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Fox Soccer Channel to Televise Nike International Friendlies at 2008 Development Academy Winter Showcase

CHICAGO (Dec. 2, 2008) – Fox Soccer Channel will televise three U-17 Men's National Team games during the 2008 U.S. Soccer Development Academy Winter Showcase, which is taking place from Dec.4-8 at the Lancaster National Soccer Center in Lancaster, Calif. All three matches are against international competition, with the U-17s taking on Brazil and Australia during the weekend.

The U.S. kicks off proceedings live on FSC when they go up against Brazil on Friday, Dec. 5 at 11:30 a.m. PT. The match-up with the South Americans is a December tradition for the U-17s, as the two sides will meet for the fourth straight year. The U.S., which will split into two squads over the weekend, will also host Australia on Dec. 5 at 2 p.m. PT. In between the two games, FSC will air a 30-minute show to include highlights and features from the Development Academy Winter Showcase.

Two days later, the U.S. will retake the field against Brazil on Sunday, Dec. 7, with the game televised live on FSC at 2 p.m. PT. FSC will also broadcast a half-hour pregame show, starting live at 1:30 p.m. PT. In total, five international games will take place over the weekend. Matches not televised include the U.S. taking on Australia on Dec. 7 at 11:30 a.m. PT and Australia facing off with Brazil on Monday, Dec. 8 at 1 p.m. PT.

All 40 members of the U.S. Soccer Residency Program will travel to Lancaster and teams will be named from the pool for the international games. Many of the players in the pool took part in the 2007 Nike Friendlies, where U.S. defeated Brazil 2-0 in front of a spirited crowd at the IMG Academies in Bradenton, Fla.

The Development Academy Winter Showcase will feature 148 teams from 74 different clubs in a weekend designed to focus on the development of players, coaches and referees at the international level.

The Winter Showcase will also feature some of the nation’s top young referees, who will be working under the guidance and instruction of the U.S. Soccer Referee Department Staff. Officials from Major League Soccer and some professional referees will also be working games and mentoring the younger referees. The Showcase will be the first event of its kind for 12 clubs who are new to the Development Academy for the 2008-09 season.

U.S. Soccer will continue to provide a technically driven environment, including SPARQ testing for all athletes and Gatorade hydration testing for select teams. All games will be videotaped and distributed to the teams and ProZone will analyze teams to provide additional objective feedback for coaches and players.

The Academy Winter Showcase will also provide a platform for coaching development. College and Academy coaches are invited to attend a SPARQ Strength Training Seminar led by Paul Winsper, a Goalkeeper Coaching Symposium led by Under-20 Men’s National Team Assistant Coach Tim Mulqueen and Scouting Symposia with National Team Scouts.

The 2008 Winter Showcase will be the first of two Showcases held during the 2008-09 season followed by the Academy Playoffs and Academy Finals Week. The upcoming Academy Spring Showcase will be held from May 22-26 in Sarasota, Fla. The Academy Playoffs will be held in Greensboro, N.C. from June 26-29 and the Academy Finals Week will be held from July 11-18 at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif.