Third Annual Finals Week Set To Kick Off in LA
With a long regular season and playoffs in the books, it's down to the final eight teams of each age group to battle it out for a Development Academy National Championship
July 9, 2010
WELCOME TO CARSON: The conclusion of the nine-month season that included more than 2,000 games played by 144 teams across the country, Development Academy Finals Week kicks off on Saturday with the final eight U-15/16 teams descending on Carson, Calif. The teams are split into two groups of four, with the winner of each group vying for the championship on Friday, July 16 at 7 p.m. PT on the Mooch Myernick Field at The Home Depot Center.
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• Cal Odyssey’s impressive run from the No. 31 seed at 2009 Playoffs all the way to the U-15/16 championship game came up just short of a national title. This year, the Clovis, Calif.-based club has its sights set on the national title with several key players returning in 2010.
• The Baltimore Bays, top seed in June’s Playoffs, enter Finals Week with an astonishing 21-game winning streak, giving the team all the momentum and confidence heading in Carson.
• Chicago Fire goalkeeper Robert Euler has carried the team this far with 14 shutouts on the season.
• DeAnza Force has three players who have scored seven goals on the season: striker Hector Herrera, midfielder Stefano Bonomo and defender Alfred Edmonds.
• D.C. United needed a come-from-behind win against Real Colorado to seal a place at Finals Week, as two goals from Julian Griggs lifted the Mid-Atlantic winners to a 2-1 victory.
• Sockers FC striker Khaliq McKenzie leads the team, which has only lost twice all season, with 15 goals on the year along with an impressive 26 games started.
• CASL Chelsea FC is riding a 13-game unbeaten streak into Finals Week, and did not concede a single goal during Playoffs.
• Winners of the Great Lakes conference, Internationals are making their first appearance at Finals Week in either age group, and picked up steam in Greensboro with two comprehensive victories in their opening two matches. A draw with PDA was all the Cleveland-based club needed to clinch a berth in Carson.
STAY IN TUNE: U.S. Soccer will produce six shows during the course of Finals Week, keeping fans up to date on the results and standings, while providing an in-depth analysis of key matches by youth national team coaches and technical advisors. Fans can expect a closer look at what’s going on at Finals Week with interviews with coaches, players, technical experts and youth national team coaches.
PLAYOFFS RECAP: Every group during Academy Playoffs came down to the final day, but all 16 teams across two age groups have been set for the 2010 Development Academy Finals Week that will take place from July 10-17 at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. DeAnza Force and Baltimore Bays Chelsea were the only teams to come away from Greensboro with three wins in the U-15/16 age group. The Bays repeated that feat the next day at the U-17/18 level, along with Derby County, FC Dallas, Real So Cal and Concorde Fire.
U-15/16 Playoffs Groups and Final Standings
U-17/18 Playoffs Groups and Final Standings
BEST PRACTICES: In accordance with the Development Academy Best Practices, teams will alternate game days with a day of recovery during the week. The first U-15/16 matches will kick off on Saturday, July 10, and game days will continue on July 12 and 14 with the final set for July 16. The U-17/18 age group will play on alternating days.
A LOOK AT GROUP 1: Group 1 at the U-15/16 level features two Chicago-area teams as the Chicago Fire and Sockers FC square off in the opening game at 6 p.m. on Saturday. At 7 p.m. that evening, DeAnza Force will represent Northern California while D.C. United will be the lone East Coast representative in the group.
WHAT’S AHEAD IN GROUP 2: CASL Chelsea FC Academy has once again qualified a team in each age group, and has now sent teams to The Home Depot Center for five out of a maximum six times (two age groups over the course of three seasons). Baltimore Bays Chelsea will be battling to return to the title game two years after winning the inaugural U-17/18 championship in 2008. They will face a tough task against 2009 runner-up Cal Odyssey and Internationals, who will be making their first Finals Week appearance.
|U-15/16 Group 1 Schedule|
|July 10||Chicago Fire vs. Sockers FC||6 p.m||Field 3|
|July 10||DeAnza Force vs. D.C. United||7 p.m.||Field 1|
|July 12||D.C. United vs. Chicago Fire||6 p.m.||Field 2|
|July 12||Sockers FC vs. DeAnza Force||7 p.m.||Field 3|
|July 14||Chicago Fire vs. DeAnza Force||7 p.m.||Field 2|
|July 14||D.C. United vs. Sockers FC||7 p.m.||Field 3|
|U-15/16 Group 2 Schedule|
|July 10||CASL Chelsea FC Academy vs. Cal Odyssey||3 p.m.||Field 1|
|July 10||Internationals vs. Baltimore Bays Chelsea||4 p.m.||Field 2|
|July 12||Baltimore Bays Chelsea vs. CASL Chelsea FC Academy||3 p.m.||Field 3|
|July 12||Cal Odyssey vs. Internationals||4 p.m.||Field 1|
|July 14||CASL Chelsea FC Academy vs. Internationals||4 p.m.||Field 2|
|July 14||Baltimore Bays Chelsea vs. Cal Odyssey||4 p.m.||Field 3|
Complete U-15/16 Finals Week Schedule
MORE FROM LOS ANGELES: The teams, along with U.S. Soccer staff, will once again be staying in downtown Los Angeles for the duration of Finals Week. The hotel is stocked with an athletes’ lounge, training room, meeting rooms and meal rooms to mirror the setup national teams use while in training camp. Keep an eye on everything going at Finals Week by visiting the YNT Blog.
THE MOST COMPETITIVE MATCHES: The Development Academy playoff system was created to add to the number of meaningful games for Academy athletes, further enhancing the player development process. Since its launch in the fall of 2007, the Academy has improved the training environment, provided relevant, high-level matches on a consistent basis, increased the level and efficiency of scouting for the national teams and provided players, coaches and referees with structured programming.