FIVE THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT THE 2018 U.S. SOCCER DEVELOPMENT ACADEMY WINTER SHOWCASE

By Marc Serber

After 82 clubs contested over 200 games during the boys' portion of the 2018 U.S. Soccer Development Academy Winter Showcase, the girls take center stage at the event's second week. From Dec. 5 to 9, 66 Girls' Academy clubs will come together at the Premier Sports Campus in Lakewood Ranch, Fla

Here are five things to know about one of the Development Academy's premier annual events:

WHAT IS THE WINTER SHOWCASE?

Entering its 12th year of existence, the Development Academy Winter Showcase brings all full Academies together for a series of games at the Premier Sports Campus in Lakewood Ranch, Florida from Nov. 29-Dec 3.

The event gives three competitive games to every attending team against opposition that they wouldn't normally face during week-to-week divisional play in the regular season. Team at the U-15, U-16, U-16/17 and U-18/19 age groups will take the field during the girls' portion of the Showcase. The Girls' U-16 age group is a pilot program composed of teams from the Southwest and Frontier divisions. The Boys' U-16/17 and U-18/19 age groups traveled to the event last week.

Games at Showcase events are hand-selected based on level of opposition, style of play, location and other factors to ensure the most meaningful competition. The results count towards the overall regular season standings as part of a 10-month campaign that culminates with the Academy Championships next July.

THE FIELDS HAVE EYES…

With 558 games taking place over the course of 12 days, the Winter Showcase offers ample opportunity for talent identification.

Each game is scouted and evaluated by U.S. Soccer's Talent Identification department, while the majority of the Federation's Youth National Team staff is on-site to scour the Premier Sports Campus for future YNT call-ups. Over the course of the event, there will be a total of 44 scouts, six Talent Identification managers, two Talent Identification directors as well as Talent Identification support staff on-hand at the Premier Sports Campus.

The Winter Showcase is also a prime spot for college recruiting, with over 400 scouts already pre-registered for the 2018 event.

FEATURE GAMES STREAMED LIVE

Can't make it to Florida for the event? Check it out online, as the U.S. Soccer Development Academy will bring you feature games every day. These marquee match-ups will be broadcast live through ussoccerda.com, the Development Academy Facebook page, the Development Academy Twitter and U.S. Soccer's YouTube channel.

Girls' Feature Games

Age Group

Date

Match-up

Time (ET)

U-15

Dec. 5

Reign Academy vs. Nationals

2:30 p.m.

U-16/17

Dec. 6

Midwest United FC vs. NC Courage

11:00 a.m.

U-15

Dec. 6

Legends FC vs. Real Colorado

1:30 p.m.

U-16/17

Dec. 8

Oakwood Soccer Club vs. Crossfire Premier

1:15 p.m.

U-18/19

Dec. 8

NEFC vs. Real So Cal

3:30 p.m.

Boys Feature Games

Age Group

Date

Match-up/Result

U-18/19

Nov. 29

Sacramento Republic 4, Richmond United 1

U-18/19

Nov. 29

Real Colorado 3, Pateadores 1

U-16/17

Dec. 1

Sockers FC 2, Atlanta United FC 1

U-16/17

Dec. 1

FC Dallas 3, D.C. United 0

U-16/17

Dec. 3

New England Revolution 1, Seattle Sounders FC 1


ACADEMY DIRECTORS COURSE AND OTHER EDUCATIONAL OPPERTUNITIES

Prior to the start of the Winter Showcase, the U.S. Soccer will host a module of the Academy Directors course as part of a 12-month program to further the development of some of the country's top Academy Directors. For the first time ever, this course is open to Academy Directors on the girls' side.

Participants in the course benefit from the opportunity to work with Academy leaders, receive practical experience and engage in meaningful discussion around all aspects of developing an Academy club. Experts lead discussions on teaching leadership, periodization, mentoring and Youth National Teams. The course aims 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 organization.

Additionally, the Winter Showcase serves as an opportunity to highlight the integration of the entire Federation. With over 300 of the nation's top referees attending the event, U.S. Soccer's referee programs will offer classes, while U.S. Soccer coaching education will offer further learning opportunities. The Federation's medical department will have more recovery tents than at any previous Showcase event and U.S. Soccer is working closely with StatSports to pilot new tracking and data initiatives.

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. Soccer has hosted since 2001.

Last year brought the first edition of the Women's Nike International Friendlies, hosted by the U.S. Under-20 Women's National Team. The U-20s will kick off the 2019-20 U-20 World Cup cycle at this year's event, facing France on Dec. 7 at 6:30 p.m. ET and China on Dec. 9 at 6:30 p.m. ET. Both games will be streamed live on ussoccer.com, U.S. Soccer's Facebook page, Twitter and the U.S. Soccer YouTube channel.

The U.S. U-17 Men's National Team competed at the Nike International Friendlies last week against Portugal, Turkey and Brazil. The USA earned a result in each game of the tournament, finishing second behind Portugal.

U-17 MNT Results - 2018 Nike International Friendlies

Nov. 28

USA vs. Portugal

D 1-1

Nov. 30

USA vs. Turkey

W 1-0

Dec. 2

USA vs. Brazi

D 1-1

A long list of great players from around the world have taken part in the Nike Friendlies, and the event's run during the Winter Showcase highlights the cohesion between the Development Academy and the Youth National Team program.