Cooperation and Collaboration on Display as Development Academy U-14 Showcase Wraps Up Play

Cooperation and collaboration are a significant part of the success of the U.S. Soccer Development Academy and examples of that cooperation and collaboration were on full display on Friday's fourth day of the 2017 U.S. Soccer Development Academy Showcase and Playoffs.

The morning started with an Academy wide meeting, where over key club staff members including all Academy Directors, met with U.S. Soccer Development Academy medical, high performance and Youth National Team staff to layout key initiatives and areas of focus for the 2017-2018 season and the future. This collaboration of clubs, with members of the U.S. Soccer staff helping set the course for the strategy and vision of the Development Academy going forward, provides clubs with the opportunity to come together and continue to build relationships.

As play got underway, the cooperation of clubs, players, referees and the Development Academy staff was on full display as inclement weather forced changes to Friday's schedule. In the first U-14 Showcase feature game of the day, D.C. United defeated Pateadores, 2-1. In the second feature game of the day, Real Colorado and Orlando City SC played to a 2-2 draw with a number of U.S. Soccer staff and scouts in attendance, including U.S. Soccer Youth Technical Director Tab Ramos and U.S. Soccer Director of Talent Identification Tony Lepore.

While the weather may have caused a few minor changes to the day's schedule, it also provided players and clubs the opportunity to show their abilities to handle adversity and changing conditions while competing in an environment of meaningful games.

Friday's games also brought to a close the season for the Development Academy at the U-14 level. Since the 2016-2017 U-14 season kicked off on Sept. 3, 1253 games have been played and 514 (41%) have been scouted by U.S. Soccer staff. The average goals per game from the U-14 Academy year was 3.98. An important aspect of the Academy program is the opportunity for players that are ready to play up with the older age groups. As part of their individual development plans, a large percentage of U-14 eligible players played up an age group in at least one game during the 2016-2017 season.

SATURDAY PREVIEW

Looking ahead to Saturday's action, the U-15/16 and U-17/18 Playoffs once again come to the forefront as the second day of group stage play commences.

Saturday's U-15/16 feature game will match Capital Area Railhawks - CASL against Real So Cal at 3:30 p.m. in Group D. Both teams are coming off losses in the opening game and will be looking for a win to try to remain in contention to win the group. Oakwood Soccer Club and Bethesda SC will meet in the other game in Group D.

Elsewhere in the U-15/16 Playoffs, the 2015-16 champion, FC Dallas, meets New York City FC at 2:30 p.m. FC Dallas comes into the game tied with Crew SC Academy Wolves for the top spot in Group F with three points. New York City FC and Baltimore Armour are each looking for their first point in Group F.

In Group H, local rivals New York Red Bulls and BW Gottschee Academy will kickoff at 2:30 p.m. The Red Bulls come into the game with one point after tying Sockers FC in their opening game. Seattle Sounders FC leads Group H with three points after defeating BW Gottschee Academy.

The U-17/18 Playoffs feature game will showcase 2015-16 champion FC Dallas against Seattle Sounders FC at 6 p.m. Seattle Sounders FC is tied for the Group C lead on three points after defeating New York Red Bulls while FC Dallas will be looking for its first points of the playoffs after falling to Beachside Soccer Club in their opening game.

Group A leaders, Crossfire Premier and Weston FC, will meet on Saturday at 5:30 p.m. Weston FC defeated Bethesda SC, 2-0 in Thursday's opening game while Crossfire Premier won a high-scoring 5-2 game against New England Revolution.

The Group D leaders in the U-17/18 playoffs will also meet in Saturday's second game as Sockers FC and Texans SC Houston will kickoff at 5:30 p.m.

After a thrilling 3-0 victory in its opener, the hometown club, Indiana Fire, will play Pateadores at 6:30 p.m. Indiana Fire and Orlando City SC are tied at the top of Group G with three points while Pateadores and Players Development Academy will each try to earn their first points of the playoffs on Saturday.