CASA GRANDE, Ariz. – With the majority of last year’s squad having aged out of the team, Real Salt Lake-Arizona Academy U-15/16 experienced some anticipated growing pains in the first half of the 2014-15 U.S. Soccer Development Academy season.
“The first half of the season is like everybody expected,” said Kris Fourcand, one of only three players to return from last season’s U-15/16 squad. “We’re a brand new team, we started off slow but we’re undefeated in our last four games. Now we’re in the top five of our division.”
After a slow start in which the Claret-and-Cobalt won only two of their first seven games, the team went on to win five of their last nine, heading into 2015 in their best form of the season.
“We’re happy with the whole group: where we are, where we finished and where we’re heading,” said Head Coach and Technical Director Martin Vasquez. “The month of January could be a great turnaround for the 16s, because we have four games at home and the ability to get a significant amount of points from those games.”
RSL-AZ U-15/16 face Juventus Sport Club, San Jose Earthquakes, Real So Cal and FC Golden State in their January home stand with hopes of taking all twelve points from those games and vaulting up the USSDA table.
In addition to their Development Academy schedule, the 16s also have the final round of Generation adidas Cup Qualifying on their minds, needing to finish in second place or better to advance to the international “GA” bracket in the finals of the competition over Easter weekend in April.
“GA Cup helps because you get to test yourself against the other MLS academies, the best of the best” said Fourcand. “Last year we got to the GA Cup final, this year we’re expected to do the same.”
USSDA: 7-4-5, 26 Points, 26 Goals For, 15 Goals Against
GA Cup Qualifying: 1-0-1, 4 Points, 3 Goals For, 2 Goals Against