After spending the summer playing with the United States U-15 and U-17 National Teams, Crew Soccer Academy standout Benny Swanson has accepted an offer to participate in the US U-17 Residency program in Bradenton, Florida.
The 15-year-old Grove City native hopes his decision will help him secure a spot in next year's U-17 World Cup.
"It's a great opportunity. It was kind of hard to pass up," Swanson said. "The [FIFA U-17] World Cup is next year in Dubai. I would like to make that roster, hopefully. If I don't, I hope I just learn every day in training in that environment with that pro mentality."
"It's great for our organization," Crew Technical Director Brian Bliss said. "Obviously it's a little bit premature to be speaking about Benny as a future pro for the club, but he's on the right track. It gives credibility to our organization on the youth side as to what we're doing."
Bliss says residency can only help Swanson's promising skill set.
"Right now, he's only getting three or four days of training each week, he's going to get five or six days each week training with the top players in the country at his age [in Bradenton]." Bliss explained. "He's got the ability to break down players off of the dribble and create on his own. He works for the good of the team in terms of being a team player. He's got an eye for the pass and can deliver it. He's got a multitude of skills and being in that environment for the next year, it's going to make him a better player."
The young midfielder's drive and skill set reminds Bliss of a certain US Men's National Team mainstay.
"He's got a lot of things Michael Bradley had," Bliss said. "Bradley grew physically really quick at the end, but he was also undersized. [Bradley] had the ability to dribble, pass, create, and had the same attitude and hunger for the game that Benny has. There are some comparisons. They may be unfair because Michael is a full national team player and I don't want to put pressure on [Swanson], but he's got a lot of this same [skills]."
Being in the same sentence with Bradley and others who attended the U-17 Residencty previously such as Landon Donovan, Brek Shea, and Eddie Gaven is still surreal Swanson says, but he remains determined to one day don the Black & Gold as a professional.
"It's kind of surreal, but I've been working hard. That's where hard work will get you," Swanson said. "The Crew has helped me a lot to progress as a player and as a person."
"[Playing professionally for the Crew] would be a dream come true," he finished.
The Crew Soccer Academy's U17 squad finished in third place of the 2012 Generation Adidas Cup Thursday in Tukwila, Washington. The U17s topped the San Jose Earthquakes side 3-2 behind Benny Swanson's game-winner.
Hilliard native Nathan Kohl won the Golden Boot at the tournament, scoring six goals in all.
The squad was made up of players born in 95 and 96 from CSA, CSA Wolves, Challenger Crew Juniors and Grand Rapids Crew Juniors:
Matthew Appel (Canal Winchester, OH) Crew Soccer Academy
William Bayemi (Canal Winchester, OH) Crew Soccer Academy
Aiden Bean (Powell, OH) Crew Soccer Academy
Brady Blackwell (Dublin, OH) Crew Soccer Academy
Sam Brown (Ann Arbor, MI) Crew Soccer Academy Wolves
Julian Castro (Lorain, OH) Challenger Crew Juniors
Georges Daoud (Columbus, OH) Crew Soccer Academy
Dominic Grida (North Royalton, OH) Challenger Crew Juniors
Carter Grimm (Columbus, OH) Crew Soccer Academy
Noah Hutchins (Columbus, OH) Crew Soccer Academy
Tyler Kidwell (Dublin, OH) Crew Soccer Academy
Nathan Kohl (Hilliard, OH) Crew Soccer Academy
Andrew Lewis (Rockford, MI) Grand Rapids Crew Juniors
Andrew McKelvey (Dublin, OH) Crew Soccer Academy
Charlie Reymann (Worthington, OH) Crew Soccer Academy
Carter Richardson (Dublin, OH) Crew Soccer Academy
John Schuman (Columbus, OH) Crew Soccer Academy
Ryan Scott (Grand Rapids, MI) Grand Rapids Crew Juniors
Benjamin Swanson (Grove City, OH) Crew Soccer Academy
Blake Townes (Canton, MI) Crew Soccer Academy Wolves
The Crew Juniors U-19 advanced to the U.S. Youth Soccer National Championship game with 2-1 victory over Empire United SA Syracuse on Thursday morning behind goals from Mike Walker and Cole Denormandie. The 2012 National Championship game will be televised on Fox Soccer Channel at 8pm Saturday night live from Rock Hill, SC. Midfielder Wil Trapp will join the U-19s for the National Championship, fresh off a fourth-place finish with the United States U-20 Men's National Team at the Milk Cup in Northern Ireland.
Captained by Crew Soccer Academy product and Akron standout Wil Trapp, the United States U-20 Men's National Team beat Turkey 1-0 on Monday to advance to the third place match on Thursday against Chile. The U-20s rebounded from a 2-1 defeat to defending champion Denmark in their opening match on July 21.
The U-20 National Team's assistant coach Brian Bliss will return to Columbus following Thursday's match to resume his duties as Technical Director for the Crew. Soon after, Trapp will return to Akron to begin training for the 2012 season.
Crew Technical Director and United States U-20 Men's National Team assistant coach Brian Bliss and Crew Soccer Academy product Wil Trapp left Columbus on Monday for the 2012 Milk Cup in Northern Ireland. The U-20s will train at Liverpool FC's facilities this week before their opening match on Saturday against defending champions Denmark. After finishing in third place last year, Trapp feels the U-20s are poised to make a run at the title in 2012.
"I'm pretty excited," the Akron midfielder said last week. "We've got a good group going. I think with the team we have, we can make a good run at the final."
"The level of competition is good," Bliss added. "It's still, from those countries and the U.S. as well, the preparatory phase leading up to the next cycle for the (FIFA U-20 World Cup) qualifying period. So it's a good opportunity for us to get into Europe and play some quality European teams to measure ourselves and see where we're at. We're looking forward to it. We've been invited to that tournament for a number of years and we've done well in the past there. I think we have the same expectations this time around."
Trapp has split his time between this summer between the U-20 National Team, training with the Crew, and playing with Bliss and the Crew Juniors Super-20s.
"I've been playing a lot of high quality games, training with the Crew as well has been helping me a lot," Trapp said of his progression in 2012. "Just working on speed of play, it's gotten a lot faster. My range of passing as well. I think playing with the National Team, as well as training (with the Crew), has really pushed me to the next level a little bit more."
"(Trapp) brings the same stuff to the table every time," Bliss complimented the Gahanna native. "He brings a good attitude, professionalism, he knows his role, and he's a leader when he's on the field. Organizing, he's generally in possession of the ball, and guys look to him for that stuff whether it's with (the Crew) or the U-20s."
The U-20 National Team will compete against Chile, Denmark, Mexico, Turkey, and host Northern Ireland at the Milk Cup.
The Crew Juniors Under-20 team, coached by Crew technical director Brian Bliss, closed out the USL Super-20 regular season by winning the Midwest Division with a perfect 7-0-0 record. In the last three games of the season, the CJ 20s defeated Cincinnati’s Kings Soccer Academy 6-1 on July 5, followed by a pair of Michigan club’s – 2-0 over Waza FC on July 7 and 8-1 over Alliance Academy on July 8. The 20s are now qualified for the USL Super-20 Championships in Bradenton, Fla., which are set to begin on July 19.
The Crew Juniors Under-19 team, coached by Crew technical director Brian Bliss, won their second regional title in three years at the USYS Midwest Regional Championships in Saginaw, Mich. The 19s started the tournament with an 11-0 win over South Dakota United Madrid on Saturday (June 23), with goals by Chris Davis, Fatai Alashe, Chandler Gagnon, Cole Denormandie (2), Jordan Tyler, Nick Hagglund, Charlie Macias, Matt Hill, Adam Montague and Will Trapp. On Sunday (June 24), the 19s continued their dominance of their group with another commanding win, 9-1 over Kentucky’s United 1996 Internationals, behind goals by Trapp, Denormandie (2), Alashe, Davis, Kofi Agyapong, Montague and Tyler. The Crew Juniors closed out the group stage undefeated with a 3-2 win over Kansas City FC behind goals by Tyler, Trapp and Davis on Monday (June 25). A 3-0 semifinal victory over Wisconsin’s NSC–FCGB followed on Tuesday (June 26), with goals from Will Walker, Matt Walker and Montague. And in Wednesday’s final, goals from Agyapong, Matt Walker and Tyler led Crew Juniors to a 3-1 win over Pacesetter Premier of Toledo. The Crew Juniors U-19s will now attempt to capture their second McGuire Cup national title in three years at the USYS National Championships in Rock Hill, S.C., July 25-29.
For more info on the tourney, please visity the USYS website.
The Crew Juniors U19 squad had an impressive showing over the weekend to win its group at the US Youth Soccer Regionals in Saginaw, Michigan. On Friday, the Juniors beat South Dakota United Madrid 11-0 in the team's opening match. It continued its dominance on Saturday with a 9-1 win against United 96 from Kentucky. The team finished group play today by beating KCFC 3-2. Cole DeNormandie leads the team with four goals in the tournament. The U19s move on to the semifinals to play New United from Wisconsin.
For more info on the tourney, please visity the USYS website.
A pair of Crew Soccer Academy standouts have begun their summer by spending time with their respective youth national teams.
Gahanna native Wil Trapp is currently in South America with the US U-20 National Team for a trio of friendlies. The Akron midfielder assisted on Victor Pineda's strike to put the US onto the scoresheet in Tuesday's 4-2 loss against Uruguay. The US will face Uruguay again today in Montevideo before heading west to face Chile on June 12.
Benny Swanson (Grove City) recently helped the US U-15 National Team to a fifth place finish in the International Marveld Tournament in Holland. The team finished ahead of the likes of Ajax, Olympique Marseille, Liverpool, and Real Madrid academy sides in the tournament.
Wil Trapp - courtesy of TheCrew.com
Benny Swanson - courtesy of Marveld Toernooi
TopDrawerSoccer.com unveiled its 2016 rankings yesterday, and the Crew Soccer Academy's Benny Swanson comes in ranked as the 3rd overall player in the class. The Grove City native recently made an appearance in a Crew reserve game against New York on April 7.