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ACADEMY: Boys' DA coaches preview the 2019-20 season

The 2019-20 U.S. Soccer Development Academy is officially underway and the excitement of the Earthquakes Academy is at an all-time high with new Homegrowns on the horizon.

This season, there will be a few changes to the USSDA. The Quakes' Boys teams will only have five teams competing in the USSDA (U-13s, U-14s, U-15s, U-17s and U-19s) while our U-12s, U-11s and U-10s will participate against competition separate from the USSDA. 

The biggest change however, is the USSDA adopting a brand new league format where the U-15, U-17 and U-19 Academy teams are split into two tiers. The Quakes' teams will be in Tier 1, which includes every MLS Academy and other top-performing USSDA teams; Tier 2 features all other USSDA teams. Ahead of the new season, we sat down with our coaches to hear what they're excited and hopeful for in 2019-20. 

 

U-19 Boys led by Head Coach Eder Quintanilla

 

What we’re excited for: New USSDA format

Eder Quintanilla: “It’s interesting that we have a new format in the DA [U.S. Soccer Development Academy]. The new format splits the DA into two tiers. We’re in the first tier, with all of the MLS Academies and the best DA teams. We’re going to have stronger competition and stronger rivals. We’re going to have bigger games, which is good for the development of our players.”

When will the Homegrowns play?: Gilbert Fuentes, Cade Cowell and Jacob Akanyirige 

EQ: “Gilbert, Cade and Jacob are training with the first team every day. They have different things that they need to do. They need to be with the first team and with [USL affiliate] Reno [1868 FC]. If they need games, the U-19s will help them in that aspect. They have other responsibilities so when the time comes, Matias, his coaching staff and the Academy staff will decide if they will play with us. Gilbert and Jacob can only play with the U-19s, Cade can still play with the U-17s.”

Fun fact: Training with the first team

EQ: “I’m very excited about how Matias Almeyda is giving a lot of chances to the Academy players. To be in training every week, it’s very good for them to face what could be their next step. Having that interaction with professional players is awesome and it didn’t happen before on a regular basis like it’s happening now.”

 


 

U-17 Boys led by Head Coach Luciano Fusco

 

What we’re excited for: Building a team and the Generation adidas Cup

Luciano Fusco: “With seven new players, we are very excited about how this group becomes a team under San Jose’s values. We are excited because we understand the value of becoming a team and that we want to have players that can fit into teams. For the players, it is very important to compete in an international competition like the GA Cup. It’s an age group that is followed by a lot by college coaches because they’re closer to the first team and they’re transitioning from being young players to young adults. That’s why some of the 17s can start practicing with the first team like Cade Cowell.”

Cade Cowell’s humility and opportunities with the U-17s

LF: “The situation with Cade is that we understand he wants to play for us. If he doesn’t play for the first team, if he doesn’t play for [USL affiliate] Reno [1868 FC] or our U-19s, he can play for the U-17s. In the case of the GA Cup, if Cade can play with the U-17s, he may be able to do it. That will depend exclusively on his schedule, with respect to his priorities with the first team and Reno. Having said that, there are also players like Casey Walls, who’s now training with the first team and the U-19s, could also play in the GA Cup with the U-17s. Cade has this special quality. Even though he’s a professional player right now, he keeps the most beautiful value that a kid can have, which is the love for the game. If you tell Cade that he needs to play for the U-17s, he always takes it with a smile, knowing it’s another opportunity to play the game that he loves; that quality he has, we love. He enjoys the game and he enjoys his teammates.”

Fun fact: This team includes several players from our neighboring clubs

LF: “We are trying to spend as much time as possible with other clubs in the community that are doing a very good job. We can bring players that have done well at these clubs and they can improve the quality of what we have right here. We are excited for that process. We give thanks to the community who have helped develop these players and hopefully they can excel in our club.”

 


 

U-15 Boys led by Head Coach Luciano Fusco

 

What we’re excited for: Creating goals and achieving them

Luciano Fusco: “I’m excited about making sure that we progress in learning our objectives. It’s a group that’s been doing well and we have enjoyed the group so far. With some players that we added to the group, we’re excited to see the progression with the new objectives that we have set for them.”

This group is full of talent

LF: “It’s a group formed with some very good players. It will be interesting to follow them to see if they can grow and become the best that they can be. Because of the quality that we have, it’s a group that we are excited to see how they can grow. Coach Dan DeGeer has had them for almost three years. He has done a very good job developing this group to where it’s at. It will take a lot of work and time to increase those levels of performance.”

Fun fact: This group just placed 2nd in Chinese Tournament

LF: “It was a very unique experience because the group made it all the way to the final. The best thing we got out of China was the experience for the kids in seeing how different certain things are in different countries. Our players having that experience was important for their personal development; more important than anything on the field. We believe that personal development comes with the biggest value that we can provide to the kids.”

 


 

U-14 Boys led by Head Coach Dan DeGeer

 

What we’re excited for: Meeting our individual and collective objectives

Dan DeGeer: “We’re excited about the team we’ve put together for this year. They are coming off a strong season last year and are full of excitement for the 2019-2020 season. They are a talented group but also very motivated to keep developing in order to reach their highest potential. I look forward to continuing their growth and meeting our objectives for the year.”

This will be an exciting season for this group 

DD: “Over the past two years, the majority of the group has developed well in our academy under Coaches Steve Sosa & Mark Christie. I have been fortunate to work with them on a fairly consistent basis as well. They are a committed and motivated team that wants to perform at a high level.”

Fun fact: This group will participate in International Competitions 

DD: “Having won the LA Galaxy Cup last year, the team is excited to participate in more top showcases like the USSDA Showcase & Man City Cup. The U-14 International Super Group at Man City Cup is filled with top competition including International & MLS Academies.”

 


 

U-13 Boys led by Head Coach Dan DeGeer

 

What we’re excited for: Building a new team culture 

Dan DeGeer: “I am looking forward to getting to know this group more. After a few weeks into preseason, I have really enjoyed their trainings and games. We have been focused on finding our rhythm and getting to know each other.”

This group is unique

DD: “The team has a wonderful mixture of skillful, physical and smart players. Something unique about this team is that we have a lot of part-time players that play with us and our Partner Clubs. We have built a strong connection with our Partner Clubs and we will be working closely together to continue developing these future talents.” 

Fun fact: Mark Christie passes the torch

DD: “One of the challenges of taking over this team was trying to remember all the nicknames that [U-12 head coach] Mark Christie gave to all the kids. I am getting there slowly but it will take some time.”

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