CARSON, California – For this week, smaller is better.
Coach Manny Schellscheidt has scaled down the U14 Boys National Team Identification Camp in a way that differentiates it from past gatherings. And that, is precisely the point.
Rather than rolling out the 80-player group in a series of 11v11 scrimmages, as has been the case in previous years, these U14s are being evaluated in more compact groupings. The first two days of the first-timer camp has consisted of small group trainings and 7v7 matches.
Schellscheidt said this has helped to simplify things for a group of players going through their first national camp experience.
“We can see how it pans out and by the end of the week have a better idea of what works.”
The early returns have been exciting. With the midfield eliminated, the young standouts are getting the opportunity to show what they are capable of in front of the net.
Tuesday’s action featured a new cast of intriguing players.
Striker Christian Pullsic is a diminutive attacker who plays fearlessly and showed some good signs during scrimmages. A left-footed forward, he proved capable of getting to good spots to get his shot off and was not deterred by the physical play of bigger opponents. Pullsic also combined well with midfielder Dawson McCartney, another smallish player who held his own.
Possessing more size and plenty of athleticism, Joshua Perez was hard to miss as he pursued the ball and leaped around the pitch with boundless energy. A similarly dynamic prospect was Columbus Crew’s Deihnia who was an absolute blur with the ball. Deihnia kicked his speed into another gear with the ball at his feet and showed the ability to stop on a dime and get off shots quickly.
Other standout attackers included Folasanmi Adetola, an agile and shifty attacker, along with finisher Sean Teixeira.
On the defensive side, Daniel Barbir is the tallest player in camp and provides a tough obstruction for attackers. He proved difficult to avoid for smaller offensive players.
For the second straight day, goalkeeper Andrew Romig played with great energy and showed no problems communicating with his teammates.
Schellscheidt indicated that the group will likely see some 11v11 action before the week is out, but for now he’ll jumpstart the youngsters into action by going smaller.
“We have the luxury of experimenting,” he said. “We can always change.”
U.S. U14 Boys’ NDP Identification Camp Roster by Position
GOALKEEPERS (7): Gianfranco Barone (Met Oval; Howard Beach, N.Y.), Andrew Hagan (Javanon; Louisville, Ky.), Ben Hale (Liverpool America FC; Frisco, Texas), Abraham Romero (Cosmos Academy West; Altadena, Calif.), Drew Romig (Richmond Kickers; Midlothian, Va.), Kevin Silva (PDA; Bethlehem, Pa.), Andrew Verdi (FC Bucks; Ivyland, Pa.)
DEFENDERS (16): Folasanmi Adetola (D.C. United; Bowie, Md.), Hugo Arellano (South Bay Gunners; Norwalk, Calif.), Josh Burnett (PDA; Glen Ridge, N.J.), Tanner Dieterich (Brentwood Premier; Nashville, Tenn.), Roberto Dominguez (Cal Odyssey; Fresno, Calif.), James Edwards (PWSI Courage; Woodbridge, Calif.), Kyle Gruno (New York Red Bulls; Upper Saddle River, N.Y.), Seth Hudson (Sporting Kansas City; Parkville, Mo.), Jacob Lyon (Michigan Rush; Holt, Mich.), Tommy McCabe (PDA; South Orange, N.J.), Michael Pimlott (Crew Soccer Academy Wolves; Famington Hills, MIch.), Christian Quintero (La Roca FC; Ogden, Utah), Juan Riley (Weston FC; Weston, Fla.), Cole Spofford (VSA Heat; Broad Run, Va.), Trey Vinson (PWSI Courage; Manassas, Va.), Toshiki Yasuda (Cobras SA; Las Cruces, N.M.)
MIDFIELDERS (37): Haji Abdikadir (United FC; Louisville, Ken.), Tyler Black (Crossfire Premier; Tacoma, Wash.), George Braima (Crew Soccer Academy; Columbus, Ohio), Eric Cavillo (Real So Cal; Palmdale, Calif.), Kevin Coleman (FC Richmond; Warreneton, Va.), Javier Cortez (Fullerton Rangers; La Habra, Calif.), Mason Deeds (PA Classics; Topton, Pa.), Alexander Dexter (CFC Red Star; Upatoi, Ga.), Luca de la Torre (Nomads SC; San Diego, Calif.), Thomas Golden (HBC Titans; Westbury, N.Y.), Whitney Gonsalves (Oklahoma Texans SC; Tulsa, Okla.), Kyle Gurrierie (New York Red Bulls; Totota, N.J.), Tyler Hughes (Crossfire Premier; Bellingham, Wash.), Kohl Hurtado (Westside Metros; Portland, Ore.), Nick King (Alliance FC; Mattawan, Mich.), Ryley Kraft (Placer United; Roseville, Calif.), John Leisman (Sporting Kansas City; Kansas City, Mo.), Orlando Lopez (Pateadores; Santa Ana, Calif.), Terrell Lowe (Portneuf Valley SC; Pocatello, Ind.), Dawson McCartney (NJSA 04; Voorhees, N.J.), Conor McGlynn (Cosmos East; Middle Village, N.Y.), Weston McKennie (FC Dallas; Little Elm, Texas), Antonio Nava (De Anza Force; Redwood City, Calif.), Logan Panchot (St. Louis Scott Gallagher Missouri; St. Louis, Mo.), Luka Prpa (North Shore United; Wind Lake, Wis.), Rahid Hahiem (FC Elk Grove; Elk Grove, Calif.), Juan Ramirez (Bethesda SC; Bethesda, Md.), Deihnia Sarnor (Crew Soccer Academy; Reynoldsburg, Ohio), Joseph Schmidt (Ohio Premier North; Chagrin Falls, Ohio), Jack Shaw (Bavarian SC; Fox Point, Wis.), Clay Silvas (Sacramento United; Orangevale, Calif.), John Skahan (Tennessee Rush; Memphis, Tenn.), Quran Thomas (East Cobb YMCA; Fairburn, Ga.), Mattias Tomasino (Coral Gables Toros; Miami, Fla.), Derek Waldeck (Ellensburg FC; Ellensburg, Wash.), Kees Westra (Snohomish United; Monroe, Wash.), Brandon Williamson (D.C. United; Gainesville, Va.)
FORWARDS (20): Daniel Barbir (PDA; Macungie, Pa.), Giuseppe Barone (Grand Rapids Crew Juniors; Kentwood, Mich.), Nathan de la Hoya (Solar FC; Dallas, Texas), McKinze Gaines (Houston Dynamo; Austin, Texas), Julian Hall (Brandon FC; Tampa, Fla.), Chase Hovious (Clearwater Chargers; Auburndale, Fla.), Keegan Kelly (Baltimore Bays Chelsea; Baltimore, Md.), Lagos Kunga (DDYSC Elite; Roswell, Ga.), David Loera (Central Floride Kraze; Orlando, Fla.), Ethan Lotenero (CZ Elite; Altadena, Calif.), David Mason (Montgomery SC; Bethesda, Md.), Luis Mora (Fullerton Rangers; Anaheim, Calif.), Joshua Perez (Chivas USA; La Habra, Calif.), Christian Pulisic (PA Classics; Hershey, Pa.), Antonio Sanchez (Iowa SC; Iowa City, Iowa), Alex Soto (NJSA 04; Palisades Park, N.J.), Raheem Taylor-Parkes (Brandon SC; Wesley Chapel, Fla.), Sean Teixeira (New York SC; Trumbull, Conn.), Christian Villalobos (Albertson SC; West Hempstead, N.Y.), Haji Wright (Galaxy Alliance; Los Angeles, Calif.)