Sunday , June 04, 2017 - 10:28 PM
LAYTON — U.S. Soccer has provided youth male soccer players an advantage over their female counterparts for the last 10 years.
If the boys are good enough, they can be invited to train at a professional club’s academy, such as Real Salt Lake’s academy in Casa Grande, Arizona.
Starting this year, girls will enjoy a similar benefit. U.S. Soccer is launching the Girls Development Academy Program. The girls program will utilize similar principles to the boys program, which according to the U.S. Soccer web site, “serves as the elite player development model for the country and has significantly improved the everyday environment for players, coaches and clubs.”
69 clubs, including Layton-based La Roca, will be part of the girls academy.
“It’s an incredible honor,” said Adolfo Ovalle, technical director for La Roca. “I’m sure that the number of clubs that applied to be part of this league was hundreds and hundreds … but you have to meet certain requirements.”
Each club in the academy will be broken up into four age groups (U-14, U-15, U-16/17 and U-18/19). See La Roca’s rosters for each team below.
Each of the four teams will play the same schedule. The regular-season schedule for the 2017-18 season was announced Thursday, and La Roca will play 21 games, starting and ending with contests against Portland Thorns FC.
La Roca will start the season at Portland on Saturday, Sept. 2, and conclude the season Saturday, May 19, 2018, with a home game against Portland. The playoffs will conclude in July.
The academy is broken up into seven regions with La Roca in the Northwest Region. La Roca will play teams from California, Oregon and Washington.
La Roca’s home games will be played at the Regional Athletic Complex in Salt Lake City.
FULL LA ROCA REGULAR SEASON SCHEDULE
Saturday, Sept. 2, 2017 — at Portland Thorns FC
Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017 — Crossfire Premier
Saturday, Sept. 30, 2017 — PSV Union FC
Saturday, Oct. 7, 2017 — San Jose Earthquakes
Saturday, Oct. 14, 2017 — at Lamorinda SC
Sunday, Oct. 15, 2017 — at Placer United SC
Saturday, Nov. 4, 2017 — Portland Thorns FC
Saturday, Nov. 11, 2017 — at Crossfire Premier
Sunday, Nov. 12, 2017 — at Seattle Reign Academy
Saturday, Nov. 18, 2017 — Burlingame SC
Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018 — at San Jose Earthquakes
Sunday, Feb. 25, 2018 — at California Thorns FC
Saturday, March 3, 2018 — Placer United SC
Saturday, March 10, 2018 — California Thorns FC
Saturday, March 24, 2018 — at Seattle Reign Academy
Sunday, March 25, 2018 — at Crossfire Premier
Saturday, April 21, 2018 — Lamorinda SC
Saturday, April 28, 2018 — Seattle Reign Academy
Saturday, May 5, 2018 — at Burlingame SC
Sunday, May 6, 2018 — at PSV Union FC
Saturday, May 19, 2018 — Portland Thorns FC
Players in the academy will not be permitted to play in outside competition, such as for high school teams or the Olympic Development Program. La Roca will still field premier teams, and players on those teams will have no such restrictions.
Ovalle said those in the academy will enjoy stronger competition and greater exposure to college coaches and scouts from the U.S. Women’s National Team.
La Roca Director of Operations Heidi Wheelwright, whose son, Joseph, played in the Portland Timbers academy and is now playing at Utah Valley University, said it’s “just a whole other level for the elite player.”
“They want to become professionals or they want to get college scholarships, so they’re all so focused,” she said.
La Roca’s academy rosters were released Sunday with 62 girls named to the four teams. The U-18/19 and U-15 teams are comprised of 15 players each while the U-16/17 and U-14 teams each have 16 players.
La Roca’s academy rosters are as follows:
U-18/19 (Head Coach: Pancho Ovalle)
Emily Garcia – Judge Memorial
Kendyl Baker – Davis
Grace Nelson – Syracuse
Alyssa Ulugalu – Weber
Rylee Hunsaker – Fremont
Sofi Papastamos – Skyline
Makenna Mumford – Waterford
Olivia Wade – Davis
Courtney Talbot – Fremont
Marli Niederhauser – Mountain Crest
Anna Escobedo – Olympus
Baylie Christensen – Clearfield
Macy Martinez – Murray
Sadie Noble – Sky View
Ellie Maughan – Weber
U-16/17 (Head Coach: Felipe Diaz)
Hallie Fernandez – Timpanogos
Devi Dudley – American Fork
Rachel Twede – Alta
Paola Garcia – Maple Mountain
Rebecca Siddoway – Bingham
Alyssa Huff – Fremont
Maggie Reynolds – Bonneville
Sidney Roberts – Weber
Rylee Tatton – Weber
Kate Harrison – Viewmont
Heather Stainbrook – Alta
Lauren McConnell – Mountain Crest
Abbie Kotter – Ridgeline
Adree Johnson – Weber
Taliana Kaufusi – Skyline
Paige Easter – Skyridge
U-15 (Head Coach: Adolfo Ovalle)
Halle Van Yperen
U-14 (Head Coach: Felipe Diaz)
Karime Antonio Lopez
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