The USSF Development Academy wrapped up action on Friday from FC Dallas Park in Frisco, Texas. After a grueling week of play, the sixteen teams headed to the Finals Week have finally been determined.
While attending the playoffs, TopDrawerSoccer.com has named a Best XI from the playoffs. Take a look at the starters and nine who made the honorable mention based on their play from last week in Texas.
TopDrawerSoccer.com’s 2011-12 Development Academy Playoffs U16 Best XI
GK Jacob Leeker, St. Louis Scott Gallagher Missouri
In a very tough group, Scott Gallagher Missouri’s defense only conceded three goals in three games. Leeker came up with the timely saves, but the back line in front of him deserves the credit too for pushing the club to its first Finals Week appearance.
D Billy Stevens, New York Red Bulls
The Red Bulls let in one goal in the opening six minutes of their first game, then preceded to keep the net clean for the next 234 minutes. Stevens and center back partner Matthew Miazga shut down any effort that slipped through the New York midfield.
D Andre Morris, Crew Soccer Academy Wolves
The Wolves’ defense only let in two goals during the three games in Texas and both came against Shattuck-Saint Mary’s in the second game. Morris and his trio of defenders did exceptionally well to help put the Michigan club into Finals Week from a very competitive group. The center back gets the nod on the team for his consistency throughout the three games.
D Remington Frost, Charlotte Soccer Academy
The stout center back – only a freshman – was part of a Charlotte defense that only conceded one goal in its three games, and featured in the impressive shutdown effort of the high-powered Vancouver Whitecaps, who Charlotte beat out for top spot in Group 3.
MF Sebastian Cabrera, Vancouver Whitecaps FC
A creative, attacking midfielder who rides the flanks, Cabrera couldn’t unlock Charlotte’s defense, but he left his mark on the competition with two goals from the penalty spot in a Friday win against South Carolina United Battery.
MF Jose Navarro, Real Salt Lake-AZ
Unable to advance in one of the toughest groups at the Playoffs – coming up short against the Chicago Fire – Navarro was just one piece of a talented Real Salt Lake attack. His two goals against the Sounders provided a big opening day win during the week.
MF Kevin de la Torre, Pateadores
The former Chivas USA Academy starlet found a new home with Pateadores earlier this year and has been loving life ever since. The prolific winger notched three goals this week to see Pateadores through to Finals Week.
MF Arun Basuljevic, New York Red Bulls
While the attackers in front of Basuljevic hogged the goals, it was the center midfielder who really played the key role in safely putting the New York club on a plane to Houston in a few weeks. His unmatched ability to win the ball in midfield and quickly distribute it had many teams searching for answers when they could not hold possession beyond a few passes.
F Jorge Calix, D.C. United
After spending the past year playing down at the U17 Residency program in Florida, Calix acclimated quickly to his D.C. side. He played a big role in the team’s bright start, scoring two goals in a 3-1 win over Concorde Fire. He finished the week with the two goals, and assisting on the go-ahead goal, in D.C.'s must-win match against Colorado Rush on Friday.
A short and shifty forward with a strong burst of pace that troubled defenses all week, Maloney didn’t find the back of the net in his three games but played an integral role in assuring his side advanced to the next level.
F Jeff Farina, Chicago Fire
Spotted up top on a team with a lot of offensive weapons, Farina, a tall target forward, scored five goals in the three games, held the bell up well, and bagged the vital opener against Real Salt Lake-AZ as the Fire clinched first place.
F Christian Soldat (Dallas Texans), F Alex Muyl (New York Red Bulls/Georgetown '13), MF Ian Harkes (D.C. United/Wake Forest '13), D Klint Parker (Charlotte Soccer Academy), F Evan Deycaza (CASL Chelsea), GK Kyle Dal Santo (Chicago Fire/SIU-Edwardsville '13), D Robert Sagel (Shattuck Saint-Mary’s), F Brian Pacheco (Pateadores), F Nicholas Pappacena (Weston FC)