CASA GRANDE, Ariz. – Much like their U-15/16 Academy counterparts, Real Salt Lake-Arizona Elite U-16 struggled in the first half of the season as they learned to play both as a team and in the RSL system.

“The 16s are usually the youngest, the group that still needs to come the furthest,” said Assistant Coach Mike Kraus. “I thought we had some games where we really dominated and some others where we were a little too inconsistent.”

RSL-AZ Elite U-16 showed that inconsistency in the first two tournaments of the year, struggling to earn only one win from the North Hunting Beach Cup and Tuzos Challenge.

“When we first started playing everything was all over the place,” said Elie Landrin. “But like Coach Mike said, after every game we got better. I think we learned a lesson after every game and knew what to expect for the next.”

As the Claret-and-Cobalt continued to play together and gain both chemistry and confidence, their results began to pick up as well. The team finished only one point short of promotion in Arizona State League and missed out on the SC del Sol Banat Southwest Challenge final in a penalty shootout loss.

In the second half of the year, the 16s have several more tournaments and the final round of Desert Premier Division games to look forward to and show what they’re capable of as a team on the field.

“Usually our 16s are the ones that really come around and make the biggest improvement in the spring,” said Kraus. “So that’s what we’re excited about.”

Desert Premier Division: 1-5-0, 6 Goals For, 17 Goals Against

Arizona State League: 4-3-0, 10 Goals For, 4 Goals Against

North Huntington Beach Cup: 1-2-0, 4 Goals For, 5 Goals Against

Tuzos Challenge: 0-1-2, 2 Goals For, 3 Goals Against

SC del Sol Banat Southwest Challenge: 2-0-1, 13 Goals For, 2 Goals Against