Two Travel Players Join D.C. United Youth Squad

Two Travel Players Join D.C. United Youth Squad

article by Barbara Bennett.

Earlier this summer, two long-time D.C Stoddert travel players were invited to join D.C. United’s U-14 Pre-Academy  team for the 2011-2012 season and will start playing their first official matches with the prestigious program in the coming weeks. Owen Marshall, a high school freshman at the Washington International School (WIS), and WIS eighth gradersAaron James bested dozens of players from the Washington metropolitan area for their slots on the 26-player roster.

“I am quite proud of Owen and Aaron, who are very different players and have each worked hard to improve in the areas where they needed work,” said Sona Walla, D.C. Stoddert’s Technical Director and director of the club’s Advanced Training Program (ATP). “They exemplify what we stress to our young players: skills + desire.”

Both players joined D.C. Stoddert travel program at U-9 and played on their respective teams — Owen on the Blue United and Aaron on the Blue Metros — through the spring 2011 season. (Owen and Aaron were both born in 1997; the D.C. Youth Academy uses the calendar year to demarcate rosters, while D.C. Stoddert’s boys’ travel teams, which are part of the National Capitol Soccer League, use a August 1 – July 31 window for roster cutoffs.) Owen and Aaron’s Stoddert team coaches included, among others, Coach Sona and Mohamed Bennani, D.C. Stoddert’s U13-14 Technical Director.

In addition to team play, Owen and Aaron participated in D.C. Stoddert’s ATP program, which offers high-level training and included matches last spring against D.C. United Pre-Academy teams. (To read a writeup of one ATP-Pre-Academy match, click HERE.

Owen and Aaron credit D.C. Stoddert, a D.C. Academy club affiliate, with giving them the fundamentals to play at a higher level. Aaron described his D.C. Stoddert coaches as “just fantastic.” After several training sessions this summer with his new D.C. United Pre-Academy team, he noted,  “The coaching is equal to Stoddert’s great level of coaching.” Observed Owen: “When I joined Stoddert, I was just a rec player. The first couple of years, we practiced our skills. Having the same coaches help me build my skills over time. They gave me a great foundation as a soccer player.”

  The players’ parents also credited the club and coaches for their boys’ success. Noted Marsh Marshall, Owen’s father: “Stoddert’s ATP program provided Owen with access to advanced skill development and exposure to the level of play of D.C. United’s Academy teams. Stoddert is fortunate to have Sona Walla’s program, and technical curriculum available for advanced players. It’s a great reflection on the Club.”

This is the second year for the D.C. United Youth pre-Academy, which includes both U-14 and U-15 teams. The Academy itself was founded in 2006. A number of Stoddert-trained players have passed through D.C United’s Academy’s ranks, including several who went on to play Division 1 college soccer. At least one other Stoddert-trained player, Andrew Ferman, is currently playing on a D.C. United Academy team. For more information about D.C. Stoddert’s ATP program, click HERE.

To learn more about the D.C. United Youth Pre-Academy, click HERE D.C. Stoddert wishes Owen and Aaron the best as they take their soccer skills to the next level.


article by Barbara Bennett. Posted 9/2/2011 by MCL

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