FIVE THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT THE DEVELOPMENT ACADEMY EAST REGIONAL SHOWCASE

This weekend brings the second major event of the 2017-18 Development Academy season: the Boys' East Regional Showcase in Advance, North Carolina from Oct. 27 to 29. Here are five things you need to know about the upcoming gathering of 34 clubs from the nation's highest level of youth soccer.

WHAT IS THE SHOWCASE?

Development Academy showcase events bring together clubs from all over the country to compete in a series of highly-competitive, hand-picked games. The Fall Showcases are the first events for players in the Academy pathway, catering to the U-13 and U-14 age groups. Showcase events are also held in the Winter, Spring and Summer, but the Fall events are the only ones that put younger age groups solely in the spotlight.

Three showcases serve the three regional conferences: Central, East and West. The Central Showcase ran last weekend, Oct. 20 to 22, in Frisco, Texas while the West wraps things up Nov. 3 to 5 in Oceanside, Calif.

WHO PLAYS IN IT?

Fourty-four clubs from four of the five East Conference Academy divisions - Metro (New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania), Northeast (New York, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Massachusetts), North Atlantic (Virginia, Pennsylvania, D.C., Maryland) and South Atlantic (Georgia, North Carolina) - will compete at the Regional Showcase. Over 1,700 players will descend upon Advance, while nearly 175 coaches will guide them through their three games in the only Academy event squarely focused on younger players.

Six clubs affiliated with MLS sides will attend the East Regional Showcase: New York Red Bulls, Philadelphia Union, New England Revolution, New York City FC, D.C. United and Atlanta United FC.

HOW DOES IT WORK?

Teams will play three games during the Showcase: two mini games and one full-length game. The mini-games consist of 25-minute halves while U-13 full-length games are 70 minutes and U-14 full-length games are 80 minutes.

Games begin at 12:00 p.m. ET on Friday, Oct. 27 and the final round of games kick off at 11:00 a.m. ET on Sunday, Oct. 29.

Games at Showcase events are hand-picked by Academy technical staff to ensure the most competitive match-ups. The mini-games provide a variety of competition, allowing for player rotation and a unique opportunity to evaluate players in a condensed game format. All games will be played at BB&T Soccer Park in Advance, N.C. which is about a two-hour drive west from Cary's WakeMed Soccer Park, home of the NWSL's N.C. Courage and the NASL's North Carolina FC.

EARLY TALENT IDENTIFICATION

Academy Showcase events have become a haven for scouts, from U.S. Soccer as well as from the professional and collegiate ranks. Ninety-two percent of Men's Youth National Team players during the 2016-17 cycle came from Development Academy clubs. Every game at the Showcase will be scouted by Development Academy Technical Advisors and U.S. Soccer scouts.

Eighteen of the twenty-one players from the U.S. Under-17 National Team's FIFA U-17 World Cup roster come from Development Academy clubs. The U-17s wrapped up an impressive run in India last week, recording notable wins against host India (3-0) and Ghana (1-0) in the group stage and Paraguay (5-0) in the Round of 16, before falling to England (4-1) in the quarterfinals. Many of the players were identified through Academy events like the Regional Showcases.

HOW TO FOLLOW

The Academy will live-stream eight games over the course of the weekend on ussoccerda.com, highlighted by three MLS showdowns.

Date Matchup Time (ET)
Oct. 28 New York Soccer Club U-13 vs. United Futbol Academy U-13 4:05 p.m.
Oct. 28 Concorde Fire U-13 vs. Players Development Academy U-13 4:05 p.m.
Oct. 28 Southern Soccer Academy U-13 vs. New York Red Bulls U-13 6:00 p.m.
Oct. 28 Cedar Stars Academy - Bergen U-13 vs. Baltimore Armour U-13 6:00 p.m.
Oct. 29 New England Revolution U-14 vs. D.C. United U-14 9:00 a.m.
Oct. 29 FC Greater Boston Bolts U-14 vs. North Carolina FC Youth North U-14 9:00 a.m.
Oct. 29 New York Red Bulls U-14 vs. New York City FC U-14 11:00 a.m.
Oct. 29 Atlanta United FC U-14 vs. Philadelphia Union U-14 11:00 a.m.

For updates throughout the weekend, follow the Academy on Facebook and @ussoccer_acad on Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat. Schedules and event-related news can be found on ussoccerda.com.