Real Salt Lake's Arizona academy U-16s made an important bit of history over the weekend when they defeated Solar Chelsea 4-2 to become the first residential academy to win a national academy championship.
The U-18s exited in the group stage of the U.S. Soccer Development Academy playoffs; the U-16s reached the national final and did well to win after being drawn 2-2 in the 75th minute — late goals made the difference. It's all very encouraging stuff from the youth. For a full breakdown of the match, read the report on the GSA blog.
I'd be surprised if at least some of these kids don't go on to professional soccer sooner rather than later — the key will be cultivating the quality ones and bringing them in to the senior side to develop into important players for the club.
With Carlos Salcedo, Lalo Fernandez and Benji Lopez at the club — and all three having come through the academy — the future is brighter than ever.
Squad: 87-Damian German, 18-Chase Bishov, 21-Jose Hernandez, 26-Jason Eng, 29-Brooks Lennon, 30-Luis Lopez, 32-Alxander Knox, 33-Adolfo Ovalle, 50-Sebastian Saucedo, 47-Evan Waldrap, 48-Adam Ferguson, 49-Justen Glad, 58-Dillon Nino, 59-Moises Rodriguez, 63-Josh Doughty, 77-Diego Silva, 85-Jack Gayton, 88-Luis Barraza, 57-Bayley Scholz, 36-Elias Rieland, 79-Christian Herrera.
RSL U-16s singing "Believe" post-match
RSL players and staff wishing the U-16s luck before the match
Photos by Garrett Cleverly, Grande Sports Academy PR.