FC Dallas U15 Score Big at Girls’ DA Championships
The 2018 #DAChampionships offered highly competitive youth soccer matchups with the chance for players to perform at their best in front of U.S. Soccer scouts and many National Team coaches.
Dallas FC U15 Girls DA team became among the special few who claimed the championship title in the inaugural year.
The Girls’ DA championship is the fifth title for FC Dallas — the DA Boys’ side earning four national crowns starting in 2012 (U-18/19), again in 2015 (U-15/16) and then two in 2016 (U-15/16 and U-18/19).
It was an exciting game in 103 degrees at Swope Soccer Village in Kansas City but the players all kept their composure as FC Dallas battled Southern California’s Legends FC to earn the right to lift the inaugural U15 Girls Development Academy Championship trophy.
Jaedyn Shaw and Riley Baker scored the goals which crowned their team champions with a final score of 2-0. The goal from Shaw was a stroke of trained magic, with her world-class strike flying high over the heads of Legend’s defenders to find the back of the net before anyone could respond. Baker’s goal sealed Legend’s fate — and even with a tireless effort, the Southern California girls could not get the ball past FC Dallas goalkeeper Jordyn Gunnarson and across the goal line.
“There’s a phenomenal investment by ownership and by our coaching staff, not just on the girls’ side, but on the boys’ side as well, into every single athlete,” FC Dallas head coach Matthew Grubb told U.S. Soccer. “Whether it’s facilities or full-time physiology and goalkeeper trainers, we have resources that we pour into these girls that no one else in the country really has.”
Diane Scavuzzo interviewed FC Dallas head coach Matthew Grubb while his team was at dinner celebrating their victory:
Diane Scavuzzo: Congratulations on your team’s success at the first Girls’ DA Championships. How does it feel?
Matt Grubb: It is an unbelievable experience to be the national champions in the inaugural year for the Development Academy — it is just incredible.
Diane Scavuzzo: How was the level of competition?
Matt Grubb: You look at the bracket and what we came through … we played LA Galaxy San Diego, we played Concorde Fire, we played Seattle Reign, San Diego Surf — among others, and Legends FC in the final — we had a humdinger of a pathway to reach the final.
This was the hardest pathway that we’ve had to a finals’ tournament and it was an amazingly professional setup.
Diane Scavuzzo: You feel the girls were treated as young professional players?
Matt Grubb: Oh absolutely. And the standards that we have been held to for training and games has raised the level of play for everyone.
When you talk about the number of U.S. Soccer scouts who are watching the games throughout the season and our technical advisor – all focused on making sure we have unique, autonomous and creative players … The Girls’ DA is a highly positive and unique environment.
Diane Scavuzzo: How do you think being in the US Soccer Development Academy had raised the standards of play?
Matt Grubb: We train more – four days a week – and we have to be thoughtful about our training and more mindful. Each club in the DA is held to very high standards, it’s another level.
Diane Scavuzzo: What are the future goals for most of your players?
Matt Grubb: I think right now, most of our players are really focused on college more than on trying to become national team players but with this success, I think there are a few more who may start dreaming big.
Diane Scavuzzo: What is your coaching philosophy?
Matt Grubb: I want every individual to achieve their own goal. For us, that’s different for every single person.
We want to support and foster the development and growth of every individual on their pathway to achieve their goal.
Diane Scavuzzo: How do you describe yourself as a coach?
Matt Grubb: I believe I get way more out of coaching the girls than they get out of me.
I love what I do.
Our players are so giving and work so hard, it’s very rewarding to be their coach.
I have been a high school coach, a boys’ coach and the coach of teams that have not been quite as driven, this team really wants to achieve.
I am very proud of all of our players.
Diane Scavuzzo: As a former high school coach, I have to ask, what do you think of the girls in the DA not being allowed to play high school?
Matt Grubb: That is a tough, tough situation.
I appreciate school pride and Friday night lights and the feeling of the school behind you, but I think from a grind standpoint, but for the truly elite athlete, you can’t have that number of games and still achieve your goals and stay healthy.
We are fortunate enough as a club to be a part of two elite national leagues that offer both pathways.
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Updated 1:28 PM CST