Season in Review: 02/03 Academy Boys

Recognizing one of our most successful groups.

Our Arsenal FC’s 02/03 Academy boys team just recently finished up their 2021 competitive season, and we want to take this time to congratulate all of the graduates on an outstanding youth career.

The Arsenal 02/03 Academy team was developed at the U16 level from an original pool of 72 club players. The 02/03 Academy trained 3-4 times per week and was a competitive group of high-achieving players.

Without a doubt, our 02/03 Academy pool consisted of players who had the right mentality, technique, drive, and football brains. The boys were an absolute joy to work with!

The players were trained with a modern, progressive, and winning style of play. The players and staff wanted to carry the play in every match so our players would be better prepared for the “next level”, which for many includes college soccer in the fall.

Please see below for the list of college commitments for the 02/03 Academy boys, which does not include our 2 soon-to-be high school seniors, Evan Anderson and Matt Mihm.

Division I
  • Lucas Alese - Duquesne University
  • Jack Emanuel - Duquesne University
  • Colton Spence – Robert Morris University
  • Michael Sullivan - University of Pittsburgh
Division II
  • Brendan Ash - University of Findlay
  • Ethan Gardner - Mercyhurst University
  • Devin Murray - Mercyhurst University
  • Kensly Owens - Belmont Abbey College
  • Johnathan Swann - Mercyhurst University
Division III
  • Bruce David - Bates College
  • Nate Lazarra - University of Rochester
  • Jack Nury - Franklin and Marshall College
  • Diederik Schlingemann – Carnegie Mellon University
  • Matt Taliani - Allegheny College
NJCAA
  • Greg Sprenkle – Northeast Texas Community College
Walk-ons
  • Zach Conti - St Louis University (Division I)
  • Tre Khembo - West Virginia University (Division I)
Club Soccer
  • Will Stasko - Purdue University
  • Neel Willis - University of California, Berkeley

We are always accepting new players!

Take the challenge and become an Arsenal player.

Over the last 3 years, the Arsenal 02/03 Academy has been ranked as the top team in PA West and finished with a final ranking of #11 in the nation.

Many of the players were playing up an age group over the last 3 years which stretched our players technically, tactically, mentally and physically – all good things for their overall development.

The 02/03 Academy team was full of winners with the team winning their groups at the following events:

  • Potomac
  • Bethesda
  • PA Classics

The 02/03 Academy Boys also won the 2021 Great Lakes Conference U19 Premier Division. By winning their Regional League, the boys secured a place at the Midwest Regional Tournament where they knocked off the U19 National Champions Chicago United FC in the first game of their group play, 1-0 (having to play a man down for the final 15 minutes of the match).

The team also was able to compete with MLS Academy competition this past year – knocking off the Columbus Crew’s U19 Academy squad 3-2 in February.

Reflecting back on this past year, training with the NPSL First Team players was also a great opportunity for the Arsenal 02/03 Academy players.

Sure, the boys were accustomed to playing up and challenging themselves but this First Team training opportunity allowed our Academy players to play up several years, playing against collegiate players and sometimes playing up 5 to even 10 years.

Playing with and against our playoff-bound NPSL team continued to prove to be an important developmental tool, and five of the Academy players went on to play matches at the NPSL level this summer.

The boys were not only successful on the pitch but off the pitch as well – many earning academic honors while also volunteering in their own communities, churches and at the soccer club.

Our Academy players volunteered by coaching and mentoring our youngest players at club camps and other club programs throughout the years. The boys were always willing and able to give back to the game.

What a ride it has been with these remarkable players and families over the years. The 02/03 Academy players, parents and staff are truly a family. We will miss you this fall.

We love you guys. We are humbled to work with such dedicated players and families, and wish nothing but the very best to all of you in your future endeavors.

Your youth career may be over but there are bigger things just around the corner for this very successful group of men. Can’t wait to see you guys back on the pitch soon!

Coaches Brower and Gardner

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