Development Academy Winter Showcase Kicks Off in Lancaster, Calif., as Teams Arrive From Across The Country
LANCASTER, Calif. (Dec. 4, 2008) – The Development Academy Winter Showcase kicked off at the Lancaster National Soccer Center in Lancaster, Calif., with the Los Angeles Galaxy and North Meck playing the first of 220 total matches that will be contested during the five-day long event.
Thursday night’s two matches set the stage, but the Showcase will be in full force from Friday, Dec. 5 to Monday, Dec. 8, as 148 Development Academy teams representing 74 clubs, as well as the U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team and the U-17 squads from Australia and Brazil, will play the most competitive youth games in the country.
Fox Soccer Channel will televise three U-17 Men's National Team games live during the weekend. The U.S. goes up against Brazil on Friday, Dec. 5 at 11:30 a.m. PT. That same day, the U.S., which will split into two squads over the weekend, will also host Australia 2 p.m. PT.
Two days later, the U.S. will retake the field against Brazil on Sunday, Dec. 7, with the game televised live on FSC at 2 p.m. PT. In total, five international games will take place over the weekend. Matches not televised include the U.S. taking on Australia on Dec. 7 at 11:30 a.m. PT and Australia facing off with Brazil on Monday, Dec. 8 at 1 p.m. PT.
Professional scouts from around the world and hundreds of college scouts are anticipated to attend the event to view some of the nation’s top prospects from the Under-15/16 and Under-17/18 age groups. The head coaches from all of U.S. Soccer’s Youth National teams and additional members of the National Team scouting network will watch and evaluate all 240 games played over the long weekend.
The Winter Showcase will also feature some of the nation’s top young referees, who will be working under the guidance and instruction of the U.S. Soccer Referee Department Staff. Officials from Major League Soccer and some professional referees will also be working games and mentoring the younger referees.
U.S. Soccer will continue to provide a technically driven environment, including SPARQ testing for all athletes and Gatorade hydration testing for select teams. All games will be videotaped and distributed to the teams and ProZone will analyze teams to provide additional objective feedback for coaches and players.
The Academy Winter Showcase will also provide a platform for coaching development. College and Academy coaches are invited to attend a SPARQ Strength Training Seminar led by Paul Winsper, a Goalkeeper Coaching Symposium led by Under-20 Men’s National Team Assistant Coach Tim Mulqueen and Scouting Symposia with National Team Scouts.