Scouting network grows for U.S. Soccer Development Academy

By Mike Woitalla

The Boys U.S. Soccer Development Academy, which recently completed its 10th season, ended its inaugural season of 2007-08 with 25 scouts. It enters its 11th year with a network of 125 scouts, who report 12 regional Technical Advisors, the number of which has also increased.

This week, U.S. Soccer announced the hiring of Matt Dacey, most recently Technical Director for the Oregon Youth Soccer Association, as Technical Advisor for the Pacific Northwest, and Rob Elliott as the Atlantic region TA. Elliott had served as the New York Red Bulls’ Director of Scouting and PDL (U-23s) head coach.

The hirings are part of the increase from nine TAs in 2016 to 12. Previously, the same TA covered Northern California and the Northwest. U.S. Soccer will be hiring a Northern California TA as well as one specific for Southern California, which is currently covered by Southwest TA Alex Zotinca. Elliott will cover Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia, enabling Cris da Silva to focus on New Jersey and New York. The addition also narrows the territories previously covered by Clint Peay (South Atlantic/Georgia) and Marcelo Neveleff (South East/Florida).

"Adding a TA to the East coast is big step forward for the Development Academy," Development Academy Director Aloys Winjker said. "Robert Elliott, with his experience at a high level, is a big benefit for the TA group and the Development Academy in the Atlantic market. I believe he can help to raise the level of the Academies in the Virginia, Pennsylvania and the D.C./Maryland markets."

Elliott, the 2017 PDL Coach of the Year after guiding New York Red Bulls U23 to a 12-1-1 record, had also served as the Red Bulls U-15/16 DA head coach. Players who came out of the Red Bulls’ DA during Elliott’s tenure include Matt Miazga, Juan Agudelo, Matthew Olosunde, Alex Muyl and Tyler Adams.

"I was in it when the Academy started, on the coaching side, with Red Bulls,” said Elliott. “I think there has been a great deal of change in the last 10 years, from the quality of play, but also from the professionalism in every aspect: from the coaches, to the players to the administrative side, all of that. It's become a lot more professional, which I think is going to benefit the players down the road. I think the future is bright with all the initiatives that U.S. Soccer is implementing."

Dacey worked as a U.S. Soccer National Instructor in 2017 and Network Scout in 2016. Since 1998, he has had roles at Tualatin Hills United SC, Jesuit High School, Portland State University and BSC Oregon of the U.S. Soccer Development Academy.

TAs provide scouting reports and player data to Director of Talent Identification Tony Lepore and youth national team staffs. The TAs also evaluate and aid DA clubs in their region, and help identify players for U.S. Soccer Training Centers.

U.S. Soccer staged 231 Training Center sessions in 2016-17 for 5,775 players. More than 2,700 DA games were scouted, leading to 511 youth national team selections, U-14 through U-20. Seventy-five non-DA events were attended by U.S. Soccer scouts, who also tracked 182 U.S. national team-eligible players in 20 other nations.

Scott Donnelly
Cris da Silva
Rob Elliott
Clint Peay
Marcelo Neveleff
Garrett Biller
Arron Lujan
Dave Van den Bergh
Matt Dacey
Alex Zotinca

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U.S. U-15 boys set for Concacaf Championship

The U.S. U-15 boys national team, coached by Dave Van Den Bergh, will compete in the 2017 Concacaf U-15 Championship Aug. 13-19 at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida. The USA’s 18-player roster includes George Bello, who last month helped Atlanta United win the 2017 U-15/16 Development Academy championship and who in June signed an MLS Homegrown contract.

The USA will face Canada (Aug. 13), Trinidad & Tobago (Aug. 14) and Costa Rica (Aug. 16) in Group B. The top two finishers advance to the semifinals (Aug. 17) against the top two finishers in Group A, which is comprised of Mexico, Honduras, Jamaica and Panama, in the semifinals on Aug. 17. The final takes place Aug. 19.

“This is an important tournament for us, especially after the success we’ve had with the U-20s and U-17s this year,” Van Den Bergh said. “It’s going to be the first time ever that our U-15 national team is going to take part in the Concacaf U-15 Championship. We always want to win, but the inaugural one is a big one for us. It’s going to be big on our list of achievements that we want to accomplish for the duration of the tournament.

“This is a very good opportunity for these boys to showcase themselves against competition they’ll be facing for the rest of their lives, in qualifying. Hopefully, this is going to be a warm up for things to come and the future for these boys.”

Six players on the U.S. roster were named to the Development Academy’s Conference Best XI teams in 2016-17: Bello, Axel Alejandre, Gianluca Busio, Mason Judge, Damian Las and Giovanni Reyna.

U.S. U-15 boys national team
GOALKEEPERS (2): JT Harms (Shattuck-Saint Mary's; Faribault, Minn.), Damian Las (Chicago Fire; Norridge, Ill.).
DEFENDERS (6): Axel Alejandre (FC United Soccer Club; Chicago, Ill.), George Bello (Atlanta United; Douglasville, Ga.), Mitch Eise (Sporting Kansas City; Springfield, Mo.), Mason Judge (Chargers Soccer Club; Tampa, Fla.), Kenny Nielsen (Pateadores; Irvine, Calif.), Joseph Scally (New York City FC; Lake Grove, N.Y.).
MIDFIELDERS (5): Josh Atencio (Seattle Sounders; Seattle, Wash.), Gilbert Fuentes (San Jose Earthquakes; Tracy, Calif.), Cesar Garcia (FC Dallas; Dallas, Texas), Adam Saldana (Real So Cal; Panorama City, Calif.), Peter Stroud (New York Red Bulls; Chester, N.J.).
FORWARDS (5): Gianluca Busio (Sporting Kansas City; Greensboro, N.C.), Julian Gaines (Lonestar Soccer Club; Austin, Texas), Daniel Mangarov (Atlanta United; Duluth, Ga.), Alfonso Ocampo Chavez (Seattle Sounders; Fresno, Calif.), Giovanni Reyna (New York City FC; Bedford, N.Y.).

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U.S. U-17 boys beat Chile, 3-0, in friendly

As part of its Aug. 5-14 camp in Oregon, the U.S. U-17 boys national team beat South American U-17 Championship runner-up Chile, 3-0, in a friendly on Wednesday, on a goal by Josh Sargent of Scott Gallagher SC and two from Real Colorado’s Matt Hundley, according to the Chilean federation game report. They meet again on Saturday.

Hundley has been a U-17 Bradenton Residency player but wasn't part of the USA's Concacaf U-17 World Cup qualifying squad last April.

Included in the U.S. training roster is LA Galaxy academy forward Ulysses Llanez, who returned to the U.S. national team program with its U-16s in June after having attended a Mexico U-16 national team camp last December.

The U.S. U-17s attended the Portland Timbers-LA Galaxy game during their Oregon training camp.

Llanez was one of four 2001 players selected to the 24-player squad, which is otherwise comprised of 2000s. The other 2001s are Taylor Booth, Bryan Reynolds and Indiana Vassilev, all of whom were part the USA’s squad in qualifying for the 2017 U-17 World Cup, which kicks off in October.

Of the three newcomers from Coach John Hackworth’s late July camp in Atlanta, FC Dallas’ Brayan Padilla and Real Salt Lake AZ’s Sebastian Soto were invited back.

U.S. U-17 boys national team
GOALKEEPERS (3): Alex Budnik (Sockers FC; Arlington Heights, Ill.), Justin Garces (Atlanta United FC; Miami, Fla.), Quantrell Jones (Baltimore Celtic; Baltimore, Md.).
DEFENDERS (9): Jake Arteaga (LA Galaxy, Glendora, Calif.), Carlos Asensio (Atlanta United FC; Roswell, Ga.), Ethan Bartlow (Crossfire Premier; Woodinville, Wash.), Jean-Julien Foe Nuphaus (San Jose Earthquakes; San Jose, Calif), Christopher Gloster (New York Red Bulls; Montclair, N.J.), Jaylin Lindsey (Sporting Kansas City; Charlotte, N.C.), Tyler Shaver (Beachside SC; Greenwich, Conn.), Arturo Vasquez (FC Golden State; Mira Loma, Calif.), Akil Watts (IMG Academy; Fort Wayne, Ind.).
MIDFIELDERS (5): George Acosta (Weston FC; Hollywood, Fla.), Taylor Booth (Real Salt Lake; Eden, Utah), Blaine Ferri (Solar Chelsea SC; Southlake, Tex.), Alex Mendez (LA Galaxy; Los Angeles, Calif.), Indiana Vassilev (IMG Academy; Savannah, Ga.).
FORWARDS (7): Ayo Akinola (Toronto FC; Brampton, Ont.), Matthew Hundley (Real Colorado; Littleton, Colo.), Ulysses Llanez (LA Galaxy; Lynwood, Calif.), Brayan Padilla (FC Dallas; Frisco, Tex.), Bryan Reynolds (FC Dallas; Little Elm, Texas), Joshua Sargent (Scott Gallagher Missouri; O'Fallon, Mo.), Sebastian Soto (Real Salt Lake; Carlsbad, Calif.).

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Spot kicks ...

... Brady Scott, a backup goalkeeper for USA at the 2017 U-20 World Cup, signed a three-year contract with Bundesliga club FC Cologne. Scott, who hails from Petaluma, California, and played club ball for the De Anza Force, turned 18 in June. The USA's starting keeper at the U-20 World Cup, Jonathan Klinsmann has signed with Hertha Berlin. Because of injuries to two first-team keepers, Scott is set to be on the bench as a backup to Timo Horn when Cologne faces Leher TS in the German Cup on Saturday. Klinsmann is expected to be the starter on Hertha's U-23 squad.

USA teenager Brady Scott eager to emulate Pulisic and Co. after signing for Cologne (

... Jeff Carlisle reports that the dispute involving the collection of solidarity payments for youth club Crossfire Premier is closer to being heard by FIFA's Dispute Resolution Chamber. Lawyer Lance Reich, who is representing Crossfire Premier in the dispute, told Carlisle that the Yedlin case has been put on the DRC's docket, with a decision expected to be made in the next few months.

DeAndre Yedlin youth club solidarity payments case added to FIFA docket (

7 comments about "Scouting network grows for U.S. Soccer Development Academy ".
  1. don Lamb, August 11, 2017 at 10:24 a.m.

    Lots of great tidbits there. Scouting growth. Llanez in another US camp. Hopefully Efrain follows his lead. The 17s beat Chile 3-0 without three of its top players. Another teen signs in Germany. The progress is palpable.

  2. Ric Fonseca, August 11, 2017 at 5:33 p.m.

    Whys is US Soccer so danged sloooooow in naming/appointing Technical Advisers for Southern California? Jumping jiminiy, doesn't the Fed understand that we have here the largest contingent of youth soccer players, and then we cry in our spilt milk/beer when they leave, or that outfit that runs the so called "sueno" try out lures them out only to be recruited by Liga Mex? Wow, the US Soccer Fed never ceases to amazes me!!!

  3. Ginger Peeler, August 12, 2017 at 4:10 a.m.

    Re: Tecnical Advisers: Who covers Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee, Missouri...those states (I no doubt missed a few) where American football has a chokehold on boys' sports? They DO play soccer there and they DO produce some fine players. Colleges probably pick them up, but isn't the idea to find them and incorporate them BEFORE college becomes an option? It's been years since I lived in that area, but the best female goalkeeper I've EVER seen was on my daughter's team in the 90s. She was also a superb center forward. But, as a goalie, she was spectacular!!! She could have handled boys' teams with the same ease. Actually, our team did play same-age boys the first couple seasons after we moved there. Then we joined the closest competitive league for girls (in Oklahoma) and just played girls after an hour's drive each way. At the time, there was no national professional women's league and our goalkeeper could never get into college with her poor grades. There's not a doubt in my mind that she would have been the equivalent of a Tim Howard if a women's league had existed. So who is scouting those "red-headed stepchild" talented soccer player-producing states?

  4. Bob Ashpole, August 12, 2017 at 9:13 a.m.

    USSF scouted 2,700 DA events and 75 non-DA events. Not a knock on the people, just showing the narrowness of the USSF focus and the insular nature of the system. Over 97% of USSF scouting is looking inward. USSF says that the DA is successful because most player selections are from the DA.

  5. Fire Paul Gardner Now replied, August 14, 2017 at 9:54 a.m.

    How would you do it Kumar? Just have everyone play in the street?

  6. Fire Paul Gardner Now replied, August 14, 2017 at 6:48 p.m.

    I think many of the best young players, though not all, play in DA clubs. Are you denying that you once said no one in Brazil plays organized football until age 16?

  7. Nick Daverese, August 14, 2017 at 12:17 a.m.

    I think we need a lot of people looking at our untapped immigrant population. You can't do that with one man covering four states. He has to hire at least 50 guys to do the looking for him in those immigrant areas. Immigrant kids never leave where they live until they are a lot older. For years I never left a three block area. Funny today I went back to my old neighborhood for an Italian feast and to lift the Giglio. Thank God I can still do it. I met a cousin of mine I have not seen in forty years. She just turned 70 yrs old she and her husband look pretty good. But he did not lift 2 strokes and a triple bypass kept him from trying it, but getting back to how immigrant children liv. You want those players you have to go where they live to get them. Plus you have to pick them up and take them to the practice field then later take them home. Would a scout or there employees do that?

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