McKendry Praised Nationally As Trio of Lobos Get Elite Experience
July 3, 2012
For three incoming freshman of the Lobo men's soccer team, winning on the pitch has already begun. Chris Gurule (Longmont, Colo.), Nicholas Rochowski (Flower Mound, Texas), and Ben McKendry (Vancouver, B.C.) have all helped their United States Soccer Federation Development Academy teams qualify and advance in the playoffs of the U 17/18 Division.
McKendry not only aided his Vancouver Whitecaps team to a 20-6-3 regular season record in the Northwest Division, but he also tallied a handful of goals this summer. His playoff performance earned him a spot on Top Drawer Soccer's "Best XI Team" as one of the best eleven players in the playoffs.
TopDrawerSoccer.com wrote of McKendry, "The Whitecaps have been a quality addition to the Development Academy this season, and without question Vancouver proved its worth by triumphing in its group last week. McKendry played a big role in it, scoring some vital goals and helping the Whitecaps overcome an opening day defeat."
The Development Academy is considered to be the premier youth division of the U.S. Soccer Federation for players in the U 15/16 and U 17/18 age divisions. The U 17/18 division features nearly 80 clubs from throughout the United States with Vancouver, British Columbia also fielding a team. Some teams in the league, including all three of the Lobos' teams, are development affiliates of MLS teams.
Not only did the trio's teams qualify, but Rochowski's F.C. Dallas and McKendry's Vancouver Whitecaps teams won the Texas Division and the Northwest Division respectively. Meanwhile, Gurule's Colorado Rapids team finished second in the Frontier Division. Gurule, Rochowski and McKendry combined to play in 81 games while starting in 65 of them. Rochowski and McKendry also each scored five goals. Their three teams had a combined record of 59-13-15, which is good for a .678 winning percentage.
The winning didn't stop for the three clubs once the playoffs began. What began as a playoff field of 32 teams was whittled down to eight finalists after a week's worth of matches. All three clubs featuring Lobos qualified for "Finals Week" after securing spots in the top eight. The elite eight round and the rest of the competition takes place on July 16-23.
McKendry's summer does not end with the upcoming playoffs. The Canadian will travel with his country's U-20 National Team to compete in some international matches in Mexico City in early July. It will be a priceless international experience for the Vancouver, B.C. native to add to his already impressive body of work this summer.
While all three freshman-to-be have already gained a wealth of unique experience, there are still matches to be played and opportunities to compete and get better. The fact that nearly half of the remaining teams in the Development Academy playoffs feature a Lobo means these rookies will become even more seasoned before their inaugural season in cherry and silver.