2007 Nike Friendlies & Women's Nike Friendlies Dates Set
CHICAGO (August 3, 2007) – U.S. Soccer has announced the dates for the second annual Women’s Nike Friendlies and the seventh annual Nike Friendlies, to take place in September and December, respectively. The 2007 Women’s Nike Friendlies will take place Sept. 20-23 at U.S. Soccer’s National Training Center at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. The 2007 Nike Friendlies will be played Dec. 6-9 at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. Participants and schedules will be finalized at a later date.
U.S. Soccer’s Nike Friendlies is an annual competition in which the best youth soccer clubs around the United States in the U-16, U-17 and U-18 age divisions are invited to the IMG Academy in Bradenton for a high-level four-day event which stresses quality soccer and player development over wins and losses. Standings are not kept during the competition, in which each team plays three 80-minute games over the four days.
Last year was the first year for the Women’s Nike Friendlies, which boasted 28 of the country’s top women’s clubs in the U-16, U-17 and U-18 age groups, including three U.S. Youth National Teams, the California South Olympic Development squad and 24 elite Nike club teams from around the country. The 2007 event will have girls’ and women’s clubs in the U-15, U-16 and U-17 age groups, with the U.S. U-14 and U-15 Girls’ National Teams participating.
It is the seventh year for the Nike Friendlies in Bradenton, with more than 50 teams attending the 2006 competition. The invitation-only Nike Friendlies, which began with 19 teams, has quickly become a top end-of-the-year destination for elite Nike clubs. The event has also become highly anticipated by college coaches because of the emphasis on quality soccer and the top-level competition.
During the tournament, parents, fans and participants can follow the action at the Nike Friendlies at ussoccer.com, which provides comprehensive coverage of the event including mini-match reports from every game played, photos and video. U.S. Soccer’s all_access video team was on site at the Women’s Friendlies in California last year, with Cat Whitehill interviewing players and highlights from Women’s Youth National Team matches, as well as select club matches, available at ussoccer.com.
Also providing daily features and highlights at the Nike Friendlies in Bradenton was Studio 90, the web show made popular during the 2006 World Cup and the 2007 Summer Tour. Players and passers-by were also able to send an online “Shout Out” to their friends back home, hang out with their teammates playing video games and vote for ussoccer.com’s “Best Of U.S. Soccer” awards in ussoccer.com’s “Clubhouse.”
U.S. Soccer will also be conducting a Referee Academy and Coaching Symposium in conjunction with the Men’s and Women’s Nike Friendlies, with details being finalized in the coming months.