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Academy star makes history with 2nd POY

Published: July 8, 2011

Wherever Raul Mendiola lands moving forward he’s certainly leaving quite the legacy behind him.

Mendiola became the first player to be named U.S. Development Academy U15/16 Player of the Year in consecutive seasons, after U.S. Soccer announced its season honors.

It’s yet another distinction for the Arsenal FC attacker who appears headed for the big-time – and sooner rather than later.

boys club soccer player raul mendiolaRaul Mendiola (red)
“It’s a big accomplishment,” said the 17-year-old Mendiola. “It’s kind of surprising because I’m one of the younger players. I’ve definitely improved this year, and my team made it easy for me.”

Mendiola scored 14 goals this season and continued to win over his many admirers with his dynamic play. There aren’t many players like Mendiola (No. 2 on our 2012 Top 100 Ranking) when he has the ball at his feet, and his striking skill has caught the eye of many scouts.

Having spent half a season in Mexico, his birth country, two years ago with their U15 national team, Mendiola has his sights set on the professional ranks.

The 5-foot-5 speedster, who aptly models his game after Messi, said he has signed with an agent, is receiving offers from professional clubs and could look to head to a team at the end of the year.

“I really want to be a professional, so I have to stay humble and keep working - not let these things go to my head,” Mendiola said.

Mendiola is joined by U17/18 Player of the year Christian Hernandez, who was announced a couple days prior. Hernandez currently has his PDA team fighting for a title at the Academy Finals Week.

See the 2012 Boys Top 100

Both the Development Academy Starting XI All Star squads are listed below.

U15/16 Development Academy Starting XI
GOALKEEPER: Alex Bono (Empire United)
DEFENDERS: Jose Ocampo (Crossfire Premier), Julio Alarcon (Real Salt Lake AZ), Oscar Sorto (Pateadores), Jalen Robinson (D.C. United)
MIDFIELDERS: Holden Fender (Concorde Fire), Collin Martin (D.C. United), Raul Mendiola (Arsenal FC)
FORWARDS: Diego Fagundez (New England Revolution), Kekuta Manneh (Texas Rush AJ Auxerre), Roberto Escudero (Pateadores)
Coach of the Year: Mike Muñoz (Real Salt Lake AZ)

U17/18 Development Academy Starting XI
GOALKEEPER: Jesus Guzman (San Jose Earthquakes)
DEFENDERS: Javan Torre (Pateadores), Jack Coleman (FC Dallas), Bryan Gallego (New York Red Bulls), Moises Hernandez (FC Dallas)
MIDFIELDERS: Marvin Iraheta (Cosmos Academy West), Wil Trapp (Crew Soccer Academy), Christian Hernandez (PDA)
FORWARDS: Villyan Bijev (Cal Odyssey), Maikon Orrellana (Real Salt Lake AZ), Xavi Silva (Weston FC)
Coach of the Year: Marcelo Neveleff (Weston FC)

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