Sliwa leads way for MSC alums in college

Former MSC standout Jimmy Sliwa recently completed his junior season of soccer at the University of Great Falls, where as a starting defender he helped his team to their first-ever appearance in the NAIA National Championships. Additionally, Sliwa earned recognition as a 2010 Daktronics-NAIA Scholar-Athlete for his performance in the classroom as well as on the field.

Read on for more information on Sliwa and MSC's other current collegiate players, including five members of the MSC United 92 boys squad who've so far graduated to varsity college soccer.

MSC Player Takes Part in Second Straight id2 Camp

MSC United 98 midfielder Bailey Letherman recently returned from the 2011-12 US Club Soccer id2 Regional Training Center, which was held at UC Irvine. The camp was for elite players born in 1998 and 1999. The previous year Letherman was also selected by US Club Soccer scouts to attend the camp for 97-98 born players, held in Casa Grande, AZ.

In each, just over 50 elite boys representing 18 different states took part in the four-day training camps, sponsored by US Club Soccer and Nike.The players were selected for invitations by US Club Soccer staff and a network of scouts across the country. Videos, photos from the weekend and more information can be found here.

MSC Player Selected for id2 Regional Training Camp

MSC United 98 midfielder Bailey Letherman has been selected by US Club Soccer personnel to attend the 2010 id2 Regional Training Camp in Casa Grande, AZ. Established in 2004, US Club Soccer’s id2 national identification and development program provides an opportunity for the country’s top youth talent to be identified and developed for possible inclusion in U.S. Soccer’s National Team programs. The id2 Training Camps are invitation-only events that bring together the nation’s top male and female youth players for four days of competition, evaluation and fun. U.S. Soccer National Team staff, some of the nation’s top coaches as well as elite guest coaches attend id2 Training Camps.

MSC Players Enjoy Extra Opportunities in Fall 2010
From AKFC travel teams to the Northwest Champions League, MSC players are being seen in 2010.

MSC Polaris 96 goalkeeper Jaeden Chew and forward Peyton Johnstone head a list of club players who are taking advantage of  opportunities to advance their games this fall. Chew recently returned from an individual training camp at the University of Washington, while Johnstone has joined the Crossfire Premier 97G A team for their Northwest Champions League schedule. Additionally, several MSC players are currently taking part in the new Alaska ODP regional training sessions, while a number of others are off to Las Vegas to compete with AKFC in one of the West’s top tournaments. Good luck to all.

MSC Alumni

Jimmy Sliwa - Defender, University of Great Falls Argos
A former MSC and Wasilla High standout, Jimmy Sliwa has successfully made the transition to college soccer, recently having completed his freshman season at the University of Great Falls (MT), an NAIA school.

A midfielder and forward for his Alaska club and high school teams, Sliwa (#5 at right) was noted for his versatility, which he had to put to use again on the college stage, as he’s started as a defender for the Argos, playing in 17 matches his freshman year. Still, the attacking vision and deft touch remain handy, as Sliwa notched one assist during his inaugural campaign.

Great Falls finished the season with an 8-8-1 record.

Below, Jimmy answers questions from current MSC players.

What do you like best about college soccer?
My favorite thing about college soccer is the competition. I really enjoy traveling to different states and different universities to give them the best game I can.

What is the biggest difference you’ve noticed between playing in college as compared to high school and club soccer?
College is more competitive and there are very few weak players. Speed, strength, and fundamentals are very important in college

How have you adapted to being a defender as a college player?
At first it was difficult, but the coach worked with me to make sure that I mastered the position. I had good size and endurance and fit the role pretty well.

Is that position just a freshman thing, or do you think your future as a player is in the back four?
I think that I was put into the position because the coach needed someone to play the spot, but there is no telling if I will stay in the spot or be moved around.

What do your teammates think about Alaskan soccer? Were they surprised to find out you could play?
Most of my teammates never expected to be playing with an Alaskan. The first week of practice everyone called me “Alaska.” I know that I earned respect from my teammates as they learned that I could play.

Knowing what you know now, if you could go back to being a ten-year-old just starting out in club soccer again, what would you work on?
I would definitely work on first touch, and playing as quickly as I could. The higher level of play moves quicker and those that can pass and think quickly will do very well.

A lot of the young players with MSC now hope to have a shot to play collegiately—what would you tell them?
Go for it!

What’s your favorite memory from club soccer?
Taking second place at the USA Cup. It was my first out-of-state experience and with some hard work and maybe some luck, my team made it to the championship game.

What’s your favorite moment from your freshman year at UGF?
My favorite memory playing at UGF was our game against Westminster University. It was the last regular season game and a win would secure a trip to the playoffs. The game went into overtime but we scored before it went to penalties

What’s next for you?
I am not sure yet. I have had the opportunity to possibly play for a PDL team in Louisiana, but I still have a lot to improve on.

  © Copyright 2012 Matanuska Soccer Club. All rights reserved.
  © Copyright 2012 Demosphere International, Inc. All rights reserved.