Although the Houston Dynamo are one month away from their first competitive match of the season, several Dynamo Academy teams will take the field today for their first action of the spring US Soccer Development Academy campaign. And while the Under-19 side is still a couple of weeks away from starting its season, several standouts from that side will spend the next week training with the First Team and with RGV FC.
The U-17 Academy team is in Round Rock, where they will take on the FC Dallas U-17s in a makeup of a rained-out match from the fall in Generation adidas Cup qualifying. The Dynamo Academy 17s will be led by forward Kaya Ignacio, whose seven goals in the fall season led the team, and midfielder Josh Hallenberger, who chipped in five goals and two assists in the fall. The Dynamo 17s only got nine games in during the fall campaign due to weather concerns and went 4-4-1 in those matches. They’ll take on an FC Dallas side that topped the USSDA Frontier Division with a 12-0-0 mark in the fall, giving them a stiff test right out of the gate.
Eighty miles south along I-35, four more Dynamo Academy teams will open their spring seasons against the San Antonio FC Academy at the STAR Soccer Complex.
The Dynamo U-15s finished third in the Frontier Division in the fall with a 5-1-1 record, slightly behind San Antonio FC’s 15s, who finished at 5-1-0. Since not all Academy teams are able to play the same number of games, the USSDA ranks teams based on points per game, thereby placing San Antonio FC slightly ahead of Houston by virtue of the Dynamo Academy’s lone draw.
The Dynamo Academy U14s will return to action after a two-month layoff hoping to pick up where they left off in the fall season. The 14s posted an 8-2-1 record in the fall and outscored their opponents 32-10 in those 11 matches. Leading the way was forward Zacarias Escobar-Bowie, who netted 13 goals in 11 appearances. Today’s game will be a rematch of a 1-1 draw between Houston and San Antonio from October at Houston Sports Park.
The Under-13 side will play their first game since December and will look to build off of a fall campaign in which they went 4-4-2. Like the 14s, they played San Antonio FC in Houston in October and drew 1-1 in their second match of the season. This side is at the beginning of the Formation Phase of development, meaning that they’re learning the club’s principles of play and beginning to implement those in 11-a-side settings for the first time in the Academy framework. While wins are important, individual and group development remains the priority, and the players will look to continue to show growth as they enter their second semester of action.
Finally, the Under-12 side will take on San Antonio FC’s U-12 squad in a pair of small-sided matches. The youngest level of USSDA competition, the U-12 teams compete in nine-a-side matches, giving each player more opportunities to get on the ball and remain engaged in the play. With two games each weekend, the coaches have plenty of opportunities to ensure that their players are staying match-fit and getting their touches in competitive situations.