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Academy Check In: Sacramento's Youth Squads Prep for Tournament Weekend

December 3, 2021 - United Soccer League Championship (USL)
Sacramento Republic FC News Release


Republic FC's academy squads have been working hard of late, continuing their MLS NEXT competition schedules while working to improve both mentally and on the pitch. Even with their holiday break in view, just a few more tests remain for Sacramento's developmental programs in 2021.

To wrap up November, Republic FC's youth sides took to the Bay Area for a NorCal derby with their counterparts from San Jose Earthquakes. The afternoon did not disappoint, as Northern California's two best academy programs produced a day of exciting results. Republic FC went 2-2-1 in the contests, handing San Jose their first losses on the season. The U13 squad emerged victorious behind an eventual game-winner from Salem Chandler just after the break and a strong back line performance, allowing them to log their 8th clean sheet of the year. The U17's had a tough start, but battled back as the match went on for a come from behind 2-1 win courtesy of an 85th minute score from Dwayne Ewing. The U14 team played to a 1-1 draw, overcoming early pressure from San Jose before finding the net with 15 minutes left to equalize.

"It was a great weekend of competitive matches," said SRFC Academy Director Dennis Sanchez. "It was certainly a bigger spectacle, and we are happy with the results we achieved."

After some time off for Thanksgiving, each team got back at it this week, preparing for a big weekend of important tournament tests. The U13 and U14 squads head to the San Diego area this weekend for Surf Cup, where they'll battle with their counterparts from Phoenix Rising and some of Southern California's top youth clubs Friday through Sunday.

The U15, U17, and U19 squads take to Norco, CA for MLS NEXT Fest, a showcase tournament that will pit them against MLS NEXT teams from Florida, New Jersey, New York, Colorado, and Missouri. Most importantly, however, the tournament serves as an evaluation hub for coaches, and talent evaluators at the next level- 150+ college coaches, 50 professional clubs, and representatives from the Youth National Team staffs of multiple countries will be present to get a glimpse of some of the nation's top youth players.

"This kind of environment will help prepare them and support their pathway," Sanchez said of the tournament. "There may be moments where we have to dig deep, but with good performances, we're confident we can be successful every time we take the field."

Getting players in the right mindset for the challenging matches ahead is a critical task for the coaching staff. With three matches in five days and a number of off-field distractions present, staying focused and utilizing the new setting as a developmental opportunities are two of the academy's big goals for the weekend.

"It'll be key that everyone is ready to contribute and help their team," Sanchez said of the tournaments. "We hope that the environment will help to prepare our players and test out a lot of what we have worked on over the last few weeks and months."

Following their trips down south, SRFC will break for three weeks for the holiday season, allowing players to recharge before returning for their season's second half from January to May. For now, they've got one goal- put together as many quality performances as they can until then.


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