FC Wichita has shifted it's focus at the oldest academy age groups, putting the plans in motion to continue evolving their best practices for a player centered environment.
Club directors say a change was needed to address the fact that most teams are of mixed graduation years dating back to 2015-2016 when U.S. Soccer changed to a birth year platform. The change forced players to be on teams with players who aren't necessarily in the same academic grade year.
Although FC Wichita's Academy has flourished over the last few years, a problem has risen for many of the club's college scouts.
"College coaches are contacting us all the time trying to figure out what a player's graduation year is," said CEO Blake Shumaker. "The same questions kept popping up and we felt it was the biggest problem we were facing. We needed to make it easier for them to recruit local players."
FC Wichita's answer was simple. They will shift focus from trying to be the best in a specific age, and rule in favor of creating a pure player centered environment with emphasis on the advancement through the pathway. On one hand the club believes that shifting focus won't sacrifice results for the squads, and on the other doesn't put any emphasis on the scoreline. For FC Wichita, the wins will now come with each players advancement.
"I have yet to meet a college or professional coach who cares how many youth games a player won." said FC Wichita Director Bryan Perez. "By pooling Srs (u19) and Jrs (u18) we provide a streamlined opportunity for college identification. We can move players into the pro team any day of the week as well, the only results we care about at this age is the final product for the player. Obviously we will still win plenty of matches, but our intentions and our actions will speak louder than our words."
Shumaker agrees with Perez. "Players at this age only have one or two seasons of youth soccer remaining. It is our obligation to get them training around the best players available in Wichita, and using all our resources to open doors to the next level."
FC Wichita has pooled 18 seniors into it's u19's and 15 Jr's into the u18's + 4 local sophomores have been identified into the u18's roster for the 19/20 calendar year. In addition, the former 02 premier team has been promoted to hold the FC Wichita 02 Academy team name and will roster a mixture of Jr's and Sr's who will be available to double roster into the 18's and 19's when needed.
"It's important for us to have the large player pool of three teams at this age," says Perez. "We know the quality these player represent, so we are working hard to make sure every player is getting that much needed playing time."
Alex Escobodeo (Salina HS), Adolfo Diaz Leon (East HS), Britton Haigh (Mcpherson HS), Carlos Fernandez (Eisenhower HS), Christian Raffinengo (Eisenhower HS), Cooper Joseph (Maize South HS), Ethan Doud (Eisenhower HS), Evarado Delgado (South HS), Hunter Salinas (Eisenhower HS), Kevin Black (Kapaun Mt. Carmel HS), Kobe Marth (Heights HS), Juan Lopez (East HS), Juan Umana (South HS), Malcom Berkley (Salina HS), Tyler Westfall (Buhler HS), Tyson Rey (Eisenhower HS), Trystan Spiess (Rose Hill, HS)
Alec Hinojos (Campus HS), Brandon Oaks (Salina HS), Caden Dinkle (Rose Hill HS), Caden Miller (Derby HS),Carlos Vidrio (Eisenhower HS), Cade Martin (Valley Center HS), Cory Gleason (Eisenhower HS) , Enrique Morales (Northwest HS), Hassan Alamood (Campus HS), Isaac Iseman (Bishop Carroll HS), Isaac Shumaker (Eisenhower HS), Ivan Quezada (East HS), Lalo Derath (East HS), Seth Lewis (Andover HS), Uriel Aguilera (North HS), Xavier Vaquera (Derby HS), Omar Vielmas (Derby HS)
Alec Wilkinson (HS), Blake Robinson (Andover HS), Caden Spooner (HS), Carson Arndt (Northwest HS), Dawson Schoning (Andover HS), John Lasater (Northwest HS), Max Raffinengo (Eisenhower HS), Michael Love (Valley Center HS), Michael Self (Derby HS), Sam Baldwin (Andover HS), Sam Mueller (HS), Santiago Fernandez (Newton HS), Seth Barclay (Trinity HS), Tanner Prophet (Maize HS), Tanner Vestring (Maize South HS), Xander Valdivia (Newton HS)