In Spring 2019, Syracuse Development Academy 03 Boys were one of the top teams in the region. In the USYS North Atlantic National League Conference managed by EDP Soccer, the squad went 8-1-0 scoring 29 goals in conceding only 4 goals. In the USYS National Championship Series, the squad won the NYSWYSA State Cup, finished as Semi Finalist in the Eastern Regional Championships, and lost on Penalty Kicks in the semi finals of the National Championships.
Leading the front line for the team was star player Caden Stafford. Stafford started his journey in the EDP League when his United Soccer Alliance Predators joined the league in Spring 2016. Stafford shined for many years, and capped off his career in Syracuse with the successful run in 2019. During the Eastern Regional Championships, Stafford scored 8 goals during the competition. In the National Championships, he found the back of the net 4 times, and scored in each of the sides group stage games. During his High School season with Cincinnatus High School in Fall 2018, he had 42 goals and 34 assists.
“I loved everything about playing with SDA! Coach Shannon was a great Coach who helped develop me technically but he really knew me as a person, and had the ability to push me as a player. We still talk often. My teammates were my best friends. I miss playing with them, especially my younger brother. Whenever I go home, we all get together. I had some very talented teammates and our training environment helped me become the player I am today. I will never forget our final season, I didn’t want it to end. I’m thankful for all of the relationships and memories made while at Syracuse Development Academy.”
— Caden Stafford
Following his tremendous 2019 season, Stafford joined the Philadelphia Union Academy. He made an immediate impact, scoring a hat trick at the Generation Adidas event only a couple months after joining the U17 team. Now a year later, Stafford is making his presence felt on the Philadelphia Union II side. Joining other EDP Alumni Paxten Aaronson (Real Jersey FC), Brandon Craig (Fishtown), Quinn Sullivan (Fishtown), and Jackson Gilman (West-Mont), Stafford made his debut on August 5, 2020 against New York Red Bulls II.
“Playing with the USL team is really pushing me to be the best player I can be. Our training sessions are very intense and I am competing against other great players for a roster spot in each match. Coach Marlon demands nothing but our best. Every goal and assist is earned, the competition in the league is tough.”
— Caden Stafford
Stafford has committed to the University of Maryland, and is looking forward to continuing to make an impact as one of the Philadelphia Union's up and coming players.