Player Development Update: Younger Academy teams head to D.C. over Labor Day Weekend

Fire Academy Director Larry Sunderland is leading a delegation of five Academy teams (and a number of chaperones) for a weekend of matches just outside of Washington D.C.

The club’s U11-U15 Academy sides will each get a few matches this weekend including games against fellow MLS sides as they prepare to begin their Academy seasons later this fall.

“It’s important for us that we’re getting our younger players games against MLS opponents,” said Sunderland. “The U14 Academy is going to get two games against D.C. United and Philadelphia and all the other age groups are going to get a game against MLS opponents.”

Other MLS clubs taking part include Toronto FC, Columbus Crew, New York Red Bulls, New England Revolution and Montreal Impact.

This year marks the second year the Fire Academy has taken the Labor Day weekend trip to D.C., though the club is sending more teams in 2013 than last year. 

“As a preseason thing, this is good for us,” continued Sunderland. “The young kids are getting a really good experience, it’s a good way for us to indoctrinate the guys in our system and sets the tone for the season.”

Five Fire Academy Players Take Part in U.S. U-18 Combine

Earlier this month, five Fire Academy players were invited to take part in U.S. Soccer’s National Combine to identify talent for the next cycle’s U-18 team held August 9-13 in Portland, Ore.

Defenders Mauricio Pineda (brother of Fire midfielder Victor) and Shannon Seymour as well as midfielder Collin Fernandez were joined by Fire Academy newbie Brad Dunwell and Indiana Fire Academy’s Cameron Lindley at the five-day combine.

“It’s a great accomplishment to have five players from our Academy in consideration for the U-18 national team,” said Sunderland. “We think all five are strong prospects and deserving of this type of recognition.”