Field of 64 Teams Set for 2009-10 Development Academy Playoffs in Greensboro, N.C.
â€¢ Games Slated for Extended Weekend of June 25-29 at Bryan Park
â€¢ 32 Teams in Each Age Group Drawn into Eight Groups, With Group Winners Advancing to Finals Week
â€¢ Finals Week Set for July 10-17 at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif.
CHICAGO (June 11, 2010) -- The field of 64 teams for the 2009-10 Development Academy Playoffs has been set, with 96 games slated for the extended weekend of June 25-29 at in Greensboro, N.C. It will be the second consecutive year that the event will be held at Bryan Park, where Academy teams will play on eight of the facilityâ€™s Bermuda grass fields.
The top two teams in each of the Development Academyâ€™s 10 divisions earn automatic qualification to the Playoffs, with the remaining 12 spots open to wildcard teams that have the best overall points per game average across the full season.
The 32 teams were placed into four pots for each age group, based on seeding, and were randomly drawn into eight groups of four. The top finisher in each group will move on to the third annual Development Academy Finals Week at The Home Depot Center from July 10-17.
The Academy Playoffs were incorporated into the programâ€™s schedule in 2009 to increase the number of meaningful games that a team plays over the course of the season, while still limiting the number of games overall.
The top seed in the U-17/18 age group, Indiana United Academy, will attempt to reach Finals Week for a third consecutive year, having won the championship in 2008 as a U-15/16 team and in 2009 as a U-17/18 group. Formerly known as Carmel United, Indiana United has been placed in a group that also includes No. 10 Concorde Fire, No. 17 Lonestar Aztex Academy and No. 29 New England Revolution.
The Baltimore Bays have earned the top seed in the U-15/16 age group, and have been drawn into a very diverse group that includes the No. 10 Dallas Texans, No. 24 Chivas USA and No.Â 32Â Kansas City Wizards. The Bays are one of 19 clubs to qualify both teams to Greensboro, and in the U-17/18 age group, the No. 5-seeded Bays will face No. 16 Chicago Fire, No. 21 Texas SC DTH and No. 31 FC Westchester in an attempt to reclaim the U-17/18 crown they won in 2008.
As demonstrated in 2009 when No. 31 seed Cal Odyssey made an incredible run to Finals Week and then to the U-51/16 championship match, teams have everything to play for in Greensboro as the Acaemy season winds down. But to the teams who have made it this point, reaching Greensboro is a testament to the hard work put in during a 10-month season.
California Development Academy is in its first year of the U.S. Soccer program and is among the double qualifiers at Playoffs. CDA earned the No. 17 seed in the U-15/16 age group and was drawn against No. 7 PDA, No. 16 Internationals and No. 32 Birmingham United. As the No. 11 seed in the U-17/18 age group, California Development Academy was placed in Group H with No. 6 IMG Academy, Vardar and FC Milwaukee.
LAFC Chelsea, who was the first team to qualify both teams for Finals Week during the inaugural season of the Development Academy, will once again be looking for a strong showing from both teams in Greensboro to reach Finals Week for the third straight year. As the No. 20 seed in the younger group, they are pitted against No. 5 Real Colorado, No. 14 D.C. United and No. 26 Vardar.
Derby County Wolves U-17/18 enter Playoffs as the eighth seed following their run to the 2008-09 U-15/16 championship. In Greensboro, they will need to battle New York Red Bulls, Greensboro Youth Soccer and the PA Classics to reach Carson again in 2010.
Two U-17/18 groups include a pair of Academies associated with Major League Soccer clubs, as Group C will see a matchup between FC Dallas and the LA Galaxy and Group D includes both D.C. United and the Houston Dynamo.
For a complete list of the Playoff groups and a full schedule of games, keep with the Academy section of ussoccer.com.