All 16 Teams Set for 2011 Development Academy Finals Week as Eight Under-15/16 Teams Qualify
- Under-15/16 Teams Kick Off Finals Week on July 10 in Three Locations in Milwaukee, Wis.
- North Carolina Fusion and PA Classics Post Comeback Victories in Third Match to Qualify for Finals Week
- Six of the Eight Teams Qualify for Finals Week for First Time
FRISCO, Texas (June 28, 2011) – The 2010-11 Development Academy Playoffs and Showcase wrapped up at Pizza Hut Park in Frisco, Texas, with eight teams in the Under-15/16 age group earning a place at 2011 Finals Week in Milwaukee, Wis. CASL Chelsea FC Academy, Dallas Texans, LA Galaxy, North Carolina Fusion, PA Classics, Real Salt Lake AZ, Real So Cal and Seattle Sounders won their respective groups to qualify for the chance to compete for the 2011 Development Academy championship.
Finals Week runs from July 9-16 at three venues in Milwaukee, where the eight teams will be split into two groups of four. The teams will play each team in their group in a round-robin format, with the U-15/16 group winners squaring off for the championship on Saturday, July 16. The U-17/18 age group will face off in the championship on Friday, July 15, at 12 p.m. CT live on ESPNU and ESPN3.com.
Six of the eight teams qualified for Finals Week for the first time, including first-year clubs Real Salt Lake AZ and Seattle Sounders FC. Both teams posted convincing wins with Seattle Sounders FC earning the full nine points from three wins and Real Salt Lake AZ leading the Group 6 table with seven points, one more than FC Westchester.
North Carolina Fusion and PA Classics won their respective groups with late-game comeback wins. After pressuring but playing to a scoreless draw for most of the game, North Carolina Fusion went down 1-0 to Texas Rush AJ Auxerre who would have won the group with a win or even a draw combined with the result of the other group match. But the Fusion battled back, scoring twice to win the game and return to Finals Week after missing out in 2010.
PA Classics had a similar story as they trailed North Meck 1-0 for most of the game. Combined with the result of the other group game, North Meck would advance with a win but the Pennsylvania team came back with goals in the 78th and 80th minutes to finish with seven points and the group title.
In Group 8, CASL Chelsea FC Academy and St. Louis Scott Gallagher Missouri went into the final game of the group tied with six points from two previous wins, tied with a plus-two goal differential and tied on the next tiebreaker with four goals scored. It was a winner-take-all match that came down to a CASL Chelsea FC Academy goal in the last 10 minutes that led the team to Finals Week for the third time.
LA Galaxy controlled its own fate, sweeping Group 3 with three victories and a plus-four goal differential. They will join fellow SoCal Division club Real So Cal, who advanced out of Group 1 in another tight race.
Dallas Texans sent their U-15/16 group through one day after their U-17/18 team qualified. Seven points earned from the three group matches was enough to lead the group ahead of Albertson SC who finished with five points after drawing their first two matches. CASL Chelsea FC Academy was the only other team to send both of their age groups to Finals Week.
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.