FUEL Soccer Talk for 1/15: UCLA’s Amaya is No. 1; Full recovery and roster spot for Andi; Lesson Plan – creating space

Top of the Monday mornin’ to you…here are a few stories to kick around!

1. And with the first pick of the MLS SuperDraft …

Expansion franchise FC Cincinnati selects UCLA midfielder Frankie Amaya … the UCLA midfielder is only 18 years old, the youngest player in the draft. Still, he has plenty of international experience including with the US U-20s.

Photo courtesy of UCLA

“I thought I was the overall best player – not saying it in a cocky way, but a humble way,” the US Under-20 national team standout told reporters after being taken with the first overall pick. “I work so hard, I don’t think anybody worked harder than me, so I think I deserve No. 1.”

Amaya had quite the impact during his debut season in Westwood, earning Freshman All-America, First Team All-Pac-12, and Second Team All-Far West Region honors. Limited to 10 starts and 14 games due to injury and national team duties, the Santa Ana, Calif. native recorded two goals and two assists for six points.

Amaya played club for Pateadores SC based in Orange County. He was a key figure for a Pateadores side that had the most points in the West Conference for the 2017-18 season. He was named to the West Conference Best XI for the 2017-18 season.

Here is what FC Cincinnati is getting (courtesy of the Pac-12 Network):

Who would you have taken with the first pick in the MLS Superdraft?

2. “Sunshine” proves an injury is a pause, not an end

Earlier this month, U.S. Women’s National Team head coach Jill Ellis added midfielder Andi Sullivan to the roster for January training camp. Sullivan, who has 11 caps, was the 2017 MAC Hermann Trophy winner for Stanford and was the top pick in the 2018 NWSL Draft.

They call Sullivan “Sunshine” because of her attitude and approach to not only soccer but life. She has a bounce in her step, an extra beat in her heart and a joyful tone to her voice. During her rehab from her ACL tear Andi tweeted this out: “The one who falls and gets up is so much stronger than the one who never fell.”

In 2017, the Pac-12 Network did an excellent piece on Andi and her comeback from a torn ACL. At 1:56, the reaction of the Santa Clara player when Andi went down brought tears to my eyes – I cry a lot.

How are you able to keep a positive attitude when adversity strikes?

3. Lesson Plan: Creating space creates a goal

Erin Cuthbert didn’t score the goal or earn an assist but she played a big role in a recent Chelsea FC Women goal and shows how important getting out of the way can be on the pitch. Cuthbert’s intention may not have been “getting out of the way” but her run to the right created an open passing lane for Ramona Bachmann to push a perfect ball to Ji So-Yun who finished it in the back of the net. It’s all about creating open space!

How important to your game is having space to operate on the field?

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