WICHITA — As FC Wichita prepares to play Saint Louis Club Atletico in their second match of the Heartland Conference, they’re using Stryker Soccer Complex to their full advantage. This also means throwing out academy players to provide some real depth during training.

The extra bodies for FC Wichita provides helps on multiple fronts. It allows less senior bodies to be used and could help prevent training injuries. It also allows players to step up and show they can compete at this level.

“We’re giving this kids an opportunity they may not get other places,” CEO Blake Shumaker said. “This benefits them and us.”

Players from Goddard Eisenhower found themselves in the trenches of practice on Wednesday, going through multiple drills with the senior club.

“Everybody has the belief in me to call me up to play with these kind of players. Carlos Vidrio said. “It improves my game all around.”

The senior club getting better isn’t just pertaining to the senior players. The ability to grow as a player for the academy is a main goal, too.

“I want to get better overall,” Ethan Doud said. “I’m going to try and see if I can make it on the roster.”

Getting a shot at the senior club isn’t as far fetched as it sounds, just because you’re in the Academy. FC Wichita has already given Academy players a shot at the senior roster. Wichita East’s Ivan Quezada subbed into Saturday’s season opener against Tulsa. While he didn’t produce on the scoreboard, the 16-year old held his own against much older players.

“I’m used to playing against older players,” Quezada said. “It was nice to get out there and give it a try.”

FC Wichita prepares for a showdown with Saint Louis on Sunday, May 19. The two teams split last year’s regular season meeting, with FC Wichita trouncing Saint Louis in the Heartland playoffs 4-0.

The Boys in Red return for their home opener at Stryker Stadium on May 25, also against Tulsa Athletic. That is a scheduled 7:30 p.m. kickoff. Tickets can be purchased here for only $10. Buy your tickets and join in as FC Wichita looks to get their first home win at Stryker.

You can follow FC Wichita on FacebookTwitter and Instagram. All FC Wichita broadcasted by the club will be on MyCujoo. Follow FC Wichita’s page for all live streams.

About Charles Chaney

Charles Chaney is a social media professional for both the FC Wichita men's and women's clubs.