abigail Borchers (U-15) and forward Mia Fontana (U-17).
U-16/17 West Conference Best XI
GOALKEEPER: Rachel Black (SC del Sol).
DEFENDERS: Kellie Pagador (Placer United Soccer Club), Andrea Kitahata (San Jose Earthquakes), Smith Hunter (Reign Academy), Sally Menti (Crossfire Premier).
MIDFIELDERS: Sophie Jones (San Jose Earthquakes), Zoe Burns (Crossfire Premier), Jaelyn Eisenhart (LAFC Slammers).
FORWARDS: Simone Jackson (LAFC Slammers), Abigail Borchers (San Jose Earthquakes), Mia Fontana (San Jose Earthquakes).
Kitahata made 15 starts in 17 appearances for the Quakes Girls’ Academy in the 2017-18 season, scoring five goals. Kitahata was also called up the U.S. U-15 Girls’ National Team multiple times during the 2017-18 season.
Borchers started and played in 28 games, scoring 25 goals for the Quakes Girls’ U-17 squad. She joined the U.S. Under-16 Girls’ National Team that traveled to Portugal to participate in the UEFA Women’s International Development Tournament in May.
Fontana scored a goal for every game that she started last season with a total tally of 31. Fontana also received many callups to the U.S. WNT throughout the year, and most recently joined the U-19 U.S. WNT for two matches against the Netherlands in November.
It is hard to talk about the success of the Girls’ Academy without mentioning defensive midfielder Sophie Jones. Jones was named Player of the Year in the Western Conference at the U-17 level and named to the conference Western Best XI following the 2017-18 season. She helped the Quakes U-17 Girls’ Academy finish second in the Western Conference and make it to the semifinals in the Academy Championships. She made 19 starts and scored four goals in the 2017-18 season.
She also received numerous callups to the U.S. U-17 Women’s National Team, helping the USA win the 2018 Concacaf Women’s U-17 Championship and qualify for the U-17 Women’s World Cup Uruguay in November. At the World Cup, Jones started and played the full 90 minutes in all of the U.S. games.
Most recently, Jones was nominated for U.S. Soccer’s Young Female Player of the Year along with eventual winner Tierna Davidson, Maya Doms, Sunshine Fontes and Allyson Sentnor.
New Season, New Challenge
The Quakes Girl’s Academy 2018-19 season is now underway, and after 13 games the U-15s and U-17s are off to a strong start in the Northwest Division: The U-15s are 11-0-2 and the U-17s are 5-5-3, while the U-19s are 3-8-2.