U23s Match Preview: 5.4.2012 vs. Ft. Lauderdale Schulz Academy
Under 23s open PDL season FridayORLANDO, Fla. – The Orlando City U23s open their season this Friday, May 4, at the Seminole Soccer Complex in Sanford, Fla. The U23s will face Ft. Lauderdale Schulz Academy in their first match of the 2012 season, with kickoff set at 7 p.m.
The U23s are the PDL team in the Orlando City Soccer Club pyramid. A level below the USL PRO, the PDL is geared toward developing young soccer players. All Orlando City U23s matches will be held at the Seminole Soccer Complex.
The team is led by Head Coach Joe Avallone, who was the head coach of the Central Florida Kraze before the team became the Orlando City U23s. Avallone led the club to six US Open Cup appearances along with the 2004 PDL National Championship. He has never had a losing season in his coaching career.
The first opponent for the U23s will be the Ft. Lauderdale Schulz Academy from Boca Raton, Florida. Schulz is led by Midfielder William Suedois, who had five goals in 2011. The team is owned and coached by Josef Schulz, who recently won the National Coach of the Year by the U.S. Adult Soccer Association.
The academy has produced such star players as Jozy Altidore, Jeff Cunningham and Orlando City’s own Matt Luzunaris. Avallone commented on his team’s opponent and how the U23s are preparing for Friday’s match.
“Miami teams have a ton of talent,” Avallone said. “It’s not easy to prepare against Schulz. They are a great team with a great coach.”
The U23 consists of top players from the NCAA level, including Stetson’s Jonathan Mendoza, Rollins’ Keneil Baker and Flagler’s Will Frandsen. UCF, University of Tampa, West Florida and North Carolina are some of the other schools represented on the U23 team.
“I’m very confident in the players that we have,” Avallone said. “We are getting our players back into the swing of things this week. I have the utmost confidence in the product we’re putting on the pitch on Friday.”
Tickets start at $5 for kids 16 and below, with admission for adults 17 and up just $10. Tickets are available at the gate before every home match.
Player to Watch – Ryan Griffin:
Griffin, a recent graduate of the University of Tampa, scored 11 goals and three assists in his senior season en route to first team all-Sunshine State Conference honors. He also has previous PDL experience, playing with the Portland Phoenix out of Portland, Maine, during the 2011 season.
Moses Aduny, Johan Bergfeld, Ricardo Campbell, Oumar Diahkite, David Graydon, Will Frandsen, Ryan Griffin, Ezequiel Pedraza, Joseph Toby, Steven Williams, Sean Reynolds, Chip Sanders, Anthony Arico, Keneil Baker.