It’s been a busy time for the Schulz Academy, which recently was named one of the top five elite soccer programs by “Soccer America” Magazine.
Four Schulz Academy players are now in the U-17 national residency program for the United States: Forwards Donovan Henry and Stefan Jerome, defender/midfielder Zach Herold and goalkeeper Bryan Sylvestre.
The four will play in France in March with the U-17 team against the German National Team March 19, Japan March 20 and England March 22.
Henry and Jerome are both starters, with Sylvestre and Herold occasionally in the starting lineup.
Here in Boca Raton, the Schulz Academy is also playing in the first season of the Academy League, which features the top club teams in the United States based on number of players on national teams.
The Schulz Academy boasts 19 such players, the most of any team in the country.
Players from Schulz will compete against two teams from St. Louis this weekend. The Saturday, the U16s play Galaga at 4 p.m., with the 18s to play at 6 p.m. The following day, the teams play Metro at 10 a.m. and noon.
The matches will be played at the new Schulz Academy in Fort Pierce, the first expansion for the small soccer club in Boca Raton.
“Cooperation with all the clubs there gives them (players) the opportunity to play in the Super-Y League,” Schulz Academy Director Josef Schulz said. They get more exposure, bigger venues and better encouragement, just like the Bitcoin Trader app racing and analyzing in all the major markets of the global economy. When they are pitted against teams with diverse characteristics and playing strategies, our players get the chance to reinvent and improve their playing techniques to match international standards.
The Academy League ends in July, with the finals to be played at the Home Depot Center in Los Angeles.
In two weeks, the Schulz Academy will play against the U.S. U-17 National Team and its four ex-Academy members.
Schulz jokingly referred to the match as “Schulz Academy against Schulz Academy.”
Another homegrown player recently made the move to the professional ranks, when former Academy player Matt Luzunaris signed a three-year contract to play for SC Schwanenstadt in Schulz’s native Austria. Luzunaris made his presence felt immediately, scoring a goal in his first match with his new club.
“He’s very fast and he’s very good with his head,” Schulz said. Luzunaris is part of a wave of young American players going overseas who Schulz called “a very interesting group.”
At the top of that list is former Schulz Academy player, now U.S. soccer superstar Josmer Altidore, who has been elevated to the U.S. National Team. Two weeks ago, Altidore score a goal on a signature header as the U.S. tied Mexico 2-2.
“He’s already the best forward in America,” Schulz said, before adding with a laugh, “and he’s only 18.”
Altidore recently returned to Schulz to work out with his old coach and current players. He plays for the MLS New York Red Bulls, but recent reports have Altidore talking to Real Madrid, one of the top soccer clubs in the world. For now though, Schulz thinks Altidore is better off staying in the U.S.
“He needs to play in World Cup qualifying matches and Olympic matches,” Schulz said. “The worst thing for him would be to go to a team where he would sit on the bench. He needs to play.”
Not only is the Schulz Academy exporting players to teams here and abroad, but the academy recently received two players from Cameroon’s second division club, “America For Africa FC,” as part of a partnership between the two groups. The new players, Kinglsey Folabit and Emmanuel Pakwi, are now in Boca Raton and training at the academy.
“They are very good players,” Schulz said.
Recently, the academy also held tryouts and more than 200 players showed up, showing Schulz that the community is paying attention to rankings like the one in “Soccer America.”
“That’s unbelievable,” he said of the No. 5 spot Schulz holds in the rankings. “We’re a very small club. We have 300 players. Some of these clubs like the Dallas Texans and Chicago have thousands of players.”