For young soccer players, aspiring to play one day at the professional level is a major goal. Wilmington Hammerheads FC’s commitment to player development plays a key role in these aspirations and utilizing their connections with Cedar Stars Academy and its partnership with the New Jersey Cedar Stars Academy (NJCSA) jump starts young players on this path.
Kyle Gurrieri, a native of Totowa, New Jersey, recently traveled from the NJCSA to join the Hammerheads as an amateur training at the professional level. The 17-year-old midfielder has been fully integrated with the team in a professional training environment to further his development and evaluate his impact and potential future with the club.
The New Jersey Cedar Stars Academy is partners with the Cedar Stars Academy, driven by Wilmington Hammerheads FC Owner George Altirs. Altirs formed the CSA in 2011, focusing on providing the best opportunities to young soccer players in the community and with the determination to help each individual reach their personal goals.
In 2013, CSA merged with New Jersey Soccer Academy 04, led by Tab Ramos, to form the New Jersey Cedar Stars Academy, which seeks to develop advanced soccer players in a positive environment that challenges each player at their highest level through fair and open evaluation.
Both programs are part of the U.S. Soccer Development Academy. Run and monitored by U.S. Soccer, the Development Academy is a platform that puts the most talented teams and players on display for the Youth National Team Program and U.S. Soccer
“Having Kyle with us has been awesome,” said Wilmington Hammerheads FC Technical Director and Head Coach Carson Porter. “He has earned the respect of the team with his work rate and technical quality. He is a good passer, understands the game well and has come in, put his head down and worked his socks off. We hope our professional environment, playing against grown men and dealing with the challenges that we present, help him as he continues to develop.”
Gurrieri was recently a member of the U.S. U17 Residency Program in Bradenton, Florida. The midfielder was named to the 28-player program in 2013, later earning a spot on the U.S. U17 Men’s National Team roster after being invited to return to the program for the 2014 Spring Semester.