CASA GRANDE, Ariz. – The U.S. Soccer Development Academy has named the Real Salt Lake Academy as the 2012-13 West Conference recipient of the Style of Play award.
The award comes on the heels of four individual awards U.S. Soccer announced for the Real Salt Lake Academy earlier this week. On Monday, Jose Hernandez and Justen Glad were named to the U-15/16 Starting XI team for the 2012-13 season. The following day, Coco Navarro and Ive Burnett were named to the U-17/18 Starting XI team.
Style of Play awards are based on technical scouting throughout the season. Teams are evaluated and graded on the following areas: offense, defense, quick transition and finishing, tactics (playing out from the back), technical, physical and psychosocial, as per a release from U.S. Soccer.
“We really try to play more. We pass the ball around, look to find the striker to lay the ball off and other things like that. More than just kicking the ball long and running after it,” said U-16 player Adam Ferguson. “It really plays into our coaches strengths because they taught us well this year on different tactics to beat teams that way.”
It should come as no surprise that the three Academy teams to be award the Style of Play from U.S. Soccer are MLS Academies; New York Red Bulls and Chicago Fire in the East and Central Conferences, respectively.
Andrew Brody, who graduated this year from the RSL Academy and signed with the University of Louisville, spent two weeks with the senior team in early June and raved about the comparisons the RSL Academy and the senior team have in their training sessions.
“The first team has the same system. Pressing to win the ball into wide areas and everyone trapping as a team. I felt in place there and it is something we work on at the academy because it prepares us.”
The Real Salt Lake Academy U-16 team will be showcasing their style of play all next week in Houston, Texas for Finals Week with the first game against Alberston SC on Sunday, July 14th.
“It feels really rewarding because it is something the coaches preach to us,” said U-16 player Jason Eng. “Definitely something that is a part of our identify and just really glad it was noticed because we put hard work into applying our style of play.”