Austin FC Academy returned to MLS Next play this weekend, hosting matches at St. David’s Performance Center for the first time. Both the U-14’s and U-15’s scored good wins, defeating MLS side Sporting Kansas City.
The U-13’s competed against the Capital City Soccer Club in non-league play, with the players playing up an age group in a match in which they were able to put in a strong performance against the local club.
Sporting KC provided a different style of play than those the Austin Academy teams have faced so far, with Austin FC Academy GM Tyson Wahl highlighting their technical ability and tactical awareness.
Wahl highlighted the performances of the goalkeepers when it came to the U-15’s, as they helped to keep a clean sheet after the team was under pressure for the first 20 minutes. After weathering the storm, they were able to create more chances in the second half and come away with a 1-0 win.
“The players are learning that against pro academies the margin for error is smaller,” said Wahl. “Things can be a little more tense and the scoreline can be a little bit closer at times.”
The U-14’s played one of their better games overall, creating a ton of chances according to Wahl. They kept a clean sheet of their own while also coming away with two goals, one coming off a cross which has been a little rare for that team.
As the Academy continues to mature, the staff have begun to focus more on the individual. This involves integrating specific plans per player into training sessions so the boys can improve based on their own profile and how it fits into Austin’s style of play.
The initiative is led by Academy Technical Director Dr. Juan L. Delgado, along with the coaches, and it involves every player within the Academy. Each player’s goal within their individual program is visible to everyone on each team, which helps to enhance feedback and increase accountability among the group.
This is just one example of how Austin FC’s methodology within the Academy program continues to evolve and expand, with many more to come in the future.