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FEATURE: Previewing the 2019-20 SRFC Academy Season

By William Strome, 08/29/19, 3:45PM PDT

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The youngest members of the SRFC family kick off their USSDA season this weekend.

While the senior squad is currently in the midst of a playoff push, a new season is just beginning for Republic FC’s youngest members. 

The Republic FC Youth Academy, consisting of six different age groups, kicks off its fifth season this Saturday. Founded in 2015, the SRFC Youth Academy provides an elite training environment for developing players to play for Republic FC’s first team, in addition to producing players for the U.S. Men’s National Team at both the senior and youth levels. Last year alone, four Academy players were called up to a U.S. Youth National Team and 11 have received invites since the Academy was created. 


Forward Rafael Jauregui is a highly rated prospect for the club. The 15-year-old, who was recently called up to the U-15 U.S. Boys' National Team, has been training with the Under-19s.

On Saturday, the U-17 and U-15 age groups open up against LAFC, while the U-19s are off because LAFC does not have an academy team at that age level. Meanwhile, the U-14s and U-13s have Santa Cruz Breakers FC lined up for this weekend’s opening contest. 

WHO TO WATCH

Mario Penagos - MF

A talented attacking midfielder who has been part of the Republic FC academy since it’s inaugural season in 2015. Penagos was added to the club’s USL roster last September, joining the first team on a ‘USL Academy’ contract that allows him to play in USL matches while maintaining his NCAA eligibility. 

Penagos made his first team debut in July when he started in Republic FC’s 2-0 friendly win over Club America’s U-20 team. Last season with the U-19s, the Elk Grove native made 18 appearances, starting 16 games, while scoring two goals and providing four assists. In 2016-2017 with the U-14s, he scored 28 goals from 27 appearances, all starts. Penagos also received a call-up to the U-17 U.S. Men’s National Team last year for the 2018 Four Nations Tournament. 


Mario Penagos made his first team debut during Republic FC's July friendly against Club America U-20s.

Hayden Sargis - DF

A reliable center back who, like Penagos, has been part of the SRFC academy since 2015. Sargis signed his USL Academy contract in early May and has been eligible to play with the first team all season. The Turlock native also made his first team debut as a starter in the July friendly against Club America’s U-20s. During four full seasons with the Republic FC Academy, Sargis has made 96 appearances, 80 as starts. In 19 games last season with the U-19 side, the defender contributed on the offensive front with two assists. 


Defender Hayden Sargis helped Republic FC shut out Club America's U-20 side in their July friendly.

Diego Ramos - GK

A 16-year-old goalkeeper who, since the departure of Josh Cohen and prior to the arrival of Bobby Shuttleworth, has been the primary backup goalie for the Republic FC first team. In mid-July, Ramos was offered a USL Academy contract and immediately became the insurance policy behind Rafael Diaz. The young netminder even came on for Diaz as a substitute and helped to preserve the 2-0 shutout over Club America’s U-20 team in the July exhibition match.


Diego Ramos helped keep the clean sheet in the 2-0 win over Club America U-20s.

Rafael Jauregui - FW

Considered to be one of the club’s top young talents, Jauregui has been playing above his age and training with the U-17s this season as a 14-year-old. In late July, Jauregui was called up to the U-15 U.S. Boys’ National Team for the 2019 Concacaf U-15 Boys’ Championship and saw a decent amount of action. The young forward started three games, playing the full 90 minutes in two and scoring a goal in the teams’ 3-0 win over Guatemala. Prior to his national team call-up, the Rancho Cordova native made his first team debut in Republic FC’s friendly against Club America’s U-20 in July.


Rafa Jauregui takes on a Club America U-20 player during the club's July friendly against the Liga MX side.

HOW THEY FINISHED LAST SEASON

U-19s

The Republic FC U-18/19s are coming off a campaign that saw the side finish fifth in the Northwest Division of the Western Conference standings (12-6-7, 43 pts.) and scored the most goals in the division (58). The boys in Old Glory Red finished the regular season on a high note with a 3-1 win over Vancouver Whitecaps FC U-18/19’s and will look to pick up where they left off this season. Hunter George led the team in scoring with 11 goals while Cole Rovegno led the U-18/19s in assists with seven. 

U-17s

The Indomitable Club’s U-16/17 side also finished with a solid winning record in the Northwest Division of the Western Conference this past season (13-10-4, 43 pts.) but narrowly missed out on the postseason. The team was unbeaten over their last six matches (5-0-1) and outscored the opposition 19-8. The boys hope they can carry the positive momentum from last season into this one. Nathaniel Carrasco (15) and Emmanuel Johnson (12) were the goal scoring machines while Aris Yang provided a team-high seven assists. The U-17s begin this season against LAFC on Saturday. 

U-15s

The U-15s, coached by Eric Kronberg, finished second in the Northwest Division of the Western Conference with a 16-5-3 record. The team rarely had issues finding the back of the net, given four players scored at least six goals or more with Alex Medina leading the U-15s with eight. Coach Kronberg’s boys hope to emulate the start to the season they did last year when the team started 2-0 and outscored their opponents 13-3. First up for the U-15s this season is a Saturday match against LAFC. 

U-14s

Republic FC’s U-14 side, coached by Gavin Glinton, finished last season strong with 11 goals from the last two matches (both wins). Offensively, the team was a force, scoring four or more goals in 12 games last season. To kick off the 2018-2019 season, Glinton’s boys went on an eight-game unbeaten run (7-0-1) and they hope to do the exact same for the 2019-2020 campaign. The season kicks off for the U-14s this Saturday against Santa Cruz Breakers FC. 

U-13s

The U-13 team, also coached by Glinton, found a winning formula that lasted all season and finished with an impressive 24-4-1 record. The team scored eight goals or more eight times this past season, hitting double digits three times. Defensively, Glinton’s boys kept a solid 11 clean sheets in 2018-2019. First up for the U-13s is a Saturday match against Santa Cruz Breakers FC. 

U-12s

The Indomitable Club’s U-12 supplemental program, coached by Brian Willey, is a separate group from the other Republic FC academies. The U-12’s work with local directors to bring kids in solely for developmental purposes. 

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