PLAYERS OF THE YEAR, CONFERENCE BEST XI'S NAMED AT BOYS' DEVELOPMENT ACADEMY END-OF-YEAR BANQUET

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (July 7, 2018) - With the 2017-18 U.S. Soccer Development Academy season coming to a close, the Boys' side of the program honored its end of the year award winners, including Players and Coaches of the Year as well as Conference Best XI's at the Academy Awards Banquet.

The end-of-season awards event, which took place at the U.S. Soccer National Development Center (NDC), marks the beginning of the Academy Championships. The top four clubs from the U-16/17 and U-18/19 age groups gathered at the NDC to celebrate their award-winning teammates while getting an early scope of their semifinal competition.

Academy Award recipients for the 2017-18 season represent some of the top youth players in the United States, with most receiving frequent call ups to U.S. Youth National Team camps and tournaments throughout the season.

The 2018 awards were determined for the three Conferences of the Boys' Development Academy: West, Central and East. A total of 29 awards per Conference, the honors included:

• Conference Best XI (U-15/16, U-17/18)
• Player of the Year (U-15/16, U-17/18)
• Coach of the Year (U-15, U-16/17, U-18/19)
• Community Award
• Administrator of the Year

The Coach of the Year award is presented to team leaders that best exemplify the U.S. Soccer key qualities of a coach. These include, but are not limited to: the ability to read, analyze and understand the game; create a game-like, reality based training environment; demonstrate a holistic approach; serve as a role model; show genuine interest in players; and actively listen and communicate openly.

The Community Award highlights a club that is the exemplary model and resource in its community and contributes to the development of all players and coaches in its area. These clubs are making a significant impact on the growth of the game in their respective communities.

The Administrator of the Year is awarded to an individual that manages the daily operations of their clubs and assists staff with creating the ideal environment for players.

WEST CONFERENCE

In the West Conference, player of the year honors went to LA Galaxy's Ulysses Llanez (U-16/17) and Real Salt Lake's Richard Ledezma (U-18/19).

West Conference coaches of the year include Alex Aldaz (Portland Timbers U-15), Chris Little (Seattle Sounders FC U-16/17) and Martin Vasquez (Real Salt Lake U-18/19).

Jeremy Field of Sacramento Republic FC was bestowed the West Conference's Administrator of the Year, while the conference's Community Award was given to Seattle Sounders FC for the second season in a row.

West Conference Best XI:

U-16/17
GOALKEEPER: David Ochoa (Real Salt Lake)
DEFENDERS: Julian Araujo (Barca Academy), Leonardo Sepulveda (LA Galaxy), Kobe Hernandez (LA Galaxy), Blake Malone (Seattle Sounders FC)
MIDFIELDERS: Adam Saldana (Real So Cal), Efrain Alvarez (LA Galaxy), Hunter George (Sacramento Republic FC)
FORWARDS: Ulysses Llanez (LA Galaxy), Matthew Hoppe (Barca Academy), Ray Serrano Lopez (Seattle Sounders FC)

U-18/19
GOALKEEPER: Sam Fowler (Seattle Sounders FC)
DEFENDERS: Glademir Mendoza (Real Salt Lake), Khai Brisco (Seattle Sounders FC), Ethan Bartlow (Crossfire Premier), Jean-Julien Foe Nuphaus (San Jose Earthquakes)
MIDFIELDERS: Alex Mendez (LA Galaxy), Richard Ledezma (Real Salt Lake), Frankie Amaya (Pateadores)
FORWARDS: Sebastian Soto (Real Salt Lake), Kyle Holcomb (Pateadores), Declan McGlynn (Crossfire Premier)

CENTRAL CONFERENCE

Players of the year in the Central Conference were Sporting Kansas City's Cameron Duke (U-16/17) and Chris Richards of FC Dallas (U-18/19).

The Central Conference Coach of the Year honors went to Alex Cardenas (Houston Dynamo Youth U-15), Erik Bushey (Colorado Rapids U-16/17) and Ben Cross (Columbus Crew U-18/19).

Off the field, Christi Malvezzi of Dallas Texans was presented Central's Administrator of the Year, while the conference's Community Award was given to St. Louis FC.

Central Conference Best XI:

U-16/17
GOALKEEPER: Damian Las (Chicago Fire)
DEFENDERS: Axel Alejandre (FC United), David Mendoza (Chicago Fire), Kevin Bonilla (FC Dallas), Luke Tiedke (Houston Texans)
MIDFIELDERS: Cameron Duke (Sporting Kansas City), Luis Flores (Shattuck-Saint Mary's), Marcelo Palomino (Houston Dynamo)
FORWARDS: Stefan Stojanovic (Sockers FC), Heriberto Soto (Houston Dynamo), Johan Gomez (FC Dallas)

U-18/19
GOALKEEPER: Alex Budnik (Sockers FC)
DEFENDERS: Aedan Stanley (St. Louis FC), Jack Maher (St. Louis FC), Chris Richards (FC Dallas), Aboubacar Keita (Crew SC Academy)
MIDFIELDERS: Sean Zawadzki (Crew SC), Jesse Ortiz (Houston Dynamo), Christian Cappis (FC Dallas)
FORWARDS: Jovany Herrera (Real Colorado), Matt Hundley (Colorado Rapids), Josh Penn (Sockers FC)

EAST CONFERENCE

The Academy's East Conference saw New York City FC's Gio Reyna (U-16/17) and Atlanta United's Justin Garces (U-18/19) take home player of the year honors.

Coaches of the Year in the East Conference were awarded to John Bello (D.C. United U-15), Selim Talbi (Empire U-16/17) and Matt Pilkington (New York City FC).

The East Conference Administrator of the year was awarded to Philadelphia Union's Daina Lecuona, while the award for positive community impact went to Atlanta United FC.

East Conference Best XI:

U-16/17
GOALKEEPER: Kristopher Shakes (Philadelphia Union)
DEFENDERS: George Campbell (Atlanta United), Mason Judge (Chargers Soccer Club), Joseph Scally (New York City FC), Darin Henry (Weston FC)
MIDFIELDERS: Gio Reyna (New York City FC), Elio Fermino (New England Revolution), Griffith Yow (D.C. United)
FORWARDS: Jackson Conway (Atlanta United FC), Jeffrey Copper (Chargers Soccer Club), Scott Taylor (New York Red Bulls)

U-18/19
GOALKEEPER: Justin Garces (Atlanta United FC)
DEFENDERS: James Sands (New York City FC), Kwaku Owusu (New York City FC), Prince Loney-Bailey (New England Revolution), Will Crain (Atlanta United FC)
MIDFIELDERS: JP Marin (New York Red Bulls), Allen Seals (Orlando City SC), Simon Becher (Oakwood SC)
FORWARDS: German Giammattei (Kendall SC), Daniel Steedman (Charlotte Soccer Academy), Christian Sorto (Baltimore Armour)