Showcase season rolled on to kick off February, and last weekend there were five Riverhounds Development Academy’s boys teams competing at a pair of ECNL Florida Showcases — the ECNL event in Lakewood Ranch and the Regional League event in Sanford — across four days of play from Feb. 2-5 with more than 100 colleges represented scouting the action.
The Regional League squads in the 2005/06 and 2007 age groups were first to begin play on Friday, and both put together strong weekends with two wins each out of three matches.
The 2005/06 RL Boys started things off with a 2-1 win over Parkland SC, with Noah Hutter and Jonathan Nelson scoring to push the Hounds past the Floridian club. The Hounds kept rolling with a 3-1 win over East Meadow SC (N.Y.) behind a pair of Danny Bourgeois goals and another by Hutter. Hutter made it four goals on the weekend in the final match, but the Hounds were kept from a perfect record with a 4-2 loss to South Carolina Surf.
The 2007 RL Boys suffered their lone setback in the opening match, falling 3-1 to Atlanta Fire, but the team got their first win on Day 2 when Hamza Elsayed scored the only goal in a 1-0 win over local club Braden River SC. The team finished by finding the net three times in the finale — two goals for Elsayed and one for Wyatt Catchen — to take a 3-2 triumph over Eastside FC of Washington state.
The ECNL sides began play on Saturday, and the 2008 Boys led the way with an undefeated, 2-0-1 weekend that began with a tough scoreless draw against Alabama FC. The goals started to fall in the second match when Cole Radcliffe potted an early pair at the back post, and Ryan Maloney added a 25-yard free kick for a 3-1 win over Charlotte Independence. The team showed its defensive mettle in the finale, and a third goal of the showcase by Radcliffe was enough to close out an outstanding weekend with a 1-0 win over Eastern Pa.’s HEX FC.
The 2007 Boys were a little off-stride to open the tournament, conceding a pair of penalties in a 5-3 loss against Utah side La Roca FC, but they were able to turn things around in the next match against Charlotte SA. Nathan Katari scored a pair of goals, and Aedan Costa and Ethan Voight-Cherna also scored, while the coaches also praised the work of Roman Agostoni as a creator, Tyler Prex on the wing, and the defense as a unit in a 4-1 win. The weekend wrapped up with a 1-1 draw against a very good Eclipse SC (Ill.) team; Justin Walsh scored to put the Hounds ahead, and though they had less of the ball in the match, the boys nearly held on to the end in a torrential downpour.
The 2005/06 Boys played well and created chances in their opening two matches, but they took a pair of hard-luck losses by 1-0 scores against STA (N.J.) and Maryland United FC. The nasty weather to close the weekend led to the team’s final match being cut short, but enough time was played for the match to go down in the books as a one-goal win for the Hounds over the Rockford Raptors (Ill.).
The Hounds also had a pair of players earn individual recognition last weekend, as both Bennett Haas at the RL event and Arnav Patel in the ECNL showcase were chosen to take part in the Continental Tire ECNL National Selection Game, streamed live on HudlTV.