CASA GRANDE, Ariz. – After back-to-back National Championship appearances at the U-15/16 level, Real Salt Lake-Arizona Academy faced a new challenge this season, hoping to bring the same level of success to the U-17/18 team now that the 16s have gotten older.
“I think the beginning was tough,” said Edgar Duran, one of only four brand new players at the Academy in the U-17/18 side. “We played bad in Seattle [in October], but ever since that first loss, we just didn’t want that feeling again.”
Since that 3-1 road loss against Seattle Sounders FC, the Claret-and-Cobalt have gone on a three-month and eleven-match undefeated streak, outscoring opponents 35-11 over that time.
“I feel like that one game changed our mentality,” said Duran, who is tied for second on the team with ten goals scored.
RSL-AZ U-17/18 finished out the first half of the season with a perfect Winter Showcase record, the first in academy history, and 2.44 points per games played, good enough for first in the Southwest Division and fourth in the country.
“We’re very pleased, very happy with the U-17/18 group right now,” said Head Coach and Technical Director Martin Vasquez. “Their good play, being on top of the division and losing one game of 16, it doesn’t come as a surprise.”
The 18s will have a good opportunity in January to extend their undefeated streak, playing host in all four of their U.S. Soccer Development Academy games at Grande Sports World.
USSDA: 12-1-3, 39 Points, 51 Goals For, 18 Goals Against, 2.44 Points/Games Played