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Day Two of Winter Showcase Caps off Busiest Day in U.S. Soccer's Development Academy History

LANCASTER, Calif. (Dec. 5, 2008) - More than 75 games are in the books at the U.S. Soccer Development Academy Winter Showcase as the biggest day of action on the field came to a close in Lancaster, Calif.

Led by U-20 MNT head coach Thomas Rongen and Development Academy Technical Director John Hackworth, 28 members of the U.S. National Team Scouting Network were joined by approximately 250 college coaches from across the nation to witness competition on 24 fields at the Lancaster National Soccer Center.  The four-day event continues with a comprehensive schedule of matches throughout the day Saturday.

The day’s featured matches were broadcast live on Fox Soccer Channel.  In the opener, the Chicago Fire and Chivas USA traded goals in a scrappy 2-2 draw as Andy Huftalin netted a pair for Chicago.  All eyes turned to the main event, the Nike International Friendly between the U.S. U-17 MNT and the U-17’s from Brazil.  Defensive breakdowns on set pieces spoiled an otherwise solid showing for the U.S. as they fell 3-0, snapping a three-match unbeaten run against the Brazilians in Nike Friendlies competition.

The defending U-17/18 champion Baltimore Bays kicked off their Showcase weekend with a 1-1 draw against Academy newcomers FC Dallas.  The MLS Academy club was one of eight Texas teams making their Showcase debuts Friday, highlighted by the 3-0 victory by Texas SC against Washington Premier.

On the U-15/16 side, last year’s champions Carmel United were handed a 2-0 loss by the Concorde Fire.  Runners up PDA handed Texas Rush AS Monaco a 2-0 defeat, picking up their first victory of the 2008-09 campaign.

In addition to action on the field Saturday, Nike SPARQ testing will resume during the afternoon.  SPARQ, which stands for speed, power, agility, reaction and quickness, provides physical testing and training programs for each Academy club as well as the U.S. National Teams.  U.S. National Team defender Jonathan Bornstein will go through the SPARQ regimen Sunday afternoon.

Along with players and coaches, referees are also benefiting from the Winter Showcase. There are hundreds of referees on site, who have the opportunity to be evaluated and mentored by some of the top referees in the United States – including some of U.S. Soccer’s Full-Time Referees who ply their trade in Major League Soccer.

Launched in the fall of 2007 after a detailed review of player development systems in the U.S. and across the world, the Development Academy provides players, coaches and referees a nationally-coordinated program designed to enhance their development environment. 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. For more information on the U.S. Soccer Development Academy, visit the Development Academy homepage at