Five Things to Know: Development Academy Winter Showcase

Beginning Wednesday, players from 74 U.S. Soccer Development Academy Member Clubs will descend on Lakewood Ranch, Fla., for the 2016 U.S. Soccer Development Academy Winter Showcase.

Here are five things you should know about one of the U.S. Soccer Development Academy's premier annual events.

What it is

Entering its 10th year of existence, the U.S. Soccer Development Academy Winter Showcase brings all 74 full Academies together for a series of games at Premier Sports Campus in Lakewood Rnch, Fla. from Dec. 1-5.

The event gives the U-15/16 and U-17/18 teams in each Member Club three competitive games apiece against opposition they wouldn't normally play during their regionalized Development Academy regular season. The crossover games are selected based on quality, style of play, home location and other factors to ensure the most meaningful games. The results count towards the overall regular season standings as part of a 10-month season that culminates with the Academy Championships at the National Training Center in Carson, CA.

A Place to Be Seen

With 219 games taking place over the course of five days, the Development Academy Winter Showcase offers ample opportunity for talent identification.

On the Development Academy side, each game is scouted and evaluated by a U.S. Soccer Technical Advisor or Scout, while the Federation's entire Youth National Team staff is on site for talent identification opportunities for future camps.

The Winter Showcase is a prime spot for college recruiting with over 400 scouts pre-registered for the 2016 event, hailing from all NCAA Divisions (250+ from Division 1 schools), with additional domestic and foreign professional clubs are scheduled to attend.

Featured Games Streamed Live

Can't make it to Florida for the event? Check it out online, as the U.S. Soccer Development Academy has expanded its coverage this year to feature six prime matchups live streamed through the DA Facebook Page and U.S. Soccer YouTube Channel.

Check out the schedule below. Links will be made available 24 hours prior to kick-off on www.usssoccerda.com and on twitter @ussoccer_acad.

Age Group

Date

Matchup

Time (ET)

U-17/18

Dec. 1

Lonestar SC Academy (TX) vs. Sacramento Republic FC

12:00 p.m.

U-17/18

Dec. 1

New York Red Bulls vs. FC Dallas

2:30 p.m.

U-15/16

Dec. 3

Weston FC (FL) vs. Vardar (MI)

12:00 p.m.

U-15/16

Dec. 3

Real Salt Lake AZ vs. Atlanta United FC

2:15 p .m.

U-15/16

Dec. 5

New York City FC vs. Crew SC Academy Wolves (MI)

9 a.m.

U-15/16

Dec. 5

Seattle Sounders FC vs. Crew SC Academy (OH)

11:15 a.m.

Academy Director Course

Prior to the start of the Winter Showcase, the U.S. Soccer Development Academy is hosting a module of the course as part of a 12-month program to further the development of some of the top Academy Directors from around the country.

Participants in the course benefit from the opportunity to work with other Academy leaders and receive practical experience and engage in meaningful discussion around all aspects of the process of developing an Academy Club. The course will aim to have Academy Directors build their leadership roles on and off the field at their respective clubs and become a coach not only of players, but of coaches in their own organizations.

Partnering with Nike International Friendlies

The Winter Showcase runs concurrently with the long-standing Nike International Friendlies, a round-robin tournament which the U.S. U-17 MNT has hosted since 2002. Having seen a host of great players from around the world play in the tournament, the combined event highlights the cohesion between the Development Academy Member Clubs and the Youth National Teams.

This year, the U.S. U-17s face off with Portugal (Nov. 30; 7 p.m. ET), Turkey (Dec. 2; 7 p.m. ET) and Brazil (Dec. 4; 5 p.m. ET). Like the six featured matches at the Development Academy Winter Showcase, all six Nike International Friendlies matches will also be streamed via Facebook and YouTube.

Click here for more information on this year's Nike International Friendlies.