ROCKFORD, Ill. (May 25, 2008) - Another 30 games went in the books at the U.S. Soccer Development Academy Spring Showcase on Sunday, with Monday featuring a full slate of 62 games -- the busiest day yet in the Academy’s inaugural season.
The Development Academy and its showcase events provide a quality scouting environment for U.S. National Team coaches to identify and evaluate young talent and build the player pool through the U.S. U-17 Residency Program and other Youth National Team programming.
“We’re going to meet and talk about some of the games we have seen and some of the players that have risen a little bit above the others,” said Development Academy Director of Scouting Dave Sarachan. “We’re beginning that process of tracking who we think has done well both individually as well as team-wise.”
The scouts also review the overall play of each team and provide feedback directly to the teams on an ongoing basis, which also includes improving the overall level of coaching that the players receive.
“The other piece to this is that every team that has been seen will be getting feedback. They are going to get an evaluation of the game that they’ve played in from the scout that has been at the game. That is valuable for all the coaches and clubs to get feedback not just from one coach but from a variety of coaches over the four or five days.”
Formerly the head coach of the Chicago Fire and a U.S. MNT assistant coach, Sarachan heads up the Development Academy scouts, 20 of which are in attendance at the 2008 Spring Showcase, including former and current National Team and National Staff coaches from every level as well as full time scouts who follow the Academy on a weekly basis. Some of the scouts in attendance include former U.S. MNT head coach Bob Gansler, former MLS players Raul Diaz Arce and Bo Oshoniyi, YNT coaches Jim Barlow and Manny Schellscheidt as well as numerous other collegiate and U.S. soccer coaches.
“The full time scouts cover a particular region of the country but in this case with the Showcase we have the ability to branch out and see some of the other teams and get a measure of where they are at,” Sarachan said. “Having everyone here is a bonus, and it adds a little bit of diversity to the players on the teams that we get to see on a more regular basis.”
The Spring Showcase has more than 150 college and professional scouts on hand with a chance to evaluate more than 2,000 of the best young soccer players in the country.
Many Academy players have already been invited into National Team training camps, and currently 14 of the 18 players with the Under-18 MNT at the Lisbon International Tournament in Portugal come from Academy clubs. Earlier this spring, four Academy players were part of an Under-20 MNT training camp in England.
The Academy also gives the U.S. Under-17 Residency coaching staff and other scouts a chance to repeatedly evaluate players being considered for the program in a consistent environment against the top national competition via the weekly Academy schedule and showcases.
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, log on to ussoccer.com.