ST. LOUIS, Mo. – The Saint Louis FC Academy was well-represented at the recent U.S. Soccer Youth National Team Regional ID session in Chicago, IL with four U15 players and three U14 players in attendance.
The USYNT Identification Centers are no-cost opportunities for U.S. Soccer scouts to evaluate and monitor top talent in the region to identify players for the Youth National Team program. The training sessions are invite-only and provide opportunities for development, education, and mentoring between U.S. Soccer and the local clubs and players. The players are discovered by U.S. Soccer scouts at games or by Talent Identification Managers, in addition to recommendations by Academy Directors and coaches.
“These types of opportunities are crucial, not just for youth national team identification, but for player development,” said STLFC Academy Director Blake Decker. “The types of players who are invited to attend these events are often the highest performing players in their everyday environment. Having to perform with and against similar players from clubs across the Midwest region under the direction of YNT Talent ID staff puts those players in an uncomfortable, challenging, pressurized environment replicating that of a National Team camp, competing in a playoff competition or, ultimately, making their professional debut. The more experience youth players can have in these uncomfortable environments, the more likely they are to thrive when encountering the vast array of challenges that face a youth player aspiring to play at the professional or international level.”
From the STLFC Academy U15 team, there were four players invited for the ID session: Jack Wagoner (midfielder), Wyatt Lewis (midfielder), Giuseppe Gereau (defender), and Wyatt Erber (midfielder). From the STLFC MO & IL U14 teams, there were three players invited: Josh Maher (defender), Braden Seel (midfielder), and Grant Locker (midfielder).
“The USYNT Regional ID sessions are a great way to compare your soccer abilities to others in the region,” said Wagoner. “Also, I enjoy going to these because it helps me identify my strengths and weaknesses, which then I can go home and work on, to make me a better player.”
“It’s exciting knowing that you have been identified,” added Maher. “There’s not many better feelings you can have.”