The Napa United club and 1839 Academy soccer teams finished off another full season this spring with some notable accomplishments.
In their inaugural seasons under Academy Director Gavin Taylor, all five Napa United 1839 Academy teams played in top divisions and finished first or second in their leagues.
Most notably, the 2008 girls team Fireworks went undefeated, its only blemishes being two ties to Santa Rosa United. The Fireworks finished 6-0-2, outscoring their opponents 32-9. The 2005 boys finished 9-1, placing first in their division. The 2006 boys finished second and the two 2007 boys’ teams also placed second.
It was a very successful tournament season as well for the Academy programs. The 2008 girls were champions of the Sonoma State 9 v 9 tournament this past weekend, outscoring their opponents by a combined 15-1 behind solid defensive play and a potent offense. The 2007 boys won the highly-prestigious Cinco de Mayo tournament by beating cross-town rival Napa Sport in the championship game. The 2006 boys won the Elk Grove May Kickoff Tournament, blasting their way past highly-ranked Sporting FC by a score of 9-0 in the final.
Taylor had three teams selected to play in Major League Soccer team Real Salt Lake’s Soccer Showcase in August. The newly formed 2004 boys, 2007 boys, and 2008 girls teams will play four games in four days against world-class teams in front of college scouts and MLS academy coaches.
“This is a huge opportunity for our program and players,” Taylor said. “For our older boys, I fully expect several players will get immediate attention from college and MLS academy coaches. For our younger players, this is a chance to get top-flight exposure. This tournament will open their eyes to what the future might be.”
Taylor noted that every team except the Fireworks team has younger players playing up an age group.
“This is a part of our long-term development model for success of individuals,” he said, “and not just teams.”
On the club side, the 2003 boys were crowned champions of the Silver State Cup after defeating Galt 3-1 last weekend. St. Helena’s Diego Moya led the team with two goals and earned Most Valuable Player honors. The State Cup is a year-round tournament that places all teams from Central and Northern California in various brackets. The team was coached by Chad LeTourneau, Jesus Medina and Peter Weber. The 2004 boys, led by Joel Calderon, finished as semifinalists in the Gold State Cup.
The 2008 boys, led by Tom Shutt, finished their spring season 7-1 and won their division. Napa Valley 1839 FC head coach Jesus Medina guided the 2002 boys to an 8-0 season, finishing as the only club or academy team to win every game it played.
After an impressive beginning, Napa United 1839 Academy has announced that it will add more teams into the fold in the fall.
“We had a very impressive tryout session, which allowed us to form a few more teams,” Taylor said. “I’m very excited about our 2004 boys team. We picked up a few players from outside the area looking to be a part of the program we have put together. We should be very strong.”
Aside from the 2004 boys, Taylor will add a 2005 girls team, a 2003 boys squad and a 2008 boys team, and start a 2009 pre-Academy team.
“We are at a terrific spot right now for soccer in Napa,” Taylor said. “We have committed players and families. Our coaching staff continues to grow, and we will be bringing some major football stars to Napa.”