Just For Kicks
BOBBY Convey is living a soccer player's dream. The 16-year-old Convey, a first-round selection by D.C. United last February, is the youngest player in Major League Soccer history.
Convey, 16, youngest
ever in MLS
He is not old enough to get his own apartment, so Convey lives in the home of D.C. United president and general manager Kevin Payne.
But he gets to practice and compete with the likes of Jeff Agoos, Marco Etheverry, Jaime Moreno and Eddie Pope.
Convey is one of three MLS Project-40 players. A three-year honor roll student at Philadelphia's Penn Charter High School, he was named the city's player of the year as a freshman. He also participated in track and basketball.
Convey was a member of the United States Under-16 National Team pool as a 15-year old, made 45 appearances for the U-17 team in 1999 and now is the captain of the U-18 team.
During his year with the U-17 team, the 5-foot-8, 150-pound striker was second in goals scored (19) and points (53) to Landon Donovan (24 goals, 55 points).
Convey has started three of the six matches he has played in during D.C. United's first 10 outings.
He has played 282 minutes, has taken six shots with three on goal, but has yet to score or record an assist.
"That kid has got all the tools," Agoos said. "He's got a good soccer brain. He's really got a lot ahead of him if he can remain injury free. He always wants to learn."
Five teams were victorious in the Hawaii trials the last weekend of April and qualified for the 2000 Snickers U.S. Youth Soccer Region IV tourney at Pleasanton, Calif., June 18-24.
The teams are: Mililani Illusions (U-13 boys), Leahi '87 (U-13 girls), Honolulu Bulls (U-14 boys), Honolulu Bulls (U-14 girls) and Honolulu Bulls (U-16 girls).
With the unopposed qualifiers in several age divisions and three wild-card teams, Hawaii will have 16 teams entered in the tournament.
The Honolulu Bulls Under-15 boys team will travel to Germany and Holland after participating in the Region IV tournament.
The Bulls will play seven to eight matches during their 10-day stay in Europe.
Some of the matches are in a a tournament and will be shorter than the normal 80 minutes for that age division.
The world champion United States women's soccer team will play in the Pacific Cup from May 31 to June 11 in Australia.
Also in the eight-team tournament are China, runner-up to the Americans at the 1996 Olympics and '99 World Cup, host Australia, Canada, Scotland, Japan, New Zealand and North Korea.
The U.S. team is in a group with Japan, Scotland and Australia and begins play against the Japanese May 31 in Canberra. The Americans play Australia June 2 and Scotland June 4 in Sydney.
The draw for the Olympic tournament is scheduled for June 3.
The United States Soccer Federation's coaching department offers certification at six different levels.
The initial instruction courses (D, E, F) are conducted in every state, leading up to three levels of certification held at the national level (A, B, C).
Thousands of soccer coaches have completed USSF coaching schools since they were first developed in 1971. Current membership numbers stand at 65,000 state-level coaches and 13,000 national-level coaches.