June 14. 2019
After a spectacular regular season campaign, the Barça Residency Academy U-19’s look ahead to the U.S. Soccer Development Academy playoffs, kicking off June 17.
The U-19’s earned the second seed nationally and were rewarded with the top spot in group E.
The DA Playoffs will take place from June 17 to 24 at the SoCal Sports Complex in Oceanside, California. The top team from each of the eight groups will advance to the quarterfinals, scheduled for June 24. The winners of the quarterfinals will then advance to the Academy Championship semifinals and final from July 8 to 10 at Orange County Great Park in Irvine, California.
“We’re prepared,” said Academy Director Sean McCafferty. “The boys look sharp, they look good in training. We’re ready.”
June 17, 5:30 p.m. – Field 20 – Michigan Wolves – no. 32 overall
11W-7L-4D; Sixth in the Mid-America Division
Barça Residency Academy dispatched Michigan Wolves 3-0 back in November on the strength of a Matthew Hoppe hat trick, but this match will definitely be different.
“It’s a different approach and we’re a different kind of team,” said McCafferty. “In the Winter Showcase, we’re making sure everyone gets a start and getting minutes. You want to do well but you want to make sure guys are getting exposure. This time we’re going in to win it.
“All of our training, all of our focus is on us.” We believe that if we do the things we’re supposed to do, the rest won’t matter.”
June 19, 4:00 p.m. – Field 18 – Chargers Soccer Club – no. 19 overall
14W-6L-6D; Third in the Southeast Division
Florida-based Chargers Soccer Club finished just behind Orlando City SC and Atlanta United FC in the tightly-contested Southeast Division. Barça will be on the lookout for leading goalscorer Jeffrey Copper, as well as Nicholas Colacci, who has been dangerous both as a starter and off the bench.
June 21, 5:30 p.m. – Field 1 – Vancouver Whitecaps FC – no. 10 overall
13W-4L-5D; Second in the Northwest Division
Barça Residency Academy’s marquee group stage matchup comes on the final day, when they face Vancouver Whitecaps. Hoppe, the nation’s leading goalscorer, will come up against one of the premier defenses in the DA; Vancouver allowed just 22 goals in 22 matchups this season.
In last year’s U-16/17 regular season finale and playoff debut, Barça Residency Academy defeated Vancouver Whitecaps by a pair of 1-0 score lines. Barça are looking to make it three in a row and finish strong in the group, but McCafferty says his charges are focused on one game at a time.
“Their core group is still there,” said McCafferty of Vancouver, “They’re well organized, athletic, but they’re the last game so they’re the last thing on our guys’ minds.”
Finishing on a High
Nearly every member of this U-19 squad has solidified the next step of their careers, whether collegiate or pro, so this playoff tournament is for momentum and personal achievement.
McCafferty said, “They want to finish their youth careers – their Barça careers – on a high. They’re excited about trying to go one step further than last year.
“They’re professional off the field as they should be, and their mentality and mindset on the field are of the highest level that I’ve ever coached in youth soccer.”
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