Leading off today:
So, what's been your 16-year-old's big moment so far this year?
Going to the junior prom on Friday and acing the AP history exam three days later?
Getting his or her learner's permit and passing the road test on the first try?
Landing a job as a lifeguard for $11 an hour and an unlimited supply of sun block?
Well, Tyler Adams may have had a better 2015 last night than any other 16-year-old in the state.
When last we mentioned Adams, the Wappingers Falls soccer player was signing a contract in March to play in the development program of the New York Red Bulls organization in MLS.
Last night, the Red Bulls hosted English Premier League champion Chelsea and opted to use a roster full of reserves because the fielded their full-strength lineup 24 hours earlier in a U.S. Open Cup quarterfinal loss. That meant Adams got called up to play against one of the world's best teams, and he made the most of it by scoring a goal in a highly surprising 4-2 victory.
After Chelsea scored first, Red Bulls midfielder Franklin Castellanos tied the match early in the second half, then Adams headed home Castellanos' cross in the 69th minute to put his side ahead for good against Chelsea, which is just starting its preseason and didn't field a full "A" lineup.
All four Red Bulls goals came from products of their academy program.
"We've talked a lot about what the future of this club will be, and that it'll involve investment in the youth, the investment in the academy," coach Jesse Marsch told The New York Post. "They got a chance to showcase a lot of the hard work that's been put in, and the kids go out and they play fearless and they go after the game, and gain confidence and get an incredible result against an incredible team."
Ready for college? Possibly not: I started thinking last night about Cedric Walker, a fabulous track and field coach both in Section 5 and on the national and international scene as well as a great friend to many of us.
Cedric died too young more than two years ago, and before that the two of us had already been talking for at least 18 months about an NCAA eligibility changes coming down the pipe. Cedric's warning back then was the high schools -- not only the athletes themselves, but also the coaches and administrators -- were woefully unprepared for the new standards and that a lot of school districts would prove themselves incapable of making the transition to the new standards.
We're about to find out if he was right, and I fear it could get ugly out there fairly soon.
The reason my discussions with Cedric became top-of-mind again is that The Arizona Republic did a story Wednesday about NCAA initial eligibility rules that kick in for the high school class of 2016.
Instead of the old 2.0 core grade-point average, Division I hopefuls must have a 2.3 GPA. They also need to have completed 10 of their 16 core courses before their senior year, with seven of those coming in English, math and science.
And that's a best-case scenario for a lot of athletes. If a student's SAT score is only 1,000, he or she is going to need a 2.5 high school core-course GPA to play and a 2.0 just to be able to accept scholarship money and practice.
If athletes, parents, coaches and guidance counselors are scrambling now, they shouldn't be. It's already too late to help some kids who are short of core courses. Besides, everyone has had plenty of warning; the NCAA Division I Board of Directors passed the new standards in 2012 and has layered in gradual changes to its standards, particularly the GPA, along the way.
Bill Counce, the father of a football prospect in Arizona, told the paper the core-course requirements will trip up more prospective recruits than the GPA might.
"What the kids need to understand is the academic process," Counce told the paper. "If they're waiting until the last semester to pack them in, they won't qualify. I think that will catch more kids than the GPA.