FIVE THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT THE 2017 BOYS' WINTER SHOWCASE

Beginning Thursday, players from 76 U.S. Soccer Boys' Development Academy Clubs will descend on Lakewood Ranch, Fla., for the 2017 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 Is It?

Entering its 11th year of existence, the U.S. Soccer Boys' Development Academy Winter Showcase brings all full Academies together for a series of games at Premier Sports Campus in Lakewood Ranch, Fla. from Nov. 30-Dec. 4.

The event gives the U-16/17 and U-18/19 teams from each Member Club three competitive games apiece against opposition they wouldn't normally face during divisional play in the regular season. The crossover games are selected based on level of resistance, style of play, 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 next July.

Additionally, this year's Boys' event will be followed by the first U.S. Soccer Girls' Development Academy Winter Showcase, running from Dec. 6-10 in Lakewood Ranch.

A Place to Be Seen

With 228 games taking place over the course of five days, the U.S. Soccer Boys' 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 also 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 2017 event, hailing from all NCAA Divisions (250+ from Division 1 schools), with additional domestic and foreign professional clubs 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 Development Academy 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.ussoccerda.com and on twitter @ussoccer_acad.

Age Group

Date

Matchup

Time (ET)

U-18/19

Nov. 30

Strikers FC vs. FC Greater Boston Bolts

11 a.m.

U-18/19

Nov. 30

Colorado Rapids vs. Crossfire Premier

2 p.m.

U-16/17

Dec. 2

Philadelphia Union vs. Seattle Sounders FC

11 a.m.

U-16/17

Dec. 2

FC Golden State vs. Sockers FC

2 p.m.

U-16/17

Dec. 4

Pateadores vs. Chargers Soccer Club

9 a.m.

U-16/17

Dec. 4

FC Dallas vs. New York City FC

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. This week features experts leading discussions on: teaching, leadership, periodization, mentoring and Youth National Teams. 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 Boys' Development Academy 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 long list 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 England (Nov. 29; 7 p.m. ET), Netherlands (Dec. 1; 7 p.m. ET) and Brazil (Dec. 3; 5 p.m. ET). Like the six featured games at the Development Academy Winter Showcase, all six Nike International Friendlies games will also be streamed via Facebook and YouTube.

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