Development Academy Playoffs: Day 1
U.S. Soccer Development Academy
2010-11 Playoffs and Showcase
Pizza Hut Park; Frisco, Texas
June 24, 2011
PIZZA HUT PARK PARTY: All 156 teams have arrived in Frisco, Texas, and the 2010-11 U.S. Soccer Development Academy Playoffs and Showcase are underway at Pizza Hut Park. The Under-17/18 age groupÂ kicks off the first day of games with the Showcase in the morning and Playoffs in the evening. The Under-15/16 age group begins play on Saturday, June 25. The event runs from June 24-28, with 16 teams qualifying for 2011 Finals Week.
WHAT TO EXPECT: With only three round-robin games to win their group and qualify for Finals Week, each Development Academy team will be making every game count. The young athletes have worked hard during the year and now itâ€™s time to lay it all on the line for a chance to extend their season and make the trip from Texas to Milwaukee, where they could fight for the Academy championship at Finals Week.
- D.C. United U-17/18 and Empire United U-17/18 will square off on the very first day of Playoffs after both teams won their respective division in both age groups.
- Seattle Sounders also won its division in both age groups, and will kick off the tournament against Seacoast United in the U-17/18 bracket and Crew Soccer Academy in the U-15/16 age group.
- A few of last yearâ€™s finalists have made it back to Playoffs, with U-15/16 finalists Cal Odyssey and champions Chicago Fire looking to make it to Finals Week once again as U-17/18 clubs.
FOCUS ON HYDRATION: One of the biggest equalizers this weekend will be the weather, with temperatures expected to be in the 90s during day games. Teams will look to use many of their allowed seven substitutions each match as the weekend goes on, even as the Academy has planned to stop play during the hours of 1:30-5 p.m. CT to avoid the hottest part of the day. As with previous showcases however, U.S. Soccer and Gatorade have teamed up to make sure all players have unlimited access to Gatoradeâ€™s G Series that includes Prime, Perform and Recover products to keep them hydrated throughout the day.
SHOWCASE SHOWDOWNS: Along with the battles for Finals Week, Academy clubs that didnâ€™t qualify for the postseason will still get the chance to play competitive matches this weekend in the form of a round-robin style tournament. Teams will play opponents from outside their division, with the winners advancing to play each other in their next game. Teams will play three games, increasing their Showcase and tournament experience while allowing clubs to play teams from around the country they might otherwise not meet.
U.S. NATIONAL TEAM SCOUTS IN ATTENDANCE: Nearly 30 U.S. Soccer Technical Advisors and scouts will be watching games throughout the weekend. They will take this opportunity to look at players from all around the country play in competitive matches during the next five days, while Technical Advisors will review and discuss the match with coaches immediately following their games.
WATCH HOW THE PROS PLAY: Two U.S. National Teams will be playing matches during the weekend, with the U.S. Men facing off against Mexico in the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup Final and the U.S. U-17 Menâ€™s National Team facing New Zealand in their final group stage match at the FIFA U-17 World Cup. There are 15 Academy players represented on the U-17 squad, pulled from 14 Academy clubs. Both matches will be broadcast on Saturday night inside the Athletesâ€™ Lounge, giving players and coaches the chance to watch our nationâ€™s best square off on the world stage. Like last yearâ€™s World Cup match against Ghana that took place during Playoffs, Academy teams will get the chance to watch and discuss the match with coaches, teammates and Technical Advisors to make it not just entertaining, but educational as well.
FOLLOWING YOUR CLUB: Results from these matches will be posted shortly after their conclusion here for the U-15/16s and here for the U-17/18s. As the weekend goes on, weâ€™ll also be posting the clinching scenarios for teams heading into their final games.
SOCIAL BUTTERFLY: The U.S. Soccer Development Academy is all over the internet. Follow the U.S. Soccer Development Academy, including all the news and updates from Pizza Hut Park on U.S. Soccerâ€™s Development Academy Facebook page, on Twitter @ussoccer_ynt and on the YNT Blog.