GROUP PAIRINGS ANNOUNCED FOR 2017 U.S. SOCCER DEVELOPMENT ACADEMY PLAYOFFS

23 ACADEMY CLUBS QUALIFY FOR BOTH U-15/16 AND U-17/18 AGE GROUPS; 2016 ACADEMY CHAMPIONS FC DALLAS LOOK TO REPEAT IN BOTH AGE GROUPS; TEAMS BEGIN GROUP PLAY JUNE 22

CHICAGO (June 8, 2017) - The U.S. Soccer Development Academy conducted its 2016-17 Playoff draw on Wednesday, June 7, at Soccer House, U.S. Soccer's Chicago headquarters, with the qualified U-15/16 and U-17/18 teams drawn into eight groups of four teams each. The draw breakdown was posted live on the Development Academy Twitter and Instagram feeds (@ussoccer_acad). Teams from across the country will now prepare for the Academy Playoffs from June 22-26 at Grand Park in Westfield, Indiana.

Before the draw commenced, the top eight seeds from each age division were placed in Groups A through H, similar to the FIFA World Cup. Teams 9-32 were then drawn to fill out each group, according to seeds and division (teams could be placed back into their respective pot if drawn with a divisional opponent, resulting in a new selection). The complete playoffs draw for the U-15/16 and U-17/18 age groups is as follows:

The Group Stage of the 2017 Academy Playoffs, marks the opening stage of the Playoffs, featuring the top 32 teams from the U-15/16 and U-17/18 divisions based on the final standings of points-per-game-played average from the regular season. The Knockout Round quarterfinals follows from July 6-7, when the eight group winners will vie for one of four spots in the Academy semifinals, set to kickoff at the U.S. Soccer National Training Center in Carson, California on July 14 with the championship games to be played on July 16.

The Group Stage will be played in conjunction with the 2017 Summer Showcase, where 100 U-14 Academy clubs and the remaining 42 U-15/16 teams, which did not crack the top 32 playoff spots, will play three Showcase games. The Summer Showcase provides Academy teams meaningful games against a variety of competition from throughout the country. The event focuses on player, coach and referee development and also serves as a premier opportunity for talent identification.

In total, the Summer Showcase and Playoffs will feature 309 games at Grand Park from June 20-26, and the Development Academy will emphasize the quality of clubs and players with 12 Feature Games streamed live on ussoccerda.com and ussoccer.com. The matchups were selected to highlight competitive games and clubs that exemplify the Academy philosophy.

23 CLUBS QUALIFY FOR BOTH AGE GROUPS
Of 41 clubs to qualify, 23 Academy programs made the Playoffs for both age groups. This marks a record high for the number of programs to qualify for both age group tournaments.

Atlanta United

New York Red Bulls

Bethesda SC

Pateadores

Baltimore Armour

Philadelphia Union

Capital Area RailHawks - CASL

Players Development Academy

Chicago Fire

Real Salt Lake AZ

Colorado Rapids

Real So Cal

Crew SC Academy Wolves

Sacramento Republic FC

Crossfire Premier

Seattle Sounders FC

FC Dallas

Sockers FC

LA Galaxy

Sporting Kansas City

Montreal Impact FC

Vancouver Whitecaps FC

Weston FC

FC DALLAS LOOKING TO REPEAT
In 2016, M.L.S. side FC Dallas became the first Development Academy program to win the title for both age groups. 2016 also marked the club's second straight U-15/16 championship, a feat it will look to triple in 2017. FC Dallas' U-15/16 squad finished the 2016-17 season with the number one overall Playoff seed, going 21-2-2 and finishing with a 2.6 points-per-game-played average. The club's U-17/18 side enters the Academy Playoffs as the number six overall seed after finishing atop the Frontier Division, posting a 17-5-3 record and a 2.16 points-per-game-played average.

FC Dallas U-15/16 will need to get past Crew SC Academy Wolves, New York City FC and Baltimore Armour before even thinking about another piece of hardware while, the program's U-17/18 team faces New York Red Bulls, Seattle Sounders FC and Beachside Soccer Club in the Group Stage.

SUMMER SHOWCASE FEATURES WINTER SHOWCASE REMATCHES
A pair of games will be worth keeping an extra eye on: FC Dallas vs. New York Red Bulls U-17/18 and New York City FC vs. Crew SC Academy Wolves U-15/16.

Back in December, FC Dallas and New York Red Bulls settled for a 1-1 draw after an 88th minute set piece goal from FC Dallas forward Jesus Ferreira, who recently became the second youngest M.L.S. goal scorer, tied the game.

During their December spotlight game, a Giovanni Reyna penalty kick gave New York City FC a 1-0 win over Crew SC Academy Wolves in a hard-fought matchup.

M.L.S. DOUBLE HEADER
On day two of the Academy Playoffs, U-17/18 sides LA Galaxy and Sporting Kansas City will square off in Indiana. That same day, on June 24, LA Galaxy and Sporting Kansas City first teams will battle it out at StubHub Center in an M.L.S. Western Conference showdown.

FIRST EVER ALL-M.L.S. GROUP
For the first time in the history of the Academy Playoffs, a single four-team group has been drawn where all four teams are M.L.S. Academies. In U-15/16 Group C, M.L.S. Academies Vancouver Whitecaps FC, LA Galaxy, Philadelphia Union and Houston Dynamo will face off in what is anticipated to be a very challenging group.

U-17 MEN'S NATIONAL TEAM PLAYERS
After an impressive showing at the 2017 CONCACAF U-17 Championship, the U.S. Under-17 Men's National Team qualified for October's 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup in India. As the team continues its preparations for India, the squad's players have been training in their home environments with their Academy clubs. Keep an eye out on the following players from the CONCACAF roster, who will likely play in the 2017 Academy Payoffs:

M George Acosta, Weston FC
M Taylor Booth, Real Salt Lake
M Blaine Ferri, Solar Chelsea SC
D Chris Gloster, New York Red Bulls
F Zyen Jones, Atlanta United
D Jaylin Lindsey, Sporting Kansas City
F Bryan Reynolds, FC Dallas
D James Sands, New York City FC
F Josh Sargent, St. Louis Scott Gallagher Missouri
D AJ Vasquez, FC Golden State
M Indiana Vassilev, IMG Academy
M Adrian Villegas, Portland Timbers
D Akil Watts, IMG Academy

PAST AND FUTURE CHAMPIONS
With a total of 55 games played to decide the champions of each age group, all 32 participating clubs will look to etch their name on the prestigious Academy trophy.

At the U-15/16 level, past champions include Carmel United, Derby County Wolves, Chicago Fire, LA Galaxy, New York Red Bulls, Real Salt Lake AZ and FC Dallas. Both LA Galaxy and FC Dallas will be looking to raise their third cups.

At the U-17/18 age group, past champions include Baltimore Bays, Carmel United, Vardar, Pateadores, FC Dallas, New York Red Bulls, PDA and Chicago Fire.

See the full list of past U.S. Soccer Development Academy champions here.