Aidan Liu, a midfielder for the Chicago Sockers U14 Development Academy team, and Nicole Leggio, a midfielder for the Slammers FC U17 ECNL team, are the TopDrawerSoccer.com Academy Players of the Week.
Liu scored both goals in the Sockers’ critical 2-1 win over crosstown rival Chicago Magic, including the last one with a broken arm, while Leggio netted a hat trick in Slammers FC’s big 3-2 win over So Cal Blues at midweek.
If you’re looking for a match with wild individual performances of grit and tenacity, look no further than the minutes Liu put in on Saturday. The lanky 6-foot-1 midfielder has turned into one of the Development Academy’s most troubling threats at the U14 level, as he leads the Mid-America Division in goals scored with 15, ten of which have come in his last nine games. Two of those surfaced in the Sockers’ big win over the weekend, but they weren’t without some adversity. Liu broke his arm midway through the first half when he scored his first goal of the match. He managed to fight through the pain to finish the game, which allowed him to score the winner with less than 10 minutes to play. With a broken wing. Liu wins the Brian McBride Award this week as well.
The Slammers FC U17 team is so heavily laden with talented goal-scorers that it can be tough to steal a sliver of the spotlight for yourself. The team has four players in double digit scoring, and it easily leads the Southwest Conference with 54 points from 21 games. So while midfielder Nicole Leggio’s been able to stand apart, it’s only with the caveat that players like Carly Malatskey and Lexington Magliarditi have been able to do the same. Still, Leggio’s hat trick against regional rival So Cal Blues guided the team to a huge three points in a rousing 3-2 victory. With Samantha Falasco providing two of the assists, Leggio’s huge performance helped her break out as one of the team’s primary goal creators. She’s now up to nine goals so far this season.
The TopDrawerSoccer.com Academy Player of the Week is designed to reward top performances from the previous week’s action in both the U.S. Soccer Development Academy and the Elite Clubs National League. Winners are chosen on a variety of litmuses, and the public is free to submit nominations for consideration each week. Those can be sent to Will Parchman at email@example.com.