Republic FC Academy Readies for NorCal Derby with San Jose
This weekend, Republic FC's Academy will see their biggest challenge of the season so far. Come Saturday, all five of Sacramento's youth sides will take to the Bay Area for an inter-league clash with their counterparts from San Jose Earthquakes in the two academies first meeting since last season.
The Matchup: SACvSJ
Saturday, November 20
Las Positas College, Livermore, California
It's an important test for Republic FC's academy, which after a strong start to the season sees three of five squads unbeaten. However, a potent San Jose squad will challenge the Indomitable Club on all fronts, bringing tremendous discipline and technical ability to the pitch. Earthquakes will bring five squads just as confident and ready to play as Republic FC will this weekend.
"They are competitive across all of their age groups," said SRFC Academy Director Dennis Sanchez, who also leads the U17 squad. "Our players and staff enjoy these types of games, and it will be a great way to assess our process and see where our players and teams currently stand in their development."
Three months into the season, Sanchez is confident that all of Republic FC's teams are making progress. "We've steadily improved over the course of the season in all age groups," he continued. "Everyone has a clear understanding of our culture and expectations, and the interaction amongst the players on the field is becoming more fluid as they spend more time together and build their relationships. This increases our ability to execute at higher level and grow our confidence as a group. We will continue to grow and adapt to whatever challenge we face."
Off the field, Academy Staff is also taking advantage of the opportunity to teach each squad how to process and deal with big, emotional matchups like the one lying ahead. After all, it's not often you get to face a regional rival with the pedigree of the one they'll see this weekend, even as the only club in the area that faces competition from MLS Academies on a regular basis.
"We want to take on these challenges, and embrace these big moments," Sanchez continued. "But we also need to keep the focus on us and show our identity."
Republic FC's academy squads matched up well in last season's meetings with their NorCal neighbors. This season, the meeting between the two comes in the midst of strong stretches for each club, with each age group on both sides riding an unbeaten streak following strong form in October and November.
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