CHICAGO (March 18, 2014) – The U.S. Soccer Development Academy has changed the 2013-14 Academy postseason, creating an elimination format for Under-15/16 and Under-17/18 age groups.
The Academy postseason will consist of a knockout round, semifinals and final. The semifinal and final round will be held July 17 and 19 at U.S. Soccer’s National Training Center in Carson, Calif.
The previous format included a Finals Week of four games in seven days – three group matches, followed by a placement game based on the two group standings.
“Throughout the Academy, the clubs are applying performance driven standards on a more consistent basis, which has been a positive development over the past seven years,” said Development Academy Director of Scouting Tony Lepore. “Because of this fact, we feel there is less of a need to replicate our Youth National Team approach during these final matches of the year. The knockout-round structure will be more beneficial to the players and clubs, and we’re looking forward to implementing this new postseason setup to cap off the 2013-14 Academy season.”
The 2013-14 postseason will include the same Academy Playoffs and Showcase setup as in years past, and will take place from June 23-27 at Grand Park in Westfield, Ind., located just north of Indianapolis. The top 32 teams based on points per game will be placed into eight groups of four. Teams that do not qualify for the Academy Playoffs will be placed in the Showcase bracket and also play three matches during the June 23-27 week in Westfield, Ind.
“We are excited to be able to host such a reputable organization in just the first year of Grand Park,” said Westfield Mayor Andy Cook. “I know Grand Park is in a class of its own for youth sports, and U.S. Soccer’s involvement here with the Academy Playoffs shows that they have faith in our top-quality facility and what Westfield has to offer.”
Once the top eight teams are determined following the Academy Playoffs, they will be seeded based on their regular-season points-per-game average. The higher-seeded team will host a knockout-round game on July 7 or 9, with the winners advancing to the semifinals in Carson, Calif.
Knockout-round games will include the following seeded matchups: No. 1 vs. 8, No. 2 vs. 7, No. 3 vs. 6 and No. 4 vs. 5 in both the U-15/16 and U-17/18 age groups. Home teams are responsible for providing the home field, and U.S. Soccer will cover the travel expenses for the road team.
In addition to the U-15/16 and U-17/18 postseasons, the inaugural 2013-14 Academy season for the U-13/14 age group will also be part of the June 13-16 Academy Showcase in Westfield, Ind. Following that event, the Academy technical staff will reward the top U-13/14 team by sending the club to the 2014 Manchester United Premier Cup World Finals.
For the latest Development Academy results and standings, visit academy.demosphere.com.