SF Glens Under-17 defender Devin McNamara-Pittler was named one of the top prospects to watch in this weekend’s inaugural USL Academy Cup. (Courtesy / SF Glens)

SF Glens’ Under-17 team to compete in inaugural USL Academy Cup

Local prep stars head to San Antonio with SF Glens for United Soccer League Academy Cup

By Ryan Maquiñana

Special to S.F. Examiner

Another week, another historic road trip for the San Francisco Glens Soccer Club’s academy.

This weekend, the Glens have sent their Under-17 team to San Antonio’s STAR Complex for the inaugural United Soccer League Academy Cup. The competition will feature the top youth squads from clubs whose adult first teams compete in the USL Championship, USL League One, and USL League Two.

“Events like these are partially why the Glens decided to have a first team in USL League Two last year,” said the club’s director of coaching Mike McNeill. “We’re excited to not only be representing the Bay Area, but San Francisco.”

A tough slate of opponents awaits the Glens in the Western Conference group stage, namely a Sunday showdown with Oklahoma City Energy FC, whose U-17 team is currently ranked fifth in the nation.

“Preparation has been sharp this week,” said Glens U-17 head coach Danny Kirkland. “We’re going into this with a lot of confidence. It’s a fantastic opportunity that our players will relish and learn from.”

Grande, along with U-17 teammates Xander Sagatelyan and Kevin Estrada, have already signed amateur contracts with the Glens’ first team which will allow them to play in USL League Two — the top U-23 league in American soccer — while still being eligible to play collegiately down the road.

“With the USL League Two not starting up again until April, it’s great to have opportunities like this to keep the players from our youth system that we’ve signed to the first team playing at a high level until then,” McNeill said. “To be able to go up against professional clubs’ academies is also going to be an incredible experience for our other players for their development.”

Based on the other budding talent on the roster, it won’t be long until McNeill and technical director Jimmy Conrad sign more homegrown players to the first team.

Glens Under-16 midfielder Ángel Iñiguez, who was recently selected to the prestigious Sueño Alianza National Showcase out of 5,000 candidates two weeks ago, will play one age level up in Texas.

Devin McNamara-Pittler is another rising star on the squad. During the U-17 Glens’ trip to northern Spain last July for the Donosti Cup, the defender was an All-Tournament selection as the team earned an unlikely spot in the final. Earlier this week, the USL named him as one of the top prospects to watch.

“We believe in challenging our kids into becoming the best players they can be,” McNeill said. “If it means working with them individually, or moving players up in age provided they’re ready for both the mental and physical aspects of that, so be it.”

The Glens’ performance in San Antonio will dictate seeding in the last stage of the tournament, which will occur in late May of next year in Tampa, Florida.

“Spain was fantastic for the players and the club,” Kirkland said. “We’ll look to build on that and roll into this tournament with the right mentality to put our club on the map again and show what we’re about.”

SF GLENS – USL ACADEMY CUP ROSTER

# Name Position High School

1 Zach Thomas GK Sacred Heart Cathedral

2 Nick Northrop M Sacred Heart Cathedral

3 Devin McNamara-Pittler D Sacred Heart Cathedral

4 Kol Bassuk D Urban

5 Xander Sagatelyan D Lowell

6 Kian Jones M/D Sacred Heart Cathedral

7 Kevin Estrada F Leadership

8 Ángel Iñiguez M Summit Shasta

9 Pierre Lesperance F Washington

10 Diego Grande F/M Sacred Heart Cathedral

11 Alejandro Palos F/M Lowell

12 Miles Millman M Lincoln

13 Owen Riess M Lowell

14 Roel Cahill-Rosqueta M/D Urban

15 James Daly M Branson

16 Peter Mahoney D St. Ignatius

17 Kilian Folan M Sacred Heart Cathedral

Head Coach: Danny Kirkland

SUNDAY’S LOCAL COLLEGE SOCCER GAMES

MEN

• 11:30 a.m. – SF STATE at UC SAN DIEGO

Glens to Watch: Jonny Orozco, Adrian Medina, Julio González Ponce (SFSU).

• 12 p.m. – No. 2 STANFORD at SAN DIEGO ST.

Glens to Watch: Zach Ryan, Arda Bulut, Kyle Casey, Rhys de Sota (STAN); Miles Stray, Kyle Colonna (SDSU).

• 4 p.m. – CAL at UCLA

TV: Pac-12 Network; STREAM: pac-12.com/live

Glens to Watch: Alonzo Del Mundo, Simon Lekressner, Drake Callender, C.J. Grey, J.J. Foe, Francisco Perez (CAL); Eric Pearce, Andrew Paoli (UCLA).

WOMEN

• 12 p.m. – No. 2 STANFORD at OREGON

TV: Pac-12 Network; STREAM: pac-12.com/live

• 1 p.m. – CAL at OREGON ST.

• 2 p.m. – SF STATE at UC SAN DIEGO

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