Development Academy Winter Showcase and Nike International Friendlies Open Friday in Phoenix
THIRD ANNUAL WINTER SHOWCASE SET: The 2009 Development Academy Winter Showcase and Nike International Friendlies are set for Dec. 4-8 at the Reach 11 Sports Complex in Phoenix, Ariz. All 154 teams representing 77 Development Academy clubs will participate in 234 games during the extended weekend, while six Under-17 international matches will highlight Friday, Saturday and Monday. The Winter Showcase will incorporate the overall theme for the Development Academyâ€™s 2009-10 season, the Every Day Environment. The Every Day theme, which includes individual training, team training, off field routines and games, will be highlighted throughout the weekend in video content featuring members of the Menâ€™s National Team and youth national team coaches, and player education opportunities found inside the Players Lounge. For the complete 2009 Winter Showcase schedule, click here.
NIKE INTERNATIONAL FRIENDLIES TO HIGHLIGHT WEEKEND AT REACH 11: U.S. U-17 Menâ€™s National Team head coach Wilmer Cabrera has finalized a 22-player roster for the upcoming Nike International Friendlies in Phoenix. The team will arrive in Phoenix Monday afternoon to begin training, leading up to its first game against Portugal on Friday, Dec. 4. The new cycle of players for the U.S. U-17 MNT will play its first three international games at this level, continuing the weekend with friendly matches against Brazil on Dec. 5, and the Netherlands on Monday, Dec. 7. All three games, held alongside the 2009 Development Academy Winter Showcase, will be broadcast live on Fox Soccer Channel at 7 p.m. MT. All 22 players were born in 1994, making them age eligible for the 2011 FIFA U-17 World Cup. Half of the U.S. roster will be representing their country while their hometown clubs are in attendance as part of the Development Academy, with 11 players each representing a participating club. Additionally, the three visiting national teams of Brazil, Netherlands and Portugal will play each other during the extended weekend. A full schedule of international games can be found here.
Roster By Position
GOALKEEPERS (2): Kendall McIntosh (Mustang Academy; Santa Rosa, Calif.), Fernando Pina (Houston Dynamo; Houston, Texas)
DEFENDERS (7): Ive Burnett (Central Jackson; Brandon, Miss.), Andrew Chang (Sockers FC; Highland Park, Ill.), Jerome Cristobal (Derby County Wolves; Sterling Heights, Mich.), Marc Pelosi (De Anza Force; Sunnyvale, Calif.), Tarik Salkicic (Strictly Soccer; Pinellas Park, Fla.), Nathan Smith (Cal Odyssey; Clovis, Calif.), Andrew Souders (Columbus Crew Academy; Amherst, Ohio)
MIDFIELDERS (8): Atsou Ayah (Fusion FC Tampa; Tampa, Fla.), Tarek Beckles (BW Gottschee; Brooklyn, N.Y.), Holden Fender (North Atlanta SA; Marietta, Ga.), Irvin Gijon (Players Club; Las Vegas, Nev.), Eric Gonzalez (Los Angeles Galaxy; Corona, Calif.), Nicholas Melo (Florida Rush; Kissimmee, Fla.), Oscar Ortega (Aztecs Premier; San Ysidro, Calif.), Sebastian Velasquez (Arsenal FC; Los Angeles, Calif.)
FORWARDS (5): Mikhail Doholis (Eastside United; Vancouver, Wash.), Kellen Gulley (MS Chicago Fire Juniors; Clinton, Miss.), Alfred Koroma (Solar Red; Southlake, Texas); Andrew Oliver (Westside United; Indianapolis, Ind.), Mario Rodriguez (Central Aztecs; North Hollywood, Calif.)
ACADEMY SELECT TEAMS FINALIZED: In addition to the four national teams, eight Development Academy Select Teams will be featured throughout the weekend. Four teams comprised of players born in 1993, three with players born in 1994 and one made up of players born in 1991 and 1992 will play together across the weekend. Development Academy Select Teams are comprised of 130 total players who were chosen by youth national team coaches and U.S. Soccerâ€™s youth national team scouting network. They will have a unique opportunity to play alongside some of the top players in their age group while competing against either an Academy club team or another Select Team. For full rosters of all eight teams, click here. A complete schedule for the seven games, all played from Dec. 5-7, can be found here.
WELCOME TO REACH 11: As teams arrive in Phoenix, they will come across one of the best soccer complexes in the country at the brand-new Reach 11 Sports Complex, built by the City of Phoenix and located well within city limits. Reach 11 will be the first to host the Winter Showcase outside of Florida or California, with 16 fields, including 10 equipped with lights, hosting as many as 58 games in a single day. The 33-acre complex opened its first nine soccer fields in February 2007, with eight more opening in January 2009. The site also features two traditional baseball fields and two fully accessible baseball fields, sponsored by the Arizona Diamondbacks.
PLAYER EDUCATION OPPORTUNITIES: The Winter Showcase will incorporate the overall theme for the Development Academyâ€™s 2009-10 season, the Every Day Environment. The Every Day theme, which includes individual training, team training, off field routines and games, will be highlighted throughout the weekend in video content featuring members of the Menâ€™s National Team and youth national team coaches, and player education opportunities found inside the Players Lounge. Players will also have an opportunity to have their individual skills analyzed by a U.S. Soccer national staff coach.
COACHES GETTING EDUCATED, TOO: Academy coaches will have the unique opportunity to attend Nike Soccer+ Master Control training sessions, which are a collaboration between Nike and FC Barcelona. Ball control and possession are important pillars of FC Barcelonaâ€™s success, and the drills in these sessions have been developed and refined by Pep Guardiolaâ€™s training staff. Coaches will learn about the fundamentals of Control through live on-field demonstrations, active participation and interactive videos featuring some of the worldâ€™s best players. All attendees will receive a unique code that will unlock Nike Elite Training Control content (typically only available with CTR360 Maestri boot purchase) on Nikesoccer.com. In addition to Master Control sessions, U.S. Soccerâ€™s national staff coaches and members of the youth national team scouting network will lead field and classroom educational opportunities for Academy coaches on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, which will count toward continuing education credits.
SCOUTS ABOUND: More than 200 college scouts are expected to be on site, watching matches alongside U.S. youth national team coaches and national staff coaches. Thomas Rongen, who led the U.S. team at the recent FIFA U-20 World Cup, Wilmer Cabrera, who recently returned from the FIFA U-17 World Cup in Nigeria, and Mike Matkovich, head coach of the U.S. U-18 MNT, are all expected to be in attendance throughout the weekend. Professional and college coaches in attendance are asked to register once they are on site, and ussoccer.com will provide an updated list of attendees throughout the weekend.
MEN IN THE MIDDLE: A total of 155 referees from 34 different states will be traveling to Phoenix for the long weekend. Referees will receive instruction from members of U.S. Soccerâ€™s Referee Department and mentoring from three of U.S. Soccerâ€™s full-time referees as Ricardo Salazar, Baldomero Toledo and Terry Vaughn will all be on site. The referee educational opportunities will continue with an assessor academy that will be held in conjunction with state and national referee assessors. A full list of officials who will be in attendance can be found at ussoccer.com.
STAY TUNED IN TO PHOENIX: Once again the Winter Showcase will be taking over the Youth National Teams blog on ussoccer.com as part of the websiteâ€™s comprehensive coverage of the event. Be sure to stay tuned for videos, photos and written content that you wonâ€™t find anywhere else.