After a break in play during Easter weekend, the Crew Soccer Academy returned to action to take on their brethren to the North, the CSA Wolves in Michigan. The weekend clash was the only match for the U-16 and U-18 squads. The U-16s fell to CSA Wolves 3-1 while the U-18s played to a 1-1 draw.
Crew Soccer Academy striker Ahinga Selemani showcased the Academy on the international stage on Sunday, as the CSA Wolves product added the final tally in the United States' 3-0 victory over Haiti in group play of the CONCACAF U-17 Championship in Panama. The U.S. U-17s are back in action Thursday as they take on Guatemala at 7:00 p.m. ET (FOX Soccer).
On the youth levels, Crew Juniors kicked-off their Crew Youth 2013 Spring Season with the Crew Youth Friendlies, with nearly 100 games played across three days. In addition to the soccer action, a used-gear swap was hosted featuring donated soccer cleats, shin guards, soccer balls and soccer clothing exchanged amongst younger players, with surplus items donated to donated to the Columbus Recreation and Parks Department.
CREW YOUTH UPDATE ROUND-UP
Carter Richardson returned to net for the Black & Gold after spending the past few months in Bradenton, Fla. with the U.S. U-17 Residency Program as CSA fell to the Wolves 3-1. Hunter Barone netted a first half brace for the Wolves, while Kalenga Selemani added a third in the 65th minute. Devyn Etling scored CSA's only goal of the match. With the win, the Wolves clinched a playoff spot as they sit atop the Central Conference table in U.S. Soccer Development Academy play. CSA is currently in sixth-place after 18 matches.
The CSA and CSA Wolves U-18 squads played to a 1-1 draw as Nate Kohl and Ben Swanson returned to the Black & Gold. Ali Jawad gave the Wolves a 1-0 lead in the 31st minute before Charlie Reymann equalized for CSA five minutes later. CSA is currently in fifth place of the USSDA U-18 Central Conference, while the Wolves trail in ninth-place.
The CSA U-16s and U-18s return to action on April 20 when the squad travels to St. Louis to face the Scott Gallagher Metro and Missouri teams. The CSA Wolves U-16 and U-18s are in action this weekend as they travel to face Milwaukee FC on Saturday at 11:00 a.m. ET and Sockers FC in Chicago on Sunday at 10:00 a.m. ET
The U.S. Soccer Development Academy season resumed over the weekend as both Crew Soccer Academy squads traveled to Indianapolis for Sunday matches against the Indiana Fire. Goals from Jacob Atkinson and Charlie Reymann led the Crew U-18 squad to 2-0 victory over the top-of-the-table Fire. In the U-16 match, CSA battled back from a two-goal deficit to salvage a 2-2 draw with both tallies coming in the final 10 minutes from Omar Mohamed and Brett Smalley.
The U-16 squad currently sits in sixth-place in the USSDA Central Conference behind the CSA Wolves (MI) in first-place. In the U-18 division, CSA is currently in eighth-place in the Central entering spring play.
Be sure to check out the Black & Gold's coverage in the March 14 edition of Columbus Alive!. Crew Soccer Academy products Kyle Hyland, Chad Barson, Ben Speas, Matt Lampson and Aaron Horton (Wil Trapp was in Mexico for International duty) are featured on the cover as Alive! writer Chris DeVille examines the evolving soccer development model in the United States and its impact in Columbus.
Also featured in the issue, editor Justin McIntosh educates readers on the Crew's supporter culture. And finally, Alive! reporter Jackie Mantey profiles the artists behind the tifo art that can be found in the Nordecke throughout the season.
Thanks again to the Alive! staff and remember to pick up a FREE copy of the issue anywhere around the city.
Playing in the biggest match of his young career, a massive weight was lifted off of Wil Trapp's shoulders as the United States handled Canada 4-2 in the CONCACAF U-20 Championship quarterfinal to qualify for this summer's 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Turkey on Tuesday night. Trapp's deflected, long-distance volley to make it 3-1 just before haftime gave the U.S. the momentum it needed to hold of its rival to the North in the second half and secure the victory.
Trapp and the United States move on to face Cuba in the semifinal of the regional tournament on Friday, March 1 at 6 p.m. ET.
For the first time this preseason, Homegrown forward Aaron Horton trained with the Black & Gold on Tuesday. Horton spent his offseason traveling the globe between a mission trip in South Africa and trials with FK Sarajevo in Bosnia and Hammarby IF in Sweden.
Training with teams in Europe was a valuable experience for the 20-year-old forward.
"It was awesome just being able to get out and travel around the globe, playing with different clubs in Europe," Horton said. "It was a great experience. I had a lot of fun too. I think I gained experience on all levels."
For Horton, the differences in culture and soccer in Bosnia and Sweden took some getting used to compared the lifestyle he is accustomed to in Columbus.
"It's different.That's the best way I can put it," Horton explained. "Sarajevo was different from Sweden, Sweden is different from here. It's all different. The training was all good, but at the same time, it was very different. The style of play in every single country is different. It was just about adapting to the places I was at and how they play, how things work. All-in-all, it was good."
Upon his arrival back at the Crew's training ground in Obetz on Tuesday, Horton was welcomed with open arms by his teammates as he enters his third season with the Black & Gold.
"I'm happy to see everyone," he said. "Everyone here has welcomed me back warmly. I love these guys, I love my teammates. It was good to be around the coaches again, they were happy to see me back. It's good to be back."
After signing as the fifth Homegrown player in Crew history, University of Akron standout Chad Barson joined TheCrew.com's Cody Sharrett for a short Q&A.
Cody Sharrett: Congratulations on signing with the Crew. How do you plan on contributing to the Black & Gold as a rookie?
Chad Barson: I think I bring a good work ethic. I have a good mentality in the way I approach things. I'm willing to contribute, and I'm a team guy. I put the team first. I'll put the team's needs above my own and whatever they need, that's what I'm willing to do.
CS: You've been captain for the past two seasons at Akron and as a centerback, you have to be a leader on the field. How do you approach being a leader as a rookie?
CB: You have to be yourself. You can't be shy. As a rookie, you're stepping into uncharted territory and just because you're the young guy or the new guy, it doesn't matter how long you've been around. Obviously guys that have been around have more say, but you still need to be able to lead, to talk and to organize guys because the position I play, you see the whole game from where you play.
CS: Your coach at Akron, Caleb Porter, has moved on to the Portland TImbers in MLS. How did he develop your game over the past four years at Akron.
CB: Basically, I like to say everything about my game is a result of Coach Porter. The way we trained at Akron, the mentality he teaches you how to approach life, how to approach school, how to approach soccer: it's really all from him. I see a lot of him in myself. When I talk, when I play, just everything really.
CS: You were born and raised in Columbus. Do you remember your first Crew game? Which players did you look up to?
CB: I don't remember my first Crew game. But watching guys like [Brian] McBride, [Brian] Maisonneuve and Jeff Cunningham, I remember watching those guys all the time when I was younger.
CS: Over the past few summers, you've spent time training with the First Team. Who is the toughest guy you've had to defend?
CB: Honestly size-wise, Andy Iro and Chad Marshall because they're some pretty big guys. I'd also throw Steve Lenhart in there because he's such a scrappy guy and he likes to be physical, but he's also a great guy.
To keep with the Crew headline of the day, this week's Throwback Thursday is dedicated to Homegrown midfielder Wil Trapp's days at nearby Gahanna Lincoln High School. While also spending time with the Crew Soccer Academy, Trapp racked up numerous accolades during his time at Lincoln.
Trapp helped the Golden Lions to a 41-1-2 record during his time playing for his school, leading Lincoln to the 2009 OHSAA Division I state title. Individually, Trapp was a two-time high school All-American, 2009 Gatorade Player of the Year in Ohio and the 2010 NSCAA National High School Player of the Year.
The Crew Soccer Academy closed out the fall portion of its season at the U.S. Soccer Developmental Academy Winter Showcase in Sarasota, Florida over the weekend. The U-16 squad went 1-2-0, beating the New England Revolution and falling to Solar Chelsea FC and Vancouver Whitecaps FC. Silankonet Bayo led the team in scoring with two goals.
The U-18s also finished 1-2-0 at the Showcase. The Black & Gold was victorious over Solar Chelsea FC, but lost to the New England Revolution and Vancouver Whitecaps FC. Andrew McKelvey found the net twice to lead the team in scoring. The USSDA season will resume in March 2013.
Nate Kohl and William Bayemi were both picked to participate in the select game, a match where U.S Soccer scouts select players from across the country to participate. In the game, Kohl assisted on Bayemi's goal.
Also in a showcase, the U-16, U-17 and U-18 Crew Juniors Gold girls squads traveled to Raleigh, North Carolina for the CASL Women's Showcase Soccer Series. Coach Glen Tourville sent along this recap of the weekend:
"Each team played three games and each performance allowed for better play and improved team continuity from the previous game. The main goal of participating in the CASL Showcase is to allow our Crew players to showcase their talents in front of the college coaches in attendance. There were coaches present from all NCAA Divisions I, II, III and also coaches representing NAIA Schools. Our players competed in front of twelve to forty different college coaches at any one time depending on field location. All and all it was a very beneficial opportunity for our three teams."
On the youth international stage, Ben Swanson and CSA Wolves striker Ahinga Selemani helped the U.S. U-17 Men's National Team to a 1-1-1 record in the Nike International Friendlies series over the weekend. The Stars and Stripes started the tournament with a 4-4 draw against Brazil before beating Turkey 4-1 and losing to Portugal 4-3 to close out the weekend. Swanson featured in all three matches, while Selemani scored twice in the tourney.
In the Men's NCAA Division III National Championship, Luke Helmuth, Jack Thompson and Logan Thompson helped Messiah when its ninth title in school history over Ryan Sabol and Austin Windsor's Ohio Northern side. Jack Thompson recorded two assists in the 5-1 victory.
On the women's side, Mackenzie Clapper helped Messiah claim a 1-0 victory over Emory in the DIII National Championship game.
The NCAA Division I Tournament held its Elite Eight round over the weekend. Here are how the remaining Crew Youth alumni performed:
No. 10 LOUISVILLE -- Alex Obbey: 3-1 L vs. Maryland
No. 3 GEORGETOWN -- David Witkoff (DNP): 3-1 W vs. San Diego, will face Maryland Friday in NCAA College Cup
The United States U-17 Men's National Team kicked off the 2012 Nike International Friendlies Wednesday night in Lakewood Ranch, Florida with an eight goal draw against South American power Brazil. Crew Soccer Academy Wolves product Ahinga Selemani seemingly scored the winning tally in the 81st minute, just 11 minutes after coming on as a second half substitute. However, Brazil got the equalizer three minutes later when Murilo headed Indio's free kick past U.S. goalkeeper Paul Christensen to cement the 4-4 result. CSA alum and Grove City native Ben Swanson went the full 90 minutes in Richie Williams' midfield.
The U.S. U-17s resume play in the series against Turkey on Friday.
The Crew Soccer Academy U-16 and U-18 squads were idle once again this week ahead of the U.S. Soccer Developmental Academy Winter Showcase in Sarasota, Florida next weekend. Similarly, the U-16, U-17 and U-18 Crew Juniors Gold girls squads will head to Raleigh, North Carolina for the CASL Women's Showcase Soccer Series.
Ben Swanson, CSA Wolves product Ahinga Selemani and the U.S. U-17 Men's National Team have a busy week ahead. The Stars and Stripes host Brazil on Wednesday, Turkey on Friday and Portugal on Sunday for the 2012 edition of the Nike International Friendlies in Lakewood Ranch, Florida.
On the college stage, CSA product Eric Erb excelled on the field and in the classroom during his senior season at Case Western Reserve University. The Worthington native registered four goals and two assists to go with his 3.96 grade point average as a nutritional biochemistry and chemistry double-major to earn Capital One Academic All- District VII First Team and Second-Team All-UAA honors this season. On Tuesday, Erb added to his accolades by earning a spot on the Capital One Academic All-American team.
Erb was an instrumental player on the U-19 and U-20 teams that won the national championships in 2010 for Crew Juniors. He played on the U-17 team that won the Ohio South State Cup. Coached by Billy Thompson for a number of years, Thompson said this of Erb: "Eric always had a great work rate and a fantastic attitude. He gave 100% every time he stepped in the field – committed to getting better every day.”
The NCAA Division I Tournament held its Sweet Sixteen round on Sunday while the Division III tourney was idle in preparation for next weekend's Final Four. Here are how the remaining Crew Youth alumni performed in the Sweet Sixteen:
No. 5 AKRON -- Chad Barson, Wil Trapp (Assist), Eric Stevenson, Tommy Schmitt, Andrew Souders, Alex Ranalli (DNP), Andrian MacAdams (DNP): 1-1 (5-4) L vs. Creighton in NCAA Sweet Sixteen
No. 10 LOUISVILLE -- Alex Obbey (Assist): 2-1 W vs. Northwestern in NCAA Sweet Sixteen
No. 1 NOTRE DAME -- Connor Klekota (DNP): 2-1 L vs. Indiana in NCAA Sweet Sixteen
No. 3 GEORGETOWN -- David Witkoff (DNP): 1-0 (4-2) W vs.Syracuse in NCAA Sweet Sixteen
MESSIAH (DIII) -- Luke Helmuth, Jack Thompson and Logan Thompson: November 30 vs. Loras in Final Four
OHIO NORTHERN (DIII) -- Ryan Sabol and Austin Windsor: November 30 vs. Williams in Final Four
MESSIAH WOMEN (DIII) -- Mackenzie Clapper: November 30 vs. Misericordia in Final Four
*CSA Manager Karen Crognale contributed to this article