Republic FC Academy Class of 2016: David Burns (second from left)
Three Sacramento Republic FC Academy alumni will be competing in the 2017 NCAA Division I Men's Soccer Championship that kicks off Thursday. Defender David Burns (Class of 2016) will compete with Cal, while fellow defender Seamus McLaughlin (Class of 2017) will be with the University of San Francisco. Forward Diego Villapudua (Class of 2017) will enter the tournament with University of the Pacific. All three players were part of the Republic FC Academy’s inaugural year in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy during the 2015-2016 season.
Burns played with the U-17/18s during that inaugural season, where he helped the team reach the Quarterfinals of the USSDA Playoffs. Burns received a call-up to a U.S. U-20 Men’s National Team camp during his time with the Academy as well. He aged out of the Academy at the end of the 2015-2016 season and was one of seven SRFC U-17/18s who went on to play collegiate soccer at D1 programs across California, with Burns joining the Cal Bears. Currently, Burns is a redshirt freshman and racked up 1,049 minutes this season.
McLaughlin and Villapudua both started out with the U-15/16s in their first year at the SRFC Academy. They helped the team clinch a spot in the Knockout Round of the USSDA that year. Both moved up to the U-17/18 team for the 2016-2017 where they again helped push the team to the Knockout Round of the USSDA Playoffs. McLaughlin and Villapudua were two of nine Academy players who moved on to the collegiate level after they aged out of the Academy at the end of the 2016-2017 season.
USF enter the tournament fresh off clinching the West Coast Conference title with a win over Loyola Marymount and earned an automatic berth as the conference winners, while Pacific earned an at-large bid to enter the tournament. Cal also enter as an at-large bid after finishing as runners-up in the Pac-12.
Republic FC Academy Class of 2017: Seamus McLaughlin (back row, second from left), Diego Villapudua (front row, second from left)
Burns and McLaughlin will be on opposite sides of the field in the first round of the tournament as USF travel to Cal on Thursday, when all of the first round matches take place. Kickoff is 1:30 p.m. at Edwards Stadium. You can follow the live stream here.
For his part, Villapudua and the University of the Pacific will host the Big West Conference winner CSU Fullerton, with the match kicking off at 7 p.m at Knoles Field. This is the first time in program history that UOP host a NCAA College Cup tournament match and the second consecutive tournament appearance for the Tigers. You can follow the match on Twitter at @PacificMSoccer.
The winner of Cal-USF will move on to face No. 4 Louisville, while the winner of UOP-CSUF will take on No. 9 Stanford.
Check out the full bracket and other first round matches below or click here.
Follow Republic FC on social media.