Leg-AZ teams have begun their high-level competition this soccer year, but here is some news to catch you up with summer activities as well as updates on the start of this year’s team competitions.
First for some individual news… The Olympic Development Program (ODP) has been busy with Region III camps over the summer. Select players from the Florida ODP teams were invited as Region III pool players to camps in Birmingham. Thomas Kay (2000), Maleik Jackson (2001), Dorian Jackson (2002), James Lee (2002), Trace Umstead (2002), and Skyler Cohen (2003) were among the few Floridians selected for this honor and opportunity. To have so many players from the club at these camps is remarkable. For the 2002 team, Leg-AZ players represented 3 out of 19 players from Florida! Maleik, James, and Trace were then selected during camp as prospective Region III players (“holdovers”), and Trace was recently officially selected to the Region III Team! Other selections might occur as well. The next step for those selected is participation in camps to evaluate potential national team players. Congratulations to all of these players!
For the first time, five Leg-AZ teams are competing in the highest level league in the Florida Youth Soccer Association – the Florida State Premier League (FSPL). Only U14 and older teams compete in FSPL, and every available Leg-AZ team in those age groups has been accepted for this highly competitive soccer: 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000, and 1998/99. They will face many of the best teams in Florida, so every game is tough, but you have to play these teams to learn from the best competition. Although victories at this level are difficult to achieve, our 2002, 2000, and 1998/98 teams have won FSPL games thus far. Good luck and good soccer to all of the Leg-AZ FSPL teams this year!
Four Leg-AZ teams competed in the Disney Labor Day Showcase: 2002, 2001, 2000, and 1998/99. Congratulations to the 2002 and 1998/99 teams for winning their brackets! Both teams fell in the semifinals but beat some very good teams along the way.
Player Spotlight: Maleik Jackson. In this news release, we put a spotlight on Maleik to congratulate his soccer work over the summer. Maleik Jackson participated in ODP and had an excellent showing at the Region III camp this summer. During Maleik’s first two years of ODP his progress stopped at the state team pool. His determination and commitment propelled his success this year. He pushed through stiff competition in the 2001 age group to reach regional holdovers in July. This is the highest achievement at the regional camp where only 36 players are selected for the entire regional pool, including every state in the southeast from Texas and Oklahoma to Florida up to Tennessee and the Carolinas. He is now waiting to be called up via invite later this fall to the Region III team which would include national travel in December and possibly an international trip in the spring of 2017. When asked, his mother Dorothy stated, “I am extremely proud of him to come up in our house behind his oldest brother (Trey, 98/99 team) which is hard shoes to fill. We are so proud of him!” Maleik’s teammates on the 01 team are also proud of him and continue to support his goal to reach the next level with ODP. Congratulations Maleik and good luck!