FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Four New England Revolution Academy players have received national recognition following the 2016-17 Academy season. Nickolas Cardona (Roxbury, Mass.) and Michael Tsicoulias (Newton, Mass.) have been selected to attend the Generation adidas Elite Soccer Program (ESP) during MLS All-Star Week in Chicago, Ill. In addition, Kevin Vang (Cranston, R.I.) and Joe Brito (Bolton, Conn.) were named to the United States Soccer Development Academy’s Eastern Conference "Best XI” for Under-16 and Under-18 players, respectively.
ESP’s pinnacle annual event, which runs in conjunction with the MLS All-Star Game festivities from July 30-August 3, is an invitation-only week-long program gathering the best MLS Academy players born in 2002 and 2003 to compete on the pitch and bond with each other off it. With the help of adidas and its grassroots development initiative, Generation adidas, ESP offers a world-class experience where on-field play is complemented by off-field learning opportunities, seminars, and competitions to help these athletes master the tools necessary to cultivate success as a professional.
The Generation adidas ESP event aims to celebrate the MLS player development model while also giving players a chance to connect with other top athletes in their region. While in Chicago, Cardona and Tsicoulias will be immersed in a professionalized environment while training, playing, and competing alongside some of the best MLS Academy players. The program is headlined by the ESP All-Star Game, which will take place on Tuesday, Aug. 1. The two Revolution Academy standouts will also participate in other special activities including soccer tennis, futsal, and 7-vs.-7 tournaments. They will also attend both the Chipotle Homegrown Game on Aug. 1 and the MLS All-Star Game presented by Target on Aug. 2.
Cardona, 13, is entering his second season with the Revolution Academy and plays as a goalkeeper. Last season, he made 22 appearances and posted a 0.91 goals against average with the Under-13s. Tsicoulias, 14, is also entering his second season with the Revolution Academy and plays as a forward. Last season, he split time between the Under-16s and Under-14s. Overall, Tsicoulias made 28 appearances and scored 12 goals.
Two other Revolution Academy players, midfielder Kevin Vang (Cranston, R.I.) and midfielder Joe Brito (Bolton, Conn.), were honored for their 2016-17 campaigns with selections to the U.S. Soccer Development Academy’s Eastern Conference “Best XI” for the Under-16 and Under-18 age groups, respectively. Vang competed on the Revolution's Under-18 and Under-16 teams, while Brito competed full-time with the Under-18s this season. Vang, 16, made 28 overall appearances, scored three goals, and also recorded an Academy-high 13 assists this past season. Brito, 18, made 25 appearances and led all Academy players with 16 goals.