The mission of Met Oval of being the leading academy in the region in terms of player development has been on full display for many years as it continues to push out players to Major League Soccer academies and professional clubs. Our affiliation with the New York City Football Club is at the forefront of this mission.
From the age groups with birth years of 2000-2007 our “Youth Center of Excellence” has now placed 20 players with NYCFC in the last three years alone. This pipeline has been essential for the growth of these NYCFC teams as our players constitute a strong Met Oval contingency and bring what they have learned at Met Oval to their new club.
Many of these players have gone on to become regulars at NYCFC. Some of these regulars include Justin Haak and Velko Petkovic (2001’s) who both play on the NYCFC U18/19 squad.
The NYCFC U16/17’s has no fewer than six former Met Oval players. They are Sal Rasizzi and Filip Mirkovic (2001’s), along with Nicholas Kapanadze, Omar Torres, Manoli Smalios, and Ethan Wood (2002).
Alejandro Suarez, Jobani Garcia, and Lucas Jaramillo (2003’s) are currently members of the NYCFC U15 team.
The NYCFC U14 regulars consist of three former Met Oval players, all 2004’s. They are Justin Kern, Gabriel Birnbaum Duchovny, and Jacob Thomas.
Keanu Stingome and Diego Rossi (2005’s) both play on the NYCFC U13 team while Ryan Duarte (2007) is a regular for the NYCFC U12’s.
There are also several former Met Oval players currently with the New York Red Bulls. These include Balthazar Saunders (formerly of NYCFC in addition to Met Oval), Bryan Toxtle, and Ezra Widman.
Met Oval also has some former players currently at clubs overseas. They include Aziel Jackson (Toulouse), Vincent Oprea (Watford), and Carlyle Smart (Rosenborg).
Lucas Arzan has one international cap for Puerto Rico and Cameron Blase who has been a member of Haiti’s U17 program.
The most recent player to leave Met Oval for NYCFC is the aforementioned Filip Mirkovic. Filip came to Met Oval two years ago as a 2001. He came in as an attacking midfielder, however the coaches at Met Oval in conjunction with him decided that the best path for him in player development was to switch positions to more of a defensive midfielder, commonly referred to as a number 6. Now he grown into one of the best players at that position in the region and has made the switch to NYCFC.
Filip is a good example of a player coming to Met Oval at a more advanced age (by academy and youth soccer standards) and being able to develop into an elite player.
“Met Oval developed me not only as a player but a person as well.
Without Met Oval, I wouldn’t be the player I am today.” – Filip Mirkovic