Barça Academy Continues to Show Improvement


Barça Academy had a busy weekend at home, with the U-15, U-17, U-18 and U-19 sides all in action. The U-15s and U-18s both tallied wins over local opposition, while the U-17 and U-19 teams faced off against US Soccer Development Academy rivals Real Salt Lake. The U-17s would lead for the majority of the game, drawing only after the referee award a late penalty kick to the opposition, while the U-19s would suffer a big loss at the hands of the former Grande Sports World residents. For the U-18s, Jose Castaneda would bag an eight-minute hat trick in the 4-2 victory, extending their winning streak to 5 games.

In the opening match of the weekend, Barça Academy’s U-15s took on Sereno Soccer Club Saturday at Grande Sports World. In their typical fashion, Barça Academy dominated possession in the early proceedings, moving the ball well from side to side, but not creating much in the final third. In fact, it was Sereno who opened the scoring in the 18th minute, beating goalkeeper Danis Cajic.

Barça Academy responded well and started seeing chances begin to fall their way. It wasn’t until the 34th minute, however, that the U-15s were able to find an equalizer and the quality of the goal made it worth the wait. Caden Clark stepped up to take a free kick at the edge of the penalty area, he bent a brilliant free kick around the wall and into the bottom corner.

The score would remain at 1-1 through halftime. It wasn’t until the 61st minute when Barça Academy began to threaten again. A slick passing move between Dante Williams and Dylan Akau set Williams free in the box, but his effort was saved well by the goalkeeper at close range.

Not to be denied, it was Williams who would pop up with the winner nine minutes later. After receiving the ball in the box, his first effort on goal was blocked, but he was the quickest to react and stabbed the loose ball into the back of the net to make the score 2-1, the margin by which the U-15s would win by.

Meanwhile, the U-17s would kick off almost simultaneously one field over against Real Salt Lake. The early goings were a feeling out process, but the better chances fell to Barça Academy. The opening chance of the match fell to Jake LaCava, but RSL’s goalkeeper did well to tip his well-struck effort around the post.

Six minutes later, goalkeeper Samuel Lee would get his first test of the match with a low shot down to his right from a tight angle but held on well.

The opening goal came on 41 minutes when a set piece from Barça Academy proved deadly. LaCava was first to meet a corner kick at the near post, his flick would find defender Pedro Mondragon at the top of the box. Showing incredible technique, Mondragon fired a volley past the outstretched hand of the goalkeeper, off the crossbar and into the top corner.

Barça Academy would take the lead into the break, and look the more dangerous side coming out of the interval. Roberto Molina and Julian Araujo, who is freshly back from US National Team duty, would both have chances in the opening 20 minutes of the second half, but neither could find the decisive second goal.

The U-17s would be made to pay in the 75th minute when the referee whistled for a penalty after what appeared to be a should-to-shoulder challenge. Lee went the right way and got a hand to the penalty kick, but couldn’t keep it out

Barça Academy would get the chance to take lead six minutes later when the referee gave the U-17s a penalty for a similar type of challenge, but after an excellent match, Matthew Hoppe saw his penalty saved by the goalkeeper. The match would end at 1-1.

In the late match Saturday afternoon, the U-19s fell to Real Salt Lake by a large margin. RSL would open the scoring in the fifth minute, and by halftime, the score would stand at 5-0. Barça Academy would acquit themselves well in the second half, but would concede once more to bring the final score to 6-0.

“We conceded some goals that came off of some individual errors, but I thought we played much better in the second half,” said coach Daniel Antunez. “The sixth goal was unfortunate, but I thought we played them hand-in-hand in the second half, and the boys seem far more comfortable.”

The U-18s would round out the weekend with an APL match against SC Del Sol at Scottsdale Sports Complex. Barça Academy started the match slowly, and it wasn’t until the 18th minute when they would find the opening chances of the game. Robert Sewell would have the first shot on target, firing a one touch effort off of a cutback cross, but the goalkeeper would scramble across to gather. In the next passage of play, Arjan Dosanjih would find himself unmarked in the box, but he drove his low shot just wide of the far post.

In the 34th minute, Jose Castaneda would take over, netting an eight-minute hat trick to bury the game. The later two of the three goals were traditional center forward finishes when faced with the goalkeeper, but Castaneda pulled out all of the tricks when he lobbed the goalkeeper for his opening goal.

SC Del Sol would score both before and after the half to bring the score to 3-2, but in the 52nd minute, Fidel Rangel-Gallardo, freshly on as a substitute, would put the game out of reach with a goal to bring the score to 4-2, which would be the final tally for the game.


October 14

U-15: Barça Academy 2 vs. Sereno SC 1 | 9:00 a.m., Grande Sports World

U-17: Barça Academy 1 vs. Real Salt Lake Academy 1 | 9:00 a.m., Grande Sports World

U-19: Barça Academy 0 vs. Real Salt Lake Academy 6 | 11:30 a.m. PT, Grande Sports World

October 15

U-18: Barça Academy 4 vs. SC del Sol 2 | 9:00 a.m., Scottsdale Sports Complex


October 21

Barça Academy U-15 vs. Pateadores U-15 | 12:00 p.m. PT, University of California, Irvine

Barça Academy U-17 vs. Pateadores U-17 | 2:00 p.m. PT, University of California, Irvine

Barça Academy U-19 vs. Pateadores U-19 | 4:00 p.m. PT, University of California, Irvine

Barça Academy U-16 vs. Tucson Aztecs FC U-16  | 12:00 p.m. PT, Tucson Golf Links, Field E

Barça Academy U-18  vs. Arizona ASA USA U-18  | 4:20 p.m. PT, Scottsdale Sports Complex, Field #1

October 22

Barça Academy U-16 vs. SC del Sol U-16  | 9:00 a.m. PT, Quail Run, Field #4

Barça Academy U-18  vs. Phoenix Premier FC Black U-18  | 6:10 p.m. PT, Scottsdale Sports Complex, Field #1


The Academy teams will play at home vs. Real So Cal at 9:00, 9:00 and 11:30 a.m. PT on October 29th. The U-18s will play that same day against FBSL Tuzos Leon at the Scottsdale Sports Complex at 4:10 p.m. PT. The U-16s will resume ASL action on November 4th at home against Avondale United at 2:10 p.m. PT.


Denis Silva, Barça Academy Technical Director

“This weekend had both bitter and sweet moments. All of our teams are competing very well! With the exception of our U-19s who had a bad showing against a better rival. When the rival is simply better, the only thing we can do is congratulate them, keep our heads up and keep working. TheU-15 and U-18 had very good matches against good local rivals, and U-17 showed, in my opinion, a very good level of play, being superior against RSL in the first half and very competitive in the second. All teams are improving every weekend and the results have shown for themselves. I feel as though we are starting to build our own identity and the primary importance is believing in that. We have a lot of good weekends ahead of us.”

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