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All 126 Development Academy Teams to Participate in Spring Showcase on Memorial Day Weekend

CHICAGO (Feb. 28, 2008) – The U.S. Soccer Development Academy will host the Development Academy Spring Showcase in Rockford, Ill., from May 23-26, 2008, brining all 126 Academy teams from 63 clubs in attendance together for the first time in the Development Academy’s short history.

       • Complete list of Development Academy Clubs

All 63 clubs, including two squads from the Under-17 Men’s National Team Residency Program, will take full advantage of 16 fields at the Sportscore Two Complex. Each team will play three games across four days of the long weekend, with a rest day on either Saturday or Sunday.

“The Spring Showcase will be a great opportunity to have everyone involved with the Academy in one location,” said Development Academy Technical Director John Hackworth. “A full slate of games at a state-of-the-art complex will give us a good look at the progress we’ve made with the Academy thus far, and the potential of this program.”

The rest day will provide teams an opportunity to take advantage of the Academy’s various educational resources in player development, coaching, administration and refereeing. The games will be officiated by the area’s top referees, who will be joined by members of U.S. Soccer’s Full-Time Referee Program as selected by U.S. Soccer’s Professional Referee Assignors.

In the fall, U.S. Soccer staged the inaugural Showcase event at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., that featured 36 teams from 18 clubs and two teams from the U.S. Soccer Under-17 Men’s National Team Residency Program. In February, 88 teams representing 44 clubs descended on Pizza Hut Park in Frisco, Texas for the Winter Showcase.

In addition to over a dozen national team scouts, hundreds of college and professional coaches were in attendance throughout the two events. Players also had full access an 8,000 square-foot players’ lounge, which included nine plasma televisions for playing brand-new EA Sports’ FIFA Street 3, a free Gatorade station and an area for participants to try out the latest Nike cleats.

With full coverage of all the Showcase events, will once again be on hand to provide Studio 90 shows, all_access videos, match highlights and behind-the-scenes scoop featured on the YNT Blog. In previous events, U.S. Soccer also provided action photos of each game, and high definition game footage available to participating teams and scouts.

In a broad move designed to improve the development environment for players throughout the country, the U.S. Soccer Federation has taken the initiative in formalizing the nationwide development academy. Created to provide players with the best possible opportunity to develop, the U.S. Soccer Development Academy is being initiated after a comprehensive review of player development systems in the United States and around the world.

The showcase matches are the third such weekend of a nine-month campaign in which 122 teams will compete in over 1,800 matches in conference play. With 2,440 players, 244 coaches and more than 200 referees participating in individual conference games, travel partner weekends and showcase weekends, the Academy boasts the most comprehensive platform for youth competition in U.S. Soccer history.