Crew News & Notes - December 15

Duka shines on Generation adidas trip; First Kick on-sale Monday

Dilly Duka

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Getty Images

Crew midfielder Dilly Duka is capping a stellar 2011 with more hard work and success. After scoring his first professional goals in the final two matches of the 2011 MLS regular season (Oct. 15 at New England and Oct. 22 at Chicago), Duka added two more goals on the 2011 Generation adidas Tour in the Netherlands.
 
During the 10-day trip, Duka wore the captain’s armband and scored a goal in a 4-2 loss to the Ajax reserves on Dec. 8, then proceeded to add another tally on Tuesday (Dec. 13) in a 3-2 win against Dutch second division club FC Volendam before exiting the game at halftime with a bruised foot. Duka featured as a substitute in the final match of the tour, a 2-0 loss to Almere City FC of the Dutch second division on Wednesday (Dec. 14).
 
The Generation adidas team also had a chance to attend local matches, including Ajax’s UEFA Champions League fixture against Real Madrid on Dec. 7. It was Duka’s second Generation adidas Tour, having been selected to the 2010 trip to Madrid, Spain.
 
Duka will return stateside on Thursday (Dec. 15), and travel straight to Sarasota, Fla., for a U.S. Under-23 National Team camp that runs through Dec. 23, in preparation for the 2012 CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying Tournament that begins March 22.
 
TICKETS TO FIRST KICK 2012, THE CREW’S HOME OPENER, GO ON SALE MONDAY
Tickets to First Kick 2012, the Crew’s first home match of the regular season, will go on sale this Monday, Dec. 19, at 10 a.m., at the Crew Stadium Box Office, all central Ohio Ticketmaster retail locations, by calling Ticketmaster at 1-800-745-3000 and on-line at TheCrew.com, following the completion of an exclusive presale offer to Crew Soccer Nation members. Prices start at $22. The match has been scheduled for Saturday, March 24, but neither the time nor the Crew’s opponent has been determined yet. Both will be announced at a later date, with the rest of the 2012 schedule to follow.
 
CREW JUNIORS FEATURE PROMINENTLY IN SOCCER AMERICA’S BEST BOYS CLUB RANKINGS
Soccer America published its annual Best Boys Club Rankings this week and the Crew’s youth development system is well represented within the list of 30 clubs. The Columbus Crew is ranked No. 15, while one of its affiliates, the Grand Rapids Crew Juniors – 2011 U.S. Youth Soccer U-17 National Champions – are ranked No. 21. In addition, the Michigan Wolves, whose Academy teams are Crew Soccer Academy affiliates starting this year, are No. 10. This is the fourth straight year that the Crew has been ranked (No. 23 in both 2008 and 2009 and No. 8 in 2010). Soccer America selects the top 30 clubs based on success of their teams in national youth competitions over the last three years (2009-11) and the selection of their players to national youth teams and other national achievements in 2011. Club profiles may reference other accomplishments, but accomplishments of former players and the number of players placed in college are not considered.
 
EMILIO RENTERIA CALLED IN TO VENEZUELAN NATIONAL TEAM FOR MATCH AGAINST COSTA RICA
Crew forward Emilio Renteria has been called in to the Venezuelan National Team for a friendly match against Costa Rica on Dec. 22. Renteria has been capped by his country six times at the senior level and four at the U-20 level.
 
CSA’S BEN SPEAS NAMED NCAA COLLEGE CUP MOST OUTSTANDING OFFENSIVE PLAYER
Crew Soccer Academy standout Ben Speas capped a phenomenal season with yet another accolade. The ACC Tournament MVP scored the game-winner in the 2011 Men’s College Cup on Dec. 11 against UNC-Charlotte and was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Offensive Player. Speas also scored the deciding penalty in the national semifinal against UCLA on Dec. 9 capping a season that saw him score six goals and record 10 assists in his first year in Chapel Hill. Speas transferred from the University of Akron where he had participated in two Men’s College Cup Finals, winning the trophy in 2010.