Grande Alums Roundup: Outstanding Beginning of October

In the past 6 years, over 130 Grande Sports Academy graduates have gone on to pursue their collegiate soccer careers at various programs of all levels across the country and 28 players have signed professional contracts. There are currently a remarkable 21 GSA alums playing at one of the Top 25 ranked NCAA Division I Men’s Soccer programs. With Week 7 of the NCAA Men’s Soccer season completed, Grande Sports Academy alums continued with stellar performances on the fields around the country and abroad. Here is our brand new Grande Alums Roundup.

Sejdic continues his excellent run of form at #1 Maryland

Amar Sejdic has been having a stellar sophomore year at the number one ranked University of Maryland. He has started all the games thus far and has already scored 4 goals while also adding 4 assists to his tally. His last 2 games were no different. Amar started in both and played a vital role in two new wins to make it five wins in a row and extended the Terps undefeated season to a remarkable 10 games. Against Northwestern he earned the Player of the Game award after a dominating performance with a goal and two assists in a 4-0 win. Two other Grande alums and now members of the Terp family, Diego Silva and Miles Stray, played in the game as well. Diego recorded his second assist of the season after coming off the bench in 2nd half. In the second game, Amar scored his 2nd goal of the week and 4th of the season in a well-deserved 2-0 win over San Diego. His performances earned him his second Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week award. Next up for the Terps is a tough matchup with #24 West Virginia away from home.

Grande’s “Messi” scores two as Bruins right their ship with two wins

It was a week of “two’s” for #19 UCLA. Two Pac-12 matchups, two shutouts, two new wins for the Bruins and two more goals for Grande Sports Academy alum and a long time irreplaceable starter for the U16 & U18 Academy teams, Jose Hernandez. It has certainly been a good week for the talented sophomore and his teammates. In their first game of Week 7 they faced Oregon State and managed to get back on track after two rare consecutive losses. Jose opened the scoring in the second half with his second goal of the season as the Bruins scored two goals in two minutes to earn the all-important win. Erik Holt also played all 90 minutes and led the Bruins defense to another shutout.

On Saturday, the Bruins visited their Pac-12 rivals, #13 San Diego State, and returned back home to Los Angeles smiling. Both Grande alums played a crucial role once again in the Bruins’ 4th shutout win of the season. Jose, last season’s Pac-12 Freshman of the Year, scored his third goal of the season in the second half of a close 1-0 win to take the Bruins to the second place in their conference. You can see his lovely strike here. Next Sunday, the Bruins visit Stanford, the 2015 NCAA National Champions, for a Pac-12 powerhouse showdown with a combined six Grande Sports Academy Alums: Hernandez, Holt, Bishov, Shacknai (UCLA) and Baird, Hyman (Stanford).

Three Grande alums score points as Lobos get back on a winning track

After a rare loss against Kentucky in Week 6, University of New Mexico Lobos got back to what they do best – protect their home field. With two new wins against FIU and LMU, the Lobos make it 6 out of 6 home wins this season to stay undefeated in Albuquerque. Grande alums Aaron Herrera, Sam Gleadle, and Josh Goss continued to play prominent roles for their team. In their 4-1 win against FIU, Sam, who earned his second start of the season, also recorded his second assist of his junior year. In the second game against Loyola Marymount it was time for Josh and Aaron to make their mark. Josh assisted for the first goal of the game and recorded his first point of the season. Aaron, who has been having an impressive season thus far at the right back position, scored his second goal of the season and helped his team to their fourth shutout of the season in the 3-0 win. He stepped up to the ball on a free kick in 55th minute and beat the keeper with a curling low shot to the near post. Earlier this year, Aaron earned the Conference USA Defensive Player of the Week award. The fourth Grande alum at UNM, Lucas Seligman, also played a part in the second halves of both games.

Gayton, Schmitt and the Cardinals extend their unbeaten streak to eight

With two home games on the schedule, #8 Louisville Cardinals were back where they have been a dominant force all season. The Cardinals, still unbeaten at their Lynn Stadium with 6 wins and a tie, came out ready to extend their streak against the visiting Belmont as the game indeed turned out to be a goal spectacle. Both Grande alums, Jack Gayton and Tate Schmitt, were in the starting XI and got off to a quick start. In the 22nd minute both players channeled their Grande connection as Tate found Gayton inside the penalty box for the second goal of his junior year. This was Tate’s second assist of the season. He now has six assists and nine goals in his Cardinals career. Take a look at the highlights from their game here (at 1:56). Jack and Tate were in the starting lineup again on Friday for the big ACC rivalry night against #3 Syracuse. Even though they didn’t score any points in this game, they were all smiles after the game as the Cardinals won 1-0 to extend their unbeaten streak to impressive eight games and continue to climb in the rankings.

Four Grande alums contribute in a blowout win for Fort Lewis Skyhawks

Fort Lewis Skyhawks hosted Adams State on Wednesday and recorded their biggest win of the season to move over .500 for the first time since opening week. Three of the five Grande Alums playing for the Skyhawks got on the scoresheet in a 7-0 rout. Nicolas Perez, a regular starter in his sophomore year, scored early on in the game for a 2-0 lead with a long range rocket from 20 yards out. This was his second goal of the season and he also added another assist on the night. Nicolas joined Grande Sports Academy in 2014 after being recruited at one of the summer residential camps that he attended with two other friends from Ecuador, twin brothers Martin and Andres Lopez. All three young men now play together at Fort Lewis alongside two more former Grande teammates, Marcos Hernandez-Hipolito and Kyle Leonard. Martin and Marcos revived the connection from the Grande days on a corner kick as Marcos scored with a strong header for his first of the season on a perfect crossing pass from the Ecuadorian at the end of the game. Andres played in the game as well as he got off the bench and was very lively, recording 3 shots on goal. With seven games to play before the conference tournament, the Skyhawks sit third in the RMAC standings.

Jackson’s outstanding season for the Lopes continues

Niki Jackson has been in red hot scoring mode all season long as he continues to play at an exceptional level in his junior year at Grand Canyon University. For the second time in one month, the Lopes’ forward earned the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) Offensive Player of the Week award after scoring his second hat trick in just four weeks. After scoring three goals vs IUPUI, Niki led the Lopes’ offense against Houston Baptist as well scoring three goals in the 3-2 win over the Huskies. Niki has scored nine goals this season, which is tied for 9th in NCAA Division I. He is also the leading scorer in the WAC this season and is the conference leader with 19 points. Niki has already scored 22 goals throughout his career at GCU. Damian German, the top scorer of the 2014-2015 USSDA season with 34 goals scored in 40 games, also started the win but wasn’t able to get on the scoresheet this time. Daniel Moreno and Patrick Ring did not play this past week and Amer Sasivarevic was out due to a knee injury. Next game for GCU is another WAC matchup against UNLV this Friday and we’ll certainly keep a close eye on Niki and the rest of Grande alums.

Grande alums help the Wolverines remain undefeated at home

Grande alums Alec Felix, Gui Leme, and McKay Eves, all three freshmen, played an important part in the last two wins for the UVU Wolverines who remain undefeated at home this season. In the game against CSU Bakersfield, Alex and Gui got the nod to start the game once again as it has been the case all season long. Gui opened the scoring in the 14th minute after he pressured the keeper into a shocking mistake, stole the ball, and put it in the empty net for his second goal of the season. McKay also got on the field and recorded another 18 minutes of action in the 3-0 shutout win.

McKay, a U.S. YNT defender and the youngest player on the UVU’s team, joined both players in the starting lineup for the second game and played his first full 90 minutes. This is an amazing feat for the young freshman who graduated early to join the Wolverines. They fought hard to earn another close 1-0 win (3rd this season) and keep a remarkable stat alive – the Wolverines are yet to concede a goal at home this season. They will have a new opportunity to prove themselves on Friday as they go on the road to visit the Air Force Academy in Colorado.

Barraza’s outstanding performance earns him a new weekly honor

Luis “Wicho” Barraza, a sophomore goalkeeper, had another noticeable performance for his Marquette Golden Eagles in the game against their Big Ten rivals Georgetown. The game ended in a 1-1 draw and it was Wicho’s bravery in goal for all 110 minutes of a hard-fought overtime battle that helped his team salvage a point. He made his season high tying seven saves and made multiple saves in the final minutes of the second extra-time to deny Georgetown the go-ahead goal, including three stops in the second extra-time session. His outstanding play earned him a Big East Weekly Honor Roll. Wicho graduated at Grande Sports Academy in 2015 and was a starting GK for our 2013 USSDA National Champions academy team.

Salcedo’s fantastic birthday week with ACF Fiorentina

Carlos Salcedo is the first Grande Sports Academy alum that plays in the top Italian division Serie A. The 23-year old Mexican National Team center back joined ACF Fiorentina, one of the top Italian clubs, on a one year loan from Chivas Guadalajara (MEX) earlier this year in August. Carlos had an incredible birthday week (September 29). On September 25, he had his AFC Fiorentina and Serie A debut against another soccer giant, AC Milan. The game ended in a 0-0 draw which means the first shutout for Carlos and he was among the highest rated players on his team. Only four days later, Carlos also debuted in the UEFA Europa League as his team faced FK Qarabag from Azerbaijan in the group stage game that ended with a 5-1 win. In the last game before the international break in Serie A, Carlos experienced his first loss of his young career in Italy (2-1 vs Torino). He also received his first yellow card. Next is a league game against Atalanta on Sunday.

Grande Sports Academy Alums called up to U-20 U.S. Men’s National Teams

Brooks Lennon (FC Liverpool, ENG), Sebastian Saucedo (Veracruz, MEX) and Danny Acosta (Real Salt Lake) were called up to the U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team For the U-20’s by the head coach Tab Ramos. The U-20s participated in the 2016 Four Nations Tournament from Oct. 2-11 in Manchester, England and squared off against some of the best teams in Europe as they continue to prepare for the U-20 World Cup next summer. Their opponents were Germany (1-0 loss), Netherlands (5-3 loss), and England (2-0 loss).

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