De Anza Force has enjoyed great success over the last few years. They’ve produced a number of top US youth products. From ’93 usynt Benji Joya to ’02 Real Madrid Academy player Joshua Pynadath. This is quite an impressive feat considering De Anza is not associated with an MLS club and does not have the financial resources other clubs in the area do, yet they consistently identify talent and develop it to it’s fullest.
One of the major coups during the USSDA off-season was De Anza getting usynt midfielder Angel Heredia to join from rival Academy San Jose Earthquakes. Heredia was believed by many to be the front-runner to receive a homegrown contract from the Quakes. Instead Heredia will lead the midfield for the Force.
Heredia will be joined by U18 players Erick De La Pena (’95), Salvador Martinez (’96), Sam Olson (’96) and ’96 usynt hitman Danya Kafai. Kafai split time with the U16s and U18s last season but should lead the line in 2013-2014.
A number of talented U16s were promoted including ’96 usynt Aravind Sivakumar and Santa Clara commit Carlos Delgadillo (’96). Sivakumar and Delgadillo lead the U16s in scoring, combining for 29 goals last season. Much will be expected from these two moving forward.
The #1 jersey will go to ’96 usynt goalkeeper Nedin Tucakovic. Tucakovic spent time at US Residency in 2011, as well as trials with West Ham United. Tucakovic is also eligible to play for Bosnia, and spent a few camps with them.
The De Anza U16s include some of the top players in the nation on their roster. ’97 usynt defender David Chavez is one of the more polished internationals at this level. He’s spent time with US teams in Holland, Japan and Azerbaijan. He is a steadying presence in the back and can play out wide left or in the center. He is joined by returning striker Andrew Sartor (’97) and George Korpontinos (’98).
A trio of usynt’s round out the De Anza U16 core. ’98 usynt’s Jonathan Navarro & Brian Zelaya have been targeted by a number of Mexican clubs as well as US Soccer to join the Residency program. Zelaya suffered an injury in the spring which made him unable to fully try-out for Residency. However, an invitation might still be extended. ’99 usynt Antonio Nava might have the highest ceiling in the entire Academy. The midfielder was involved for much of the U16 season last year, playing up three years.
There is little doubt that a number of top ’99-’00s will emerge from the De Anza Force U13/14 roster. The great part about De Anza is they staff has no problem placing young players up in higher age groups. As we’ve seen with Nava, we might see a few of the more promising ’99s on the U16 roster by year’s end.
Academy Star: ’96 Angel Heredia
Academy Talisman: ’97 Aravind Sivakumar
Academy Prospect: ’99 Antonio Nava