2011-12 Development Academy Finals Week Format
Approximately five years ago, the U.S. Soccer Development Academy kicked off its inaugural Finals Week at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., with 32 games and more than 350 players, coaches and referees taking part in the excitement and emergence of the Development Academy.
July 15, 2012
© U.S. Soccer
The 2011-12 Development Academy season started 10 months ago in September and reaches its pinnacle this week as eight teams each from the U-15/16 and U-17/18 age groups kick off the Development Academy Finals Week at Houston Amateur Sports Park in Houston from July 16-23.
Before reaching Finals Week, teams first had to qualify for the Development Academy Playoffs as either one of 20 automatic division bids or as one of 12 wild card selections based on overall points per match.
After qualifying for the postseason tournament, 32 teams from each age group faced the daunting task of playing three games in four days underneath the Texas sun at the Academy Playoffs in Frisco. Only finishing as the winner from one of eight, four-team groups could keep a club’s season alive, sending the squad to Houston for a shot at the national championship.
The tournament format for Finals Week is set up in such a way that only one age group plays each day, giving teams an extra bit of time to rest and plan for their next fixture. Each day will feature four matches (two from each group) as the teams jockey for final-day placement positioning.
Last season in the U-17/18 division, the top spot in Group 1 went down to a tiebreaker as eventual champion Pateadores and the Dallas Texans finished level on points and goal differential. Pateadores earned the tiebreaker based on total goals scored (6-5 over the Dallas Texans) to earn a spot in the championship match.
Each club plays the three other teams in its group once, with the two group winners advancing to the championship match to be played at the recently opened BBVA Compass Stadium, home to the Houston Dynamo of Major League Soccer.
The format used to determine the other placement games are as follows:
- Third/Fourth place – Runner-up from Group 1 vs. Runner-up from Group 2
- Fifth/Sixth place – Third-place team from Group 1 vs. Third-place team from Group 2
- Seventh/Eighth place – Fourth-place team from Group 1 vs. Fourth-place team from Group 2
All placement games, aside from the championship match, will take place at the Houston Amateur Sports Park.
Placement games for the U-17/18 age group are scheduled for Sunday, July 22, while the U-15/16 division placement games are on Monday, July 23.