Seattle Sounders U17s Win DA Semifinal and Advance to Final Against Atlanta United.
Coverage of the 11th season of the Boys DA Championship … the journey to these games started nearly a year ago when the U17 DA season kicked off last August.
Youth Soccer News: The 2018 Generation adidas Cup champions, the Seattle Sounders highly talented and well-coached U17 finished the U.S. Soccer Development Academy Playoffs atop Group C with nine points from three matches. Then, the team defeated Columbus Crew SC to advance to the DA Semifinals in Kansas City.
In the Semifinals, Seattle took on Barca Academy and although the game was tied 1-1 at the half, the team rallied in the second half and emerged victorious with a resounding 4-1 win.
Defender Blake Malone scored the winning goal for the Sounders and was interviewed by U.S. Soccer, saying that the team came to life in the second half and got the job done.
The next step to the U.S. Soccer Development Academy 2018 Championship is on Tuesday, July 10 in Kansas City when the Sounders meets Atlanta United at Swope Soccer Park to see which team will leave the field the 2018 DA champions.
Related Soccer News: SEATTLE SOUNDERS SCORE BIG AT DA PLAYOFFS AND EARN SPOT AT DA CHAMPIONSHIP
SoccerToday’s Diane Scavuzzo spoke with Marc Nicholls, Seattle Sounders Academy Technical Director and Chris Little, Academy Director of Coaching and the head coach for the U17s immediately after their win against Barca Academy in the DA Semifinal.
Marc Nicholls is two-time U.S. Academy Coach of the Year and holds a USSF National “A” License, the FIFA Futuro III program, as well as the prestigious French Formation License. Nicholls is also a national staff member for U.S. Soccer.
Chris Little is the former Director of Coaching and Player Development for North Carolina Youth Soccer Association and a longtime collegiate coach.
Diane Scavuzzo: Congratulations on winning the U.S. Soccer Development Academy Playoffs’ Semifinals and advancing to the final of the 2018 Academy Championships in Kansas City. What was your strategy for this match?
Chris Little: I knew we were playing a very difficult opponent. The question was how could we negate some of their strengths while playing the way we have played all year and keeping our identity. That proved very difficult in the first half.
I thought we struggled at times.
I knew we could play better in the second half.
I knew that we had really good depth in our squad. Players coming off the bench really improve your performance in the second half.
Diane Scavuzzo: What did you tell the team at halftime — when the score was tied at 1-1?
Chris Little: I told the team just to stay calm. They were a little bit rattled. The heat also made it very difficult. I was just trying to get them to be positive and in the right mindset.
Diane Scavuzzo: So what did you think of the action between the two academy teams?
Marc Nicholls: It was a game of two halves, really, not too to clichéd. In the first half, I thought Barca had the edge, to be honest.
Diane Scavuzzo: Do you think that Barca had more possession?
Marc Nicholls: Oh for sure, we couldn’t get near them at times.
In the first half, I thought we were a bit too stretched, but I felt if we could weather the storm, and we got to halftime, that we could organize the team.
We know we have some very talented players on the bench and we thought they would impact the game. And, fortunately, they did.
Diane Scavuzzo: Do you think Atlanta United is going to be tough in the final?
Chris Little: Yes, absolutely.
You do not get to a national final unless you are a very good team.
Tony Annan, the Atlanta Academy Director, is a very very good coach.
Obviously, they won the championship last year, so they will be a very tough opponent. Will get to work tonight watching some videos of them and working on getting our game plan together.