The Earthquakes Under-14 Academy team continued scoring goals at a rapid clip.
Oscar Govea notched a hat trick in a 5-2 win over Merced Atlas Soccer Academy on April 11 at John Mise Park in San Jose, marking the fourteenth time the exciting squad has scored at least three goals in a match this season.
All three Academy teams are back in action this week. The U-16's will need a late push over their final nine games to make the playoffs, and the U-18's are in a strong position to advance. The U-16 and U-18's will host rival De Anza Force on Saturday at the Mustangs Soccer Complex in Danville; at 11 a.m. (U-18's) and 1:30 p.m. (U-16's).
Academy Technical Director Chris Leitch is expecting two hard-fought battles.
“Even though they're out of the playoff hunt, you can throw regular season records out of the window,” Leitch said of De Anza. "When it comes to these two teams facing each other, it's always going to be a battle."
The big picture remains bright for the Quakes academy program. Under-17 players who faced, and often fared well against, world-class competition from Germany, Brazil, Spain and Qatar at the Generation adidas Cup in Frisco, Texas, can apply what they've learned in league play.
The U-18 team (16-6-2, 50 points) is tied for second place with the Vancouver Whitecaps FC in the Northwest Division of the West Conference. Both teams are three points behind Seattle Sounders FC. MLS teams have come to dominate the academy divisions as the league continues to mature and improve at all levels.
One thing is clear: It’s go-time for the Quakes’ U-16 team (10-9-5, 35 points), which is in fourth place and three spots out of a wild card berth.
“We’ve got to go hunting for three points in every game for the 16's, and that’s what the mentality is,” Leitch said. “I honestly think we can do it. It’s just a matter of putting our best foot forward with the guys and having a belief that they can do it.”
The Quakes U-14's will host Diablo Futbol Club at 4:30 p.m. Saturday at John Mise Park. The Quakes beat Diablo Futbol Club 6-1 on Feb. 14 as Jason Yanez had a game-high two goals.