In the second weekend of action, Barca Academy and Pre-Academy teams collectively registered 5 wins, 3 losses, 2 draws and a championship title over the weekend, creating history and a lot of firsts in the Academy’s inaugural season.
The Pre-Academy teams traveled to Phoenix and competed on Friday, Saturday and Sunday in the 10th annual Tuzos Challenge. The U-18s competed up and played in the U-19 Division. They held their own and finished the weekend with a record of (1-1-1), with their only loss being to Excel Soccer Academy who eventually won the U-19 Division championship. The U-16s had an exceptional showing and returned back home crowned as champions. They finished the tournament undefeated (3-1-0) and scored 11 goals on the weekend. They ousted Excel Soccer Academy 2-1 in the championship game after drawing with them,1-1, in an earlier round of the tournament. This feat earned the inaugural Barca Academy U-16 team a spot in history as they secured the first ever tournament championship of the Academy.
The Academy teams kicked off action at home on Saturday where all three teams, U-15, U-17 and U-19, competed against another Southwest Division team FC Golden State. The U-19s claimed their piece of history by earning the academy’s inaugural Development Academy (DA) win and their first win of the season. While both the U-17s and U-15s suffered losses.
The U-15s kicked off their season and got their first taste of Development Academy action in their first official game of the season. Young and still learning to play together, the U-15 team fell 0-2 to an experienced FCGS team. Coach Ged Quinn stated, “This game was a great learning experience for our U15 group. For many of the players this was their first experience of the DA level and we competed extremely well against a well-organized FCGS team. Had we taken our chances it could have been a different game but the opposition did well to high press us in our defensive third and forced some errors which ultimately cost us.” Quinn then stated that, “The guys are already looking forward to the next game against Strikers FC and we will look build and learn from today as we prepare for our first away trip of the season”.
In the second match of the morning, the U-17s lost 0-1 in an action-packed thriller. The first half was very much one-sided as Barca Academy dominated possession and took an incredible 17 shots on goal but were unable to convert any of their good scoring opportunities. The teams entered into halftime deadlocked at 0-0. Shortly after halftime, in the, FCGS scored a goal after a quick counter attack. After falling behind, Barca Academy continued to dominate the possession of the ball, pressing high on their opponents half. Despite several more attempts on goal, Barca Academy could not find the back of the net. Game ended with a final score 0-1 even with a 22-7 shot differential in favor of Barca Academy.
“We where excellent in the first half and in all honesty could have been 3 or 4 up at half-time but unfortunately the end product was missing. We were poor 2nd half and got away from our identity/style of play and focused more on the result rather than the performance which is a lesson learned and something that will make us better in the long run. This group is very talented and have clicked early in the season in many ways so we must stay true to our style of play/identity and we will be fine”- Sean McCafferty, Academy Director on the U-17 match
The U-19 team capped off the weekend with a commanding 2-0 win over FCGS. Earning their first win of the season and the inaugural win for Barca Academy.
On a hot Arizona afternoon both teams started slow out of the blocks with Barca Academy trying to establish their style of play by keeping most of the possession and using the width of the field to get their wingers into dangerous 1-on-1 positions. After initial “feel out” period, the U-19s started dominating the game and missed a couple of half chances. In the 22nd minute Barca Academy broke the deadlock. Austin Amer received the ball good 30 yards out on the right side, took a touch and blasted long range rocket into the far right corner leaving FCGS goalkeeper helpless (ask coaches for a video of the goal). This was Amer’s first goal on the season. The game slowed down again after the goal with Barca Academy controlling the game well and FCGS mostly waiting for counter attacks to try and find an equalizer. Barca Academy took a 1-0 lead to the half-time break. FCGS made a run of their own in the second half as they looked to equalize but a great defensive effort by Barca Academy held them scoreless. Referee added 5 minutes of stoppage time and as FCGS made their final push down the field to find the last minute equalizer, Barca Academy’s George Kobel forced a turnover, made a fantastic 40 yard run with the ball past 3 FCGS defenders and found Enrique Zamora at the edge of the box with a timely pass. With time winding down Zamora showed some great individual skill beating a defender 1-on-1 and then beating the keeper by calmly placing the ball in the bottom left corner to solidify the win, 2-0.
U-19: Barca Academy 2 vs. FC Golden State 0 | September 9, 2017
U-17: Barca Academy 0 vs. FC Golden State 1 | September 9, 2017
U-15: Barca Academy 0 vs. FC Golden State 2 | September 9, 2017
U-18: Barca Academy 1 vs. FBSL Agave La Raza 1 | September 8, 2017
U-18: Barca Academy 2 vs. Excel Soccer Academy 4 | September 9, 2017
U-18: Barca Academy 6 vs. FBSL Agave La Raza White 0 | September 9, 2017
U-16: Barca Academy 5 vs. CCV Stars 0 | September 8, 2017
U-16: Barca Academy 2 vs. Excel Soccer Academy 2 | September 8, 2017
U-16: Barca Academy 2 vs. United Latinos 1 (after PKs) | September 9, 2017
U-16: Barca Academy 2 vs. Excel Soccer Academy 1 | September 9, 2017
Barca Academy U-19 vs. Strikers FC U-19 | 2:00 p.m. PT, Santa Ana Soccer Facility
Barca Academy U-17 vs. Strikers FC U-17 | 11:30 a.m. PT, Santa Ana Soccer Facility
Barca Academy U-15 vs. Strikers FC U-15 | 9:00 a.m. PT, Santa Ana Soccer Facility
Barca Academy U-18 vs. Legacy | 8:00 p.m. PT, Scottsdale Sports Complex #3
Barca Academy U-16 vs. Tanque Verde SC | 4:00 p.m. PT, Scottsdale Sports Complex #4
After starting the 2017-18 season with two weekends at home, Barca Academy will be on the road for the next two weekends. The academy will travel to Santa Ana, CA to face the FC Strikers on Saturday, September 16 at the Santa Ana Soccer Facility. The following weekend, the U-15 team will play Saturday, September 23 against Ballistic United at the Patelco Sports Complex at Bernal Community Park. On Sunday, September 24 all academy teams will travel to Sacramento and face the Sacramento Republic FC at Consumnes River College.
Sean McCafferty, Academy Director on the U-19 Historic Victory
“It was a nice feeling for the U19 Academy to get the first DA league win for the organization and the most pleasing aspect was that we kept a clean sheet given the shaky defensive display the previous week. We are a work in progress and need to be more composed & patient in possession, especially in the 2nd half of games but I’ve all the confidence in the world that we will improve in this regard given the effort and attitude of the players in each and every session.”
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