FRISCO, Texas (Feb. 14, 2008) – The U.S. Soccer Development Academy will host its first Winter Showcase this weekend from February 17-18 at Pizza Hut Park in Frisco, Texas. A total of 88 teams representing 44 clubs from across the country will descend on Pizza Hut Park to play in 88 games on Sunday and Monday.
Scores of college coaches will be in attendance from across the country scouting some of the nation’s best young talent. Also in attendance will be U.S. Men’s National Team head coach Bob Bradley, Under-20 MNT head coach Thomas Rongen, newly appointed Director of Development Academy Scouting Dave Sarachan and Under-17 MNT assistant coach and former FC Dallas player and coach Oscar Pareja.
The Showcase will be the first taste of the full Development Academy experience for many of Major League Soccer’s youth clubs, including the Chicago Fire, Colorado Rapids, Columbus Crew, D.C. United and New York Red Bulls.
The games will be officiated by the area’s top referees, who will be joined by three members of U.S. Soccer’s Full-Time Referee Program. Jair Marrufo, Ricardo Salazar and Terry Vaughn will be on hand to mentor and teach up-and-coming referees, and will each be working two games over the course of the weekend.
U.S. Soccer will be providing a players’ lounge that will include TVs, video games, snacks and drinks. Gatorade will be on site providing teams with product and information on remaining hydrated. Each team will be supplied with game balls from Nike.
Ussoccer.com will also be on hand to provide full coverage of the weekend’s events, including Studio 90, all_access video and match highlights.
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 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 second 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.