Despite a stumble at Stade Saputo, the San Jose Earthquakes first team continues to pace MLS in the Supporters’ Shield race. Go down a level and the second team is enjoying a solid season in the Reserve League, including a big 3-0 win over the Seattle reserves a week ago. And despite the normal series of injuries that are par for the course over a long MLS season, the Earthquakes have a player ready at every position to step in and get the job done.
So how are the players at the next level of the Earthquakes organization doing? Coming off a successful season, even the young Goonies are getting it done at the MLS Youth Academy level. And while the senior team gets plenty of publicity for its rarefied 2012 success, it is worth checking in on the next generation of potential senior roster players. Sure, the odds of making it to the first team from the academy are daunting — not just in San Jose, but throughout the league — but the Earthquakes do have a few gems that are worth a polish.
Late last week, off the heels of the MLS Youth Academy season ending tournament in Washington, the Quakes Cast welcomed the Technical Director of the Earthquakes Youth Development Academy, Chris Leitch, to the show. Always open to conversation, Leitch was refreshingly honest as he answered a slew of questions on the current state of the academy. Even with his retirement as a player at the conclusion of the 2011 season, Leitch continues to have a positive impact on the San Jose franchise.
The results for both the Academy U-15 and U-17 team at the recently competed season ending tournament at the Starfire Soccer Complex were encouraging, and Leitch assessed the teams performances. He sharesd all the details on how the Academy has grown in the short time it has been set up, and he talked about the direction he hopes to take it moving forward. When the Academy talk is over, Leitch revealed how he has made the transition from player to director, plus he shared some anecdotes about what it means to be a fan again after so many years as the one being cheered.
Listener feedback is highly encouraged, so join the conversation going on at Twitter — hashtag #SJEarthquakes and account @quakescast — and share your questions and comments about the team, and listen to the show to hear the answers.The QuakesCast podcast comes out once a week on sjearthquakes.com, iTunes and BuzzSprout.com.