Eight San Jose Earthquakes Academy squads have been named as top-25 teams in Top Drawer Soccer’s national rankings. The Quakes are well-represented in the top-25 lists with five Boys’ Academy teams (U-13s, U-14s, U-15s, U-17s and U-19s) and three Girls’ Academy teams (U-14s, U-16s and U-19s) making the cut.
U-19 Boys’ Academy (Nationally Ranked No. 22)
The U-19 Boys, coached by Eder Quintanilla, currently lead their U.S. Soccer Development Academy (USSDA) division standings with an undefeated 3-0-1 record. The Quakes are also first in their DA Cup standings with a 3-1-2 record and a +8 goal differential.
Player to watch: Cade Cowell
In the 2019-20 season, Homegrown midfielder Cade Cowell has become a regular for the U-19s despite being age-eligible for the U-17s. His incredible pace makes him a clear standout on the pitch and his technical ability has shown great improvements since signing with the first team in January this year.
U-17 Boys’ Academy (No. 14)
The U-17 Boys sit 2nd in USSDA league play this year with an undefeated 3-0-1 record and a +9 goal differential. In 2020, this group will have an important opportunity to make an impact at the Generation adidas Cup, an elite tournament featuring MLS Academies and international competition. The U-17s are currently third in their seven-team GA Cup Qualifying group so they will look to transfer the success they've had in USSDA league play into the final qualifying round.
Player to watch: Brandon Zelaya
Midfielder Brandon Zelaya arrived at the club prior to the 2019-20 USSDA season after being scouted at De Anza Force. Zelaya has already cemented his role as a leader, earning the captain's armband and leading the U-17s in scoring with seven goals in nine matches across all competitions.
U-15 Boys’ Academy (No. 2)
The U-15 boys, led by head coach Luciano Fusco, are a group to keep your eyes on for years to come. Leading into the 2019-20 USSDA season, the U-15s finished second in China’s Mare Nostrum Cup after defeating Russia’s FC Zenit and Germany’s TSG 1899 Hoffenheim. The U-15s currently hold a 7-1-3 record in USSDA play and have only lost to No. 3 ranked LAFC.
Player to watch: Emi Ochoa
Homegrown goalkeeper Emi Ochoa signed his first professional contract with the first team earlier this month and will continue to train and play with the U-15s.
U-14 Boys’ Academy (No. 4)
The Quakes U-14 and U-13 boys are led by head coach Dan DeGeer, who has played a vital role in developing the current U-15 squad into the elite team they are today. The U-14s currently have an undefeated 12-0-1 record in USSDA league play and have stacked an impressive +49 goal differential.
Player to watch: Jermaine Spivey
Jermaine Spivey, who led the U-13s in goals last season, is looking to maintain his run of form with a team-leading 11 goals to date in the 2019-20 season.
U-13 Boys’ Academy (No. 5)
The U-13s’ 11-2-0 record this season was enough to earn them a No. 5 status on Top Drawer’s national rankings. Even with two losses, the Quakes managed putting together a +47 goal differential.
Player to watch: Kaelen Dougan
At 11 years of age, Dougan is the U-13s’ third-highest goal scorer with six goals in 14 matches. Since arriving at the Quakes in 2017, Dougan has consistently played with players one year his senior after showcasing his pace and playmaking ability on the wing.
U-19 Girls’ Academy (No. 21)
We’ve witnessed a complete turnaround with the U-19s this year. Last season, the U-19s finished last in the USSDA Northwest Division with only three wins. This year, the girls lead the Northwest Division with a 6-3-0 record and to top it off, they’re also on top of their DA Cup group with an undefeated 2-0-1 record.
Player to watch: Kassandra Ceja
U-19s forward Kassandra Ceja is currently third in the nation in goals scored per game (1.5) after tallying 12 goals in eight matches. The U-19s have only won when Ceja scores, making her the team’s most valuable attacking player in the 2019-20 season.
U-16 Girls’ Academy (No. 1)
The 2018-19 U-15 USSDA champions haven’t lost their edge this season. Following nine league matches, the U-16s lead the Northwest Division with a 7-2-0 record and a six-point lead over rivals California Thorns who sit in second.
Player to watch: Julia Saunicheva
Winger Julia Saunicheva leads the U-16s with seven goals in the 2019-20 season. The UCLA commit has played an important role in the U-16s’ attack with the ability to consistently win 1v1 matchups with opposing defenders.
U-14 Girls’ Academy (No. 9)
The U-14s have been impressive this season, earning an 8-1-0 record in their first nine matches. Much of the team’s success is due to the competitive atmosphere at their practices. On a weekly basis, the Girls’ Academy staff evaluates a pool of U-14 girls to see who will compete with their USSDA squad or their less-competitive NorCal Premier Soccer League squad. The “A-team, B-team” style of competition has given the U-14s the perfect foundation to hit the ground running in their first USSDA season.
Player to watch: Angel Akanyirige
Does the last name sound familiar? The sister of Homegrown defender Jacob Akanyirige has chosen the Quakes as her Academy team for the 2019-20 season. In November, Angel was called to a USYNT Talent Identification Camp and has also played in multiple matches for the U-15s at the midfield position. With all the physical attributes you want an attacking player, it will be interesting to see how Angel develops with the Quakes.