Sacramento, Calif. – Republic FC’s youth development academy has had another talented player called to the national stage. Earlier today, U.S. Soccer announced that Blake Willey has been selected to participate in the upcoming U16 Boys’ National Team camp in Alicante, Spain, for training and matches from November 17 to 27. This is Willey’s second call-up to a national team camp this year. He is one of just two participants not representing a MLS club, and the only player invited from a USL Championship club.
“Blake’s call-up to the national team is well deserved,” said Republic FC Academy Director Eder Quintanilla. “For him to receive this invitation twice in one year is a tremendous accomplishment and we’re very proud of him for earning this opportunity.”
Willey features for Republic FC’s U17 squad, where he’s appeared in each of his team’s 11 matches so far this season – including against MLS-affiliated squads Seattle Sounders FC, Vancouver Whitecaps FC, San Jose Earthquakes and Real Salt Lake. A Sacramento native, Willey joined the club’s Youth Development Academy in 2018. The midfielder played every minute of the 2021-22 season for Sacramento’s U15 squad, including the MLS NEXT Cup, adding two goals and one assist en route to an undefeated regular season and semifinal berth at the MLS NEXT Cup. He was named the U15 side’s team MVP following the season.
This is Willey’s second call-up to the Youth National Team this year. After participating in the June 2022 YNT Talent ID Center in Davis, CA, which serves as a player identification platform for Youth National Team staff, the midfielder earned a call-up to U-16 BNT Camp in Chula Vista, CA in August. He was the only player in the August camp representing a USL-affiliated club, and one of just two players not representing an MLS-affiliated academy.
Republic FC’s youth academy teams have each had a stellar start to the 2022-23 season. All four teams have combined for a 30-8-4 record. In 2021, each of the club’s youth sides finished in first place in their age group, combining for 91 victories and just two losses in league play. The season’s success on the pitch culminated in a second straight appearance in the MLS NEXT Cup, with the U15s reaching the semifinal round.
Willey is one of five Republic FC academy players selected to a national team training camp this year, and his selection is the seventh overall from the club’s academy in 2022. Other call-ups this year include U19 forward J.P. Cortez for the Guatemala U-20’s in March, defender Santiago Suarez to the U.S. U-19’s in July, U15 midfielder Felix Contreras in August, and forward Chance Cowell, who has received two training camp invitations to Mexico’s U15 squad.
For more information, visit SacRepublicFC.com.