Sacramento Republic FC Academy U-17/18s are soon due to begin a new season in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy, but the team will look a bit different as many players exit the Academy to continue their development outside of youth soccer.
Twenty Republic FC Academy players graduated from high school across the Sacramento region this past spring, while others have officially aged out of the Academy after having played during their freshman year of college.
Defender Heriberto Melgoza, who served as U-17/18 Academy captain during the 2016-2017 season, attended UC Davis while playing in the Academy, putting off collegiate soccer in order to be eligible to participate in the program. This season, the 19-year-old defender will finally step onto a college pitch, after transferring from UC Davis to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo to play with the Mustangs.
Several other Republic FC U-17/18 alums will be continuing their soccer careers in college, heading to NCAA Division I soccer programs across California.
Defenders David Burns, Mackenzie Harrington, Samuel Dadzie and Nabilai Kibunguchy are heading to UC Berkeley, Sacramento State, Cal State Northridge and UC Davis, respectively. Midfielder Will DuBay will suit up for Loyola Marymount University, while fellow midfielder Jeff Dukes will play at San Jose State. The lone forward in the group, Joseph Restani, will play at Saint Mary’s College.
No two players are attending the same school, however, six will meet each other across two conferences.
Harrington (Sacramento State), Kibunguchy (UC Davis), Melgoza (Cal Poly San Luis Obispo) and Dadzie (Cal State Northridge) will play against each other in the Big West Conference. DuBay (Loyola Marymount University) and Restani (St. Mary’s College) will be facing off in the West Coast Conference, while Burns (Cal/Pac-12) and Dukes (San Jose State/Western Athletic Conference) will be the only two of the group not to face Academy teammates in their collegiate conferences.
Although not in the same conference, Dadzie and Burns faced off on August 14 as Cal State Northridge defeated UC Berkeley 2-1 in an exhibition match. Closer to home, Kibunguchy made his NCAA Division I debut with UC Davis Men’s Soccer on August 21 in an exhibition match against Chico State.
“We want to thank all the former Academy players for what they have done for the club in its inaugural season and wish them luck in the next phase of their life,” said Vice President of Football Administration Kevin Goldthwaite. “These kids are forever a part of the SRFC family and we hope they continue to develop both as people as well as soccer players.”
The Republic FC Academy U-17/18s ended their season on a high note, reaching the quarterfinals of the U.S. Soccer Development Academy Playoffs in the program’s inaugural season, before falling to Vancouver Whitecaps FC U-17/18s. The U-17/18s ended the regular season in second place in the tough Northwest Division, with a record of 17-7-7.
The 2016-2017 Academy season will begin on Sept. 3, when Republic FC Academy U-15/16s and U-17/18s take on their Vancouver Whitecaps FC counterparts. The U-12s will also kick off their season on Sept. 3, traveling to Pacifica, Calif., to face the San Francisco Elite Academy. For their part, the U-13s and U-14s will begin their season on Sept. 10 against the San Juan SC U-13 and U-14 teams, respectively.
Republic FC Academy Class of 2016
Adrian Martinez – Lindhurst High School
Samuel Dadzie – Las Flores High School
Giovanni Aguilar – Lindhurst High School
Hector Grajeda – Bear Creek High School
Jovanni Morales – Davis Senior High School
Francis Avoce – Davis Senior High School
Micah Albert – The Met High School
Aroon Molina – Foothill High School
William DuBay – Vista del Lago High School
Nabilai Kibunguchy – Cosumnes Oaks High School
Jeffrey Dukes – Vacaville High School
Alberto Barron – Liberty Ranch High School
David Burns – Charter University Prep
Joseph Restani – Pleasant Grove High School
Michael Petri – Oak Ridge High School
Ryley Kraft – Independence High School
Francis Avoce – Davis Senior High School
Clay Silvas – El Sereno High School
Nicholaus Medina – Rio Linda High School