Monday, June 30, 2014

Wondolowski's impact on San Jose Earthquakes Academy

Stephen Wondolowski, the head coach of the San Jose Earthquakes U-15/16 Development Academy team, and a couple of his players spoke with me during the Academy Playoffs about 2014 FIFA World Cup forward Chris Wondolowski and his impact on the club's youth system.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Two penalty kicks lift Chicago Magic PSG to U-15/16 Academy Quarters

Chicago Magic PSG's Stephen Payne
The Chicago Magic U-15/16 team’s 2013-14 Development Academy season was on the brink. Down a goal to Kendall SC in group play at the Academy Playoffs at Grand Park in Westfield, Indiana, the Magic rallied with two Luka Prpa penalty kicks to earn a 2-1 victory and win Group E.

Kendall was in the driver’s seat entering the game with six points and needing a draw or a victory to win the group. The Miami-based side also had a first-half goal to its name against Chicago Magic PSG.

But the Magic showcased a string of scoring chances and had a nose for the box to draw two penalties and several other moments in the offensive third.

“We all just stuck together, kept going, and just played as a team, and it worked out great for us,” Prpa said. “In the first half they put us under pressure, and then we brought it together at halftime and we really picked it up a lot in the second half. We wanted this badly, for our coaches, for our parents, for everybody. We all wanted it.”

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Yedlin's rise inspiring Academy players at Seattle Sounders FC

DeAndre Yedlin's former Development Academy coach Dick McCormick and a couple Seattle Sounders FC Academy players chatted with me about Yedlin's rise professionally and internationally at the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Eclipse Select defender Hannah Marwede bound for Miami in 2016

Eclipse Select's Hannah Marwede
CHICAGO (June 20, 2014) – Eclipse Select Soccer Club defender Hannah Marwede (Lake Forest, Ill.) credits the club for her increasingly assertive demeanor and leadership over the years. Now, Marwede will look forward to utilizing her skills in the incredibly competitive Atlantic Coast Conference.

Marwede recently announced her commitment to play for Miami starting in the fall of 2016, and representing the Hurricanes in the ACC is already motivating her as she continues performing at a high level with Eclipse Select.

“I’m just so excited to play in the ACC,” Marwede said. “I’m really looking forward to that, and just knowing that I will be playing in that conference makes me want to keep training super hard to help the team when I come in.

“I visited all types of schools – big, small, private and public – and after Miami came to one of our games, they showed interest in me. I was definitely interested, and I could tell after my first visit with them that things clicked and I fit in well with their coaching staff.”

Under the guidance of Eclipse Select President Rory Dames and the club’s experienced staff, Marwede says she has made the biggest strides in changing what she says was a passive approach before joining the club.

“When I first came to Eclipse, I was not a very aggressive player,” Marwede said. “Rory and the coaches branded the fact that you cannot be passive. They really changed me from a player who was too soft. Now I’m aggressive, hard-nosed, and mentally I’m much stronger.”

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Monday, June 16, 2014

Eclipse Select's Lea Waddle headed to Vanderbilt in 2016

CHICAGO (June 16, 2014) – It is only natural to gravitate toward the successful Eclipse Select Soccer Club sister connection that exists in the Waddle family. With two older sisters already competing at the college level, current club midfielder Lea Waddle (Lake Forest, Ill.) will become the third collegian on the pitch as she recently made her commitment to play at Vanderbilt in the fall of 2016.

“It’s so exciting to finally know where you are going to go to college,” Waddle said. “I still have a lot to do and accomplish with the club program, so that is where my focus still is. It was never my priority to have my commitment this early, but it’s nice to have gone through this process. Everything just fell into place.”

During her search, Waddle had also visited Boston College, as well as Northwestern, where her oldest sister Georgia completed her junior season in the fall of 2013. Instead, Lea will reunite with the family’s second-oldest sister, Angela, who wrapped up her freshman campaign and will be a junior when Lea joins in 2016.

“She obviously had some great pointers and great advice, discussing how to weigh the positives and negatives during the search,” Waddle said of her conversations with Angela. “Her personal experience, though, will be much different than mine. We are two completely different players. It turned out to be a perfect fit for me in my own way, and in her own way, so it’s interesting how things worked out like that.”

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