The 2014 Development Academy Winter Showcase opens with the U-18 age group kicking things off Saturday, Nov. 29, at the Premier Sports Campus in Lakewood Ranch, Florida.
The Winter Showcase has become a staple in the Academy calendar over the years as the U-16 and U-18 age groups look forward to three competitive matches against out-of-conference opponents. Players will also compete with the watchful eyes of the U.S. Scouting Network, which will be in attendance and evaluate all games.
The U-18 Academy teams will play Nov. 29 and 30 and Dec. 2. The Academy’s U-16 group competes on Nov. 30, Dec. 1 and 3.
The event also features a Development Academy Select match on Monday, Dec. 1, featuring players born in 1998 and 1999 (kickoff at 5 p.m. ET). Two 18-player rosters, handpicked by U.S. Soccer Technical Advisors and Youth National Team staff, will compete against each other with the goal of catching a few eyes to further their play.
Some recent examples of Academy players who have catapulted themselves from the Select Game into regular Youth National Team consideration are Minnesota Thunder Academy alum Jackson Yueill, who has featured regularly with the U.S. Under-18 Men’s National Team, and Lonestar product McKinze Gaines. Gaines is tied with Haji Wright for the most international appearances with the U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team this year with 19 caps.
The Academy Winter Showcase runs in conjunction with the 2014 Nike International Friendlies, which features the U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team. The USA will face England (Nov. 28), Australia (Nov. 30) and Brazil (Dec. 2) at 6 p.m. ET. All six games at the Nike International Friendlies will be streamed live on ussoccer.com. The USA matchups are preceded by a 3 p.m. ET game that includes Australia vs. Brazil (Nov. 28), Brazil vs. England (Nov. 30) and England vs. Australia (Dec. 2).
Among the many intriguing Academy Showcase matchups, on Sunday, Nov. 30, the U-18 age group features two currently unbeaten sides in the Atlantic Division-leading New York Red Bulls (8-0-2) and Northwest Division frontrunner Vancouver Whitecaps FC (11-0-0). When the U-16s open play earlier that day, one highly anticipated game includes the Northeast Division’s first-place BW Gottschee Academy (7-1-3) against Arsenal FC (8-3-2), which is currently second in the Southwest Division behind defending U-16 national champion LA Galaxy.
For the latest Development Academy results, information and more, visit academy.demosphere.com andussoccer.com’s Academy section. Follow the Academy on Twitter@ussoccer_acad, Instagram and Facebook, using the #AcademyShowcase, #OneNationOneTeam and #1N1T hashtags.