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Coach’s Corner: Republic FC’s Youngest Players Shine in 4-1 Preseason Victory

Republic FC Celebrates 10th Season with Commemorative Logo, Fan-Focused Celebrations

February 9, 2024 – United Soccer League Championship (USL)Sacramento Republic FC News Release

In its first preseason matchup against a USL Championship side, Republic FC took a 4-1 win over Western Conference foe Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC on Thursday. With six players making scoring contributions, it was the team’s young players that made the difference, with standout performances from former academy players and goals from two of last year’s signings.

The contest marked Republic FC’s second preseason tune-up and first in a series of three scrimmages at the Desert Friendlies. The club came into the match on the heels of a 1-1 draw with MLS side San Jose Earthquakes last week, in which Jack Gurr’s corner set up a Russell Cicerone goal. Both players also added an assist against Colorado Springs.

“Going into the game, we wanted to take a step forward,” said First Team Assistant Coach Martín Vásquez. “We wanted to continue to push our fitness and see more of the good moments we had against San Jose. Our goal was to once again get each player at least 45 minutes and mix up the lineup groups so we can see how different guys feed off each other.”

Just three weeks into their first preseason with the first team, the club’s youngest players grabbed Thursday’s opportunity with both hands, leaving a big impression on the technical staff and game. One of the highlights came when 13-year-old Da’vian Kimbrough and 16-year-old Blake Willey connected for a goal, with Willey playing a perfectly-paced through ball to Kimbrough who skillfully netted his first goal with the first team. “It was great to see Da’vian score his first goal,” said Vásquez. “It’s exciting for everyone in the organization. The players were very happy for him, we all are.”

Vásquez wasn’t in Sacramento as Kimbrough rose through the academy, netting 61 goals in his first two seasons, but the young forward’s talent a potential have quickly stood out in training camp. “Sometimes you forget that he’s only 13 years old, and when you do remember, you’re really blown away,” said Vásquez. “He continues to grow every day, and on Thursday we got to see him play against a good team in Colorado Springs, and not only did he hold his own, but he also got a goal. I think for him, the sky’s the limit – it’s still going to take some time, but he’s going in the right direction.”

Willey and Kimbrough are among a group of four players in the 2024 squad to be developed in the club’s youth academy – the most…

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