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breaking news : En Route: U.S. Soccer Announces Development Academy Awards for 2010-11 season

Friday, July 8, 2011

En Route: U.S. Soccer Announces Development Academy Awards for 2010-11 season
Arsenal FC’s Raul Mendiola and PDA’s Christian Hernandez win Player of the Year awards.
By J.R. Eskilson
Jul 8, 2011 1:00:00 PM

This week, U.S. Soccer announced the post season awards for both age groups in the Development Academy. Players Development Academy midfielder and Philadelphia Union prospect Christian Hernandez won the award for the U-18 age group. The 17-year-old is the second MLS academy affiliated player to win the award in the four-year history of the U.S. Soccer Federation run league. FC Dallas forward Ruben Luna first won the award in 2009.

Hernandez, who lists his nationality and country of citizenship as Mexico on his Development Academy profile, scored 16 goals this year while leading his squad to the top of the Liberty Division standings. The midfielder helped his squad secure a berth to Finals Week two weeks ago during the playoffs where PDA won two games to clinch a spot among the last eight.

Joining Hernandez in the award circle is Raul Mendiola from Southern California club Arsenal FC. It is the second time the crafty attacker has collected the award, as he won the same U-16 Player of the Year award last season. The 17-year-old is the first player to win the honor twice.

Mendiola, like Hernandez, is also a Mexican citizen and the young Southern Californian has spent time with Mexico’s U-15 youth national team in the past, but has expressed interest in representing the U.S. if citizenship issues are rectified. The duo represents a trend with the Development Academy, as four of the seven winners in league history have been ineligible for U.S. youth national teams.

Coach of the Year awards were also announced this week with Weston FC’s Marcelo Neveleff and Real Salt Lake-Arizona’s Mike Munoz collecting for the U-18 and U-16 age groups respectively. Neveleff turned Weston around after finishing 4-8-4 last year in league play, the tactician led the Florida team to an 11-3-0 record and berth to Finals Week, which starts on Saturday.

Munoz led the RSL-AZ U-18 and U-16 squads to playoff berths with the younger age advancing to Finals Week. This was the first year in the Development Academy for Munoz and the Real Salt Lake residential academy.

As well as the Player and Coach of the Year awards, U.S. Soccer also announced teams of the year for the nation and each conference. The national Starting XI for the U-18 and U-16 age groups are listed below:

U-17/18
GOALKEEPER: Jesus Guzman (San Jose Earthquakes)
DEFENDERS: Javan Torre (Pateadores), Jack Coleman (FC Dallas), Bryan Gallego (New York Red Bulls), Moises Hernandez (FC Dallas)
MIDFIELDERS: Marvin Iraheta (Cosmos Academy West), Wil Trapp (Crew Soccer Academy), Christian Hernandez (PDA)
FORWARDS: Villyan Bijev (Cal Odyssey), Maikon Orrellana (Real Salt Lake AZ), Xavi Silva (Weston FC)

U-15/16
GOALKEEPER: Alex Bono (Empire United)
DEFENDERS: Jose Ocampo (Crossfire Premier), Julio Alacron (Real Salt Lake AZ), Oscar Sorto (Pateadores), Jalen Robinson (D.C. United)
MIDFIELDERS: Holden Fender (Concorde Fire), Collin Martin (D.C. United), Raul Mendiola (Arsenal FC)
FORWARDS: Diego Fagundez (New England Revolution), Kekuta Manneh (Texas Rush AJ Auxerre), Roberto Escudero (Pateadores)

SuperElite Tour: Jon Spencer’s summer tour is just on the horizon, but the technical director, who has coached talents such as Kelyn Rowe, Sean Cunningham, and Josh Gatt on previous tours, remains tight-lipped about this summer’s roster. He told Goal.com last week not to expect a full roster until a couple of days into the tour. He is also anticipating some last minute changes with the U.S. U-18 national team playing at Milk Cup during the same time.

Milk Cup: U.S. U-18 national team coach Mike Matkovich will be in attendance during Finals Week in Milwaukee next week assessing his options for the Northern Ireland tournament. There are a handful of players who have experience with his squad who will be playing at the event including NYRB’s Brandon Allen, Daniel Metzger, and Bryan Gallego. One name that is already confirmed for the roster is Birmingham City midfielder Will Packwood, according to Sky Sports. The Americans open up play on July 25 against Israel and then square off against rivals Mexico on July 27. The Yanks won the event in 2010 behind strong performances from Dillon Powers, Alex Molano, and Gale Agbossoumonde.

U-17 World Cup: On Thursday, Mexico defeated Germany 3-2 on a spectacular overhead kick from Julio Gomez in the dying minutes of the game. Earlier in the day, Uruguay knocked off rival Brazil, 3-0, for its first appearance in the final of the youth event. Mexico’s lone appearance in the finals came in 2005, where El Tri defeated Brazil, 3-0. The two sides meet on Sunday at 7:00 p.m. (ET) on ESPNU and ESPN3.

American at Anfield: According to various reports, U.S. U-17 captain Marc Pelosi was offered a professional contract with English giant Liverpool after the American's run in Mexico ended. Pelosi has remained open about the possibility of other clubs but did express his interest regarding working with former Barcelona youth coaches Pep Segura and Rodolfo Borell to TopDrawerSoccer.com.goal.com

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