[FINALS WEEK] The Development Academy kicks off its third Finals Week this weekend at the Home Depot Center. Baltimore Bays Chelsea, the 2008 U-17-18 champion, and the Derby County Wolves, the 2009 U-15/16 winners, are among the eight teams competing in the U-17/18 age group. For a look at all the U-17/18 finalists ...
Baltimore Bays Chelsea --Like their younger team, the Bays swept all three games in the playoffs in Greensboro, N.C. Pete Caringi and N.C. State-bound Mamadou Kansaye lead the Bays with 14 goals apiece. Defender Marquez Fernandez, who will play at Maryland, is considered one of the top recruits in the country. The Bays won the first under-17/18 title in 2008.
CASL Chelsea FC Academy -- After opening with a tie against D.C. United, CASL beat the Houston Dynamo and Colorado Rush AJ Auxerre to reach the finals. It is led by South Carolina recruit Chipper Root, who has a team-high 15 goals.
Concorde Fire --Along with the Bays, Derby County, FC Dallas and Real So Cal, Fire is perfect in the playoffs. The Atlanta club upset defending champion Indiana Academy to return the U-17/18 finals for the second time. Carlos McCrary has 22 goals this season.
Crossfire Premier --Canadian U-20 Liam Kelly has 25 goals in a breakout season for Crossfire. He'll play at Creighton in the fall. UCLA-bound forward Kelyn Rowe is second with 19 goals.
FC Dallas --The FCD Juniors return Ruben Luna, who spent the 2010 preseason with the MLS club's first team. They've added former U.S. under-17 national team starter Marlon Duran. They finished sixth in the U-15/16 age group in 2009.
Derby County Wolves --The Detroit area club won the U-15/16 title last year. It's since been bolstered by the addition of Soony Saad, who left the U.S. U-17 residency program to return to Dearborn High School and was named the Gatorade National Boys Soccer Player of the Year. The Michigan recruit has 27 goals for Wolves.
Real So Cal -- It's the only club from soccer-rich Southern California playing in its backyard at the finals. Victor Chavez returned to Real So Cal after representing the USA at the 2009 Under-17 World Cup. Chavez, Edwin Rivas and Samuel Ballhave combined for 45 goals.
Vardar --Vardar gives Detroit two teams in the U/17-18 finals. It only had a 4-4-2 record in Great Lakes Division play but swept the California Development Academy, IMG Soccer Academy and FC Milwaukee to reach the finals. Peter Jacobson and Ezekiel Harris lead Vardar with 17 and 16 goals, respectively.
5:30 pm Baltimore Bays Chelsea vs Concorde Fire
5:30 pm Vardar vs Real So Cal
8:30 pm FC Dallas vs Crossfire Premier
CASL Chelsea FC Academy vs Derby County Wolves
3:00 pm Derby County Wolves vs FC Dallas
4:00 pm Crossfire Premier vs CASL Chelsea FC Academy
6:00 pm Real So Cal vs Baltimore Bays Chelsea
7:00 pm Concorde Fire vs Vardar
4:00 pm Concorde Fire vs Real So Cal
4:00 pm Vardar vs Baltimore Bays Chelsea
7:00 pm Crossfire Premier vs Derby County Wolves
7:00 pm CASL Chelsea FC Academy vs FC Dallas