MARLBOROUGH, Mass. – With two months of training sessions behind them, both New England Revolution academy teams will resume play in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy regular season this weekend.
Two doubleheaders will mark the start of a six-match home stand at Gillette Stadium in March. NJSA 04 (New Jersey) will open the weekend by visiting on Saturday, while Match Fit Chelsea (New Jersey) concludes the two-match set on Sunday. On both days, the U-18s (3-2-0) will play at 10:00a.m. and the U-16s (2-2-1) will play at 12:30p.m.
The opening weekend may count in the standings, but it will also serve as yet another step in the process of working toward match fitness, according to Revolution director of youth development Bryan Scales.
“With both of these teams, I think it'll be similar in that it's their first game of the spring too,” Scales told MLSsoccer.com after both academy sides wrapped up a training session at Forekicks Marlborough on Wednesday night. “Everybody is kinda starting the real preseason again where they're out and getting games under their belts. Hopefully, we can get the ball moving and play the way we try to play.”
It may take some time for all of the academy sides in this part of the country to grapple with the tactical demands of returning to outdoor soccer after spending the winter inside, but the results still count the same.
As Scales sized up the task at hand for his U-16 charges this weekend as they go in search of the desired victories, he said he expects his players to face two stiff tests as they resume their campaign.
“Based on past history, both teams will be very organized,” Scales said. “The NJSA team will be very good on the ball. They have a couple of guys who have been in and out of U-15 U.S. national team pool, guys who I know. It'll be a good game.”