Brennan Ireland and Billy Werner, two members of the highly successful Century United 96/97 Boys team have recently been invited to join D.C. United’s U16 Academy Team and Shattuck St. Mary’s Academy Program respectively. These USSF academy programs are designed to find and develop the top players in the nation. Their coaches and staff emphasize playing attractive, possession-oriented soccer. The ultimate goal is to prepare players for the club’s First Team, the nation’s top university teams and/or US National Teams.
DC United’s academy program has been one of the most successful USSF Development Academy programs since the inception of the program in 2007:
- 9 National Team call-ups (U-14 to U-18)
- 20 players called up to play in MLS Reserve League matches for D.C. United
- 22 college commitments in 2011/12
Shattuck St. Mary’s academy program started in the fall of 2005 as the inaugural class of their soccer academy. Today, close to 100 athletes fill out five age group teams in our residential academy while a full-time coaching staff of eleven oversees team training and competition throughout the ten months of programming. Since their academy’s existence, their players and teams have achieved both on and off the field and have been recognized for their excellence:
- Two Parade All-Americans
- Four NSCAA All-Americans
- Four Time US Club Soccer Regional Champions
- Three Time US Club Soccer National Finalists
- 2008 and 2010 US Youth Soccer Boys Midwest Regional Champion
- 2008 and 2010 US Youth Soccer Boys National Finalists
- 2013 U18 Boys U.S. Soccer Development Academy National Runners-Up
“Brennan and Billy have worked extremely hard to earn this opportunity and all of us at Century United couldn’t be more proud of them,” said Mike Blatz, Director of Coaching and Brennan and Billy’s coach at Century United. “Our club has worked tirelessly to afford our players and teams the ultimate environment for development in Western Pennsylvania and opportunities for our players like Brennan and Billy’s is the result of those efforts.”
Brennan, a junior at Fox Chapel High School, started as a youth with the Arsenal Football Club in the north of Pittsburgh. To further develop the technical aspects of his game, he joined The Pittsburgh Riverhounds Academy program, which exposed Brennan to a high-level training program that is tailored to elite youth soccer players with the focus to develop their soccer abilities, athleticism, and mental approach necessary to compete at the highest levels of the game. Brennan was also a member of the Region 1 ODP team and was named to the 2012 Boys (97) Interregional All Star team.
“I’m excited to have the opportunity to play for a top level academy team like D.C. United,” said Brennan. “It has always been a goal of mine to play in the academy program and compete at the highest level of soccer in the U.S. I’ve learned a lot from playing for Century United with Coach Blatz and I’m really going to miss playing for Century and my teammates. We were very successful and I’ll miss the camaraderie and friendships that I had with this team.”
Billy, a former student at North Allegheny, began as a youth player in the Arsenal Football Club as well. He also was a long time member of The Pittsburgh Riverhounds Academy program developing the technical aspects of his game. Billy also attended the West Ham London Elite Camp in 2011 and 2012 as well as being a member of the Region 1 ODP program.
“I am very excited to have the opportunity to train and play with a first class Development Academy program like Shattuck St. Mary’s,” said Billy. “I have been blessed to receive some great training and game strategy throughout my soccer career. Century United has been a very large part of preparing me for this opportunity and it could not have happened without the great guidance, both on and off the pitch, from Coach Blatz and Coach Mertz. I will miss my Century team mates who were very skilled and pushed me to be a better player.”
Century United would like to wish Brennan and Billy good luck with their opportunities at D.C. United and Shattuck St. Mary’s and look forward to their future successes in the game.
In the spring of 2013, Century United and the Pittsburgh Riverhounds unveiled plans for an elite, year-round developmental program for youth soccer players in Western Pa, Ohio, and West Virginia. The program connects the sophisticated and growing club model of Century United with the area’s only USSF-sanctioned professional soccer club, the Pittsburgh Riverhounds, in a cooperative arrangement designed to accelerate player development and promote players to the highest levels of the youth game.