May 31. 2019
The Barça Residency Academy U-19s will enter the 2019 U.S. Soccer Development Academy Playoffs as a top seed after a terrific regular season capped by a seven-match winning streak.
Led by striker Matthew Hoppe, the U-19s dominated the DA Southwest Division with a record of 17-5-1 and a plus-36 goal differential.
“I think this is the most talented group that we have in the academy,” said Xavi Bravo, Technical Director. “This is the second year for most of them. They started last year with us and we applied all of the methodology. They have continued with Sean McCafferty (Academy Director), the same coach they had last season. It provides them good continuity, and I think they feel comfortable playing the Barça way. They are dominating the game, completely.”
The season was marked by many outstanding performances.
McCafferty said, “In the Southwest Division you’ve got LA Galaxy, Real Salt Lake, two of the best academies in the country, and we were able to win the division. We’ve had tremendous consistency throughout the year, and we have the top goal scorer in the country in Matthew Hoppe. He’s of the highest level.”
Hoppe scored an incredible 29 goals on the season, best in the nation for the age group, and his 1.45 goal-per-match average was tops among players with at least five appearances. In one weekend in March, Hoppe logged hat tricks against both Nomads SC and LA Galaxy; he had five hat tricks on the season.
Striker Arjan Dosanjh scored four of his nine goals in an explosive 10-0 route of Silicon Valley Soccer Academy on April 13.
Captain Jose Olmos was a stalwart in defense. “He’s a southern California boy who went unnoticed for so long,” said McCafferty. We saw something in him, and he’s our captain, our leader. He has the right attitude, the right work ethic, and the personality, and rose from unknown to getting called into U-17 national team camp.”
The technical staff is extremely pleased with the performance of the squad, and many players have recently been rewarded with professional trials abroad, such as Hoppe, Roberto Molina, Nicholas Fernandez, Djibril Doumbia, Christian Ortiz, and Cameron Fisher.
“All of them have a lot of potential,” said Bravo of the team. “From my point of view, they have a good future, whether playing soccer in the U.S. or Europe.”
The U.S. Soccer Development Academy Boys’ Playoff will be held June 17-24 at SoCal Sports Complex in Oceanside, Calif. With the third seed in the nation, Barça Residency Academy U-19s will enjoy a place in Pot 1 when the eight groups of four teams are drawn early in June. If Barça wins its group, the U-19’s will play a quarterfinal match on June 24.
“In the draw, we’re going to be in a good position,” said Bravo.
The semifinals and final will be contested in July. Last summer, the Barça Residency Academy U-16/17 squad that makes up the core of this year’s U-19s went to the semifinals and placed third overall.
“Last year was our first year, and we got in on a wild card,” said McCafferty. “It’s kind of a golden generation, a really good group of guys. We had Vancouver in our group, Philadelphia Union, Orlando City, so nobody really gave us a chance. But we beat all three of them and then we beat New York Red Bulls in the quarterfinals.
“This year will be different. We’ll not be surprising anybody. It’s a different kind of pressure.”