Since its inception in 1994, the IMG Academy soccer program has been privileged to help develop some of the nation's top soccer players. From the nationwide traveling teams to the USL Premier Development League team, the IMG Academy soccer program's coaches and staff have coached a virtual who's who of soccer's elite.
For the first time, the Academy has retired the jerseys of 19 former players and coaches who played an instrumental role in helping the IMG Academy soccer program get to where it is today as one of the top talent-producing clubs in the country.
The banners are hung in the corridor that all IMG and visiting teams walk through when leaving the locker rooms for the fields.
Here are the classes, with info on each from IMG Academy soccer program Director Tom Durkin:
* Timothy Glowienka (#5, 1998): Drafted by the New York Red Bulls (formerly MetroStars) after a stellarcollegiatecareer at University of South Carolina, Tim is now the founder and owner of Zoom Reports along with IMG teammate Byron Rausenberger. Timmy was known best for his abilities on and off the field as a person of positive influence with excellent leadership skills. A versatile Defender Timmy was technically gifted with the ball while showing adept handling on Defense. Tim captained every IMG squad he played for.
* Marco Velez (#4, 1998): After stints with the Red Bulls and Toronto FC, Marco settled in well with the Puerto Rico
Islanders where he won the league championship. A physical specimen, Marco could have relied on speed and power alone as late comer to the game, but through his years at the Academy developed a level of technical proficiency that was both complimentary of his athleticism and surprising to opponents.
* Matthew Thompson (#12, 1997): After representing the US as a youth international, Matt came to IMG and became one of its best assets and ambassadors over the early years of the academy. Matt went on to play for Indiana and Wake before returning to IMG to embark on a playing/coaching career. Matt was the spiritual and emotional leader of every team he played on atIMG
and made every player around him play and train out of their skin. A tough and gritty defender, Matt was the single most competitive individual in the history of the Academy and one thatmost attackers wished they had never come to face.
* David O'Donnell (#5, 1998): Tabbed by his peers as the most complete and capable player to ever wear an IMG uniform, Dave was the Roy Keane of youth soccer. His competence in the sport allowed him to play in several positions as if it was completely natural. His competitiveness and intensity inspired teammates who never wanted to let him down and put fear into opponents who could not match his will. Dave was steadfast on both sides of the ball, scoring goals in clutch situation and defending leads with reckless abandon. Dave played at St.John's and Villanova and passed
on a professional career in order to take over the family business.
* Jon Busch (#1): The consummate pro, JB is the hardest working player ever to train at IMG. A work ethic that defies fatigue allowed Jon to beat the odds and become one of MLS top performers. Dubbed by many as too small to play his position, Jon developed lightning quick reflexes and a vertical leap that easily make fans overlook his stature. Great hands and footworkare a product of his intensity and attention to detail in training. Jon was an example for all youngsters at IMG for his
competitive nature and his willingness to go the extra mile.
* Tim Howard (#1): Now a veteran of the EPL with Everton, Tim is the US #1 goalkeeper and considered to be one of the very best in the world. Originally at IMG during a gap year, Tim went on to join the US U-20's and then the MetroStars before joining Manchester United. Tim has often returned to IMG to train with the National Team staff and has made us promise to employ him as a goalkeeper coach when he retires from playing. He obviously will bedoing out of love as he won't need the money.
* Kyle Martino (#10): Kyle was one of the most skillful players to attend IMG. Although he was slight in
stature his touch, vision and attacking flair caught the eye of University of Virginia. Kyle then moved on to the MLS and had excellent years with the Columbus Crew and LA Galaxy and the occasional call up to the National Team. Kyle is now a successful broadcaster on Fox Soccer Channel.
* DaMarcus Beasley (#11): With an insatiable appetite for the game, DaMarcus loved to play and he never caredabout who he was playing with, what the competition was or home or away. He just loved to play. A speedy winger, âJitter Bugâ was both quick and fast, often leaving even well positioned defenders behind. A career in Europe with some of the top clubs and a mainstay with the US National Team,
Beasley has shown how far hard work and a good attitude can take an individual.
* Anne Makinen (#8): The âFlying Female Finnâ was at her time the best player at the academy -- boy or girl. A great trainer and game player alike, Anne trained with the boys and made appearances in the men's league in order to find a challenge. After a National Championship with Notre Dame, Anne went on to the W League and represented Finland's full team on many occasions.
* Michael Parkhurst (#2, 2002): Widely recognized as the Poster Child for the IMG Academy soccer program, Mikey is the most successful IMG alumni to date. After a stellar career at Wake Forest, Mike was drafted in the first round of the MLS draft to the New England Revolution. With the Revs, Mike reached the final of the MLS Cup 3 times, won the US Open Cup and was named a MLS All Star 3 years running, MLS Rookie of the year, MLS Humanitarian of the Year, and MLS Defender of the year in succession. Mike currently plies his trade on Denmark with an eye on a transfer to one of Europe's top leagues.
* Heath Pearce (#19, 2002): Heath joins Mike Parkhurst as the second inductee of what is now known as the IMG golden generation. Pearce, along with Parkhurst, have made their debut with the full national team and both aspire to be part of the 2014 World Cup Roster. Pearce left Portland early to embark on a professional career in Europe and returned to the MLS last year where he helped FC Dallas reach the MLS cup final. A speedy left sided player Heath scored some of the most spectacular goals ever witnessed on the IMG facility. Known for his attacking flare from deep positions Heath was very good on the dribble and with his
* Kurt Morsink (#10, 2002): Drafted by the Kansas City Wizards after 4 years as a stalwart at James Madison University, Kurt now patrols the midfield for DC United. A utility midfield player Kurt was both a playmaker and defensive midfielder at IMG. Bringing street smarts and gamesmanship to every match he played in at the Academy made him a favorite among his peers and a handful for the coaches at times. Clever and cunning, Kurt could easily sense the momentum of a match and take it over. He also had the ability to score key goals and get under an opponent's skin.
* Kevin Burns (#7, 2001): After two years in USL, Kevin joined the Columbus Crew and played part in their MLS
Championship season in 2009. After a stellar career at UConn, Burns slowly adjusted to the professional ranks and is rapidly becoming a seasoned professional. Shy and introverted off the field, Burns comes to life with the ball at his feet. For a big man, he has excellent close quarter control and is known for his great vision.
* Steven Keel (#14, 2003): In the tradition of an IMG player, Keel continued his development throughout his tenure at Wake Forest, USL and the Colorado Rapids. A clever and cunning utility midfielder, Keel's late growth spurt saw him adjust from an attacking role to the defensive midfield position and finally center back, which is a testament to his soccer skill
* Derek Leader (Coach and Builder): Currently the Associate Head Coach for the SMU women's program, Derek was instrumental in shaping the Academy into what it is today, as the architect of our girls program that he pioneered from it's inception. During his tenure at IMG, Derek won 3 FYSA state cup championships and numerous league and tournament titles with the U-17 and U-19 age groups.
* Erika Tymrak (#9, 2009): Our only female inductee, Erika Tymrak is often described as the Michael Parkhurst of our women's program. Erika's natural talent flourished in the Academy program and she readily played and excelled with girls 2 and 3 years older. A gifted attacking midfielder with soft feet and good vision, Tymrak was scouted and recruited by the University of Florida where she plays today. Tymrak was a member of the US U-17 Women's World Cup Team.
* Blair Gavin (#5, 2009): After 3 years at Akron, Blair signed as part of Generation adidas and made an instant impact with Chivas USA. A tireless midfielder with extraordinary anaerobic capacity, Gavin's work rate in midfield was unparallel at IMG. Gavin led the IMG U-19 boys to its second Dallas Cup Championship converting the winning penalty kick over the Houston Dynamo. Gavin's Akron University team reached the NCAA finals undefeated in 2009. A good passer on the ball and a keen eye for goal will make Blair one of US Soccer's top prospect in the future.
* Zak Boggs (#12, 2009): The consummate soccer player and professional, Zak Boggs currently plays for the New England Revolution. Boggs graduated from University of South Florida with honors where he was an Academic All-American. A prolific goal scorer at IMG, Boggs was used as a midfielder in college and is currently playing as a right full back in the pros. A 3-time PDL All Star, Boggs was consistently amongst the nation's top scorers and led IMG to its first ever Dallas Cup Win in 2005.
* Ernesto Sanchez (#1, 2008): The Mexican international is one of the finest goalkeepers to defend the IMG
colors. Currently the number 2 at Toluca in the Mexican first division, Sanchez is an excellent shot stopper and possesses some of the best goalkeeper foot skills that we have ever seen. Tremendously calm and composed in his demeanor, Sanchez had a very positive influence on his teammates. His distribution was an asset to the attack and often a worry to opponents defenses.