U.S. Soccer News: U.S. Soccer Development Academy Winter Showcase Wrap Up
Across the Youth Soccer Academy highlighting Academy clubs, current and former players, and youth national team activity.
WINTER SHOWCASE RECAP: With 242 games played between Dec. 1 and Dec. 7, the 2010 Development Academy Winter Showcase and Nike International Friendlies are now over. Nearly 3,000 soccer players played on the 18 lighted fields at the Reach 11 Sports Complex in Phoenix. There were more than 350 coaches representing the national teams, professional clubs and colleges in attendance and all three U.S. Soccer full-time referees were on hand to work closely with up-and-coming Academy referees.
Though not directly tied to the Development Academy, U.S. Soccer Training Centers are another exciting new program in player identification. Training Centers, which are cost-free for participants, are open to boys and girls across the country by invitation. Run by Technical Advisors, the Training Centers offer a unique opportunity for some of the best players in an area to come together and participate in a training session. U.S. Soccer Director of Scouting Tony Lepore explains the purpose of the new program.
NIKE FRIENDLIES SUMMARY: The U.S. U17 Men’s National Team finished the 2010 Nike International Friendlies with a 2-0 loss to tournament champion Turkey. Goals on either side of halftime from Ahmet Yilmaz Calik and Enver Cenk Sahin were enough to give Turkey the win and seven points from three games. With the loss against Turkey, the U.S. finished in third place with a 1-1-1 record, which included a 2-1 opening win against Korea Republic and a hard-fought scoreless draw with Brazil in their second match. Brazil finished second with one win and two draws and Korea Republic finished in fourth place with three losses.
INTERNATIONAL FRIENDLIES UPDATE: Sunday will mark the final day of international games at the 2010 Nike International Friendlies as Brazil will battle Korea Republic at 4 p.m. ET (2 p.m. MT) and the USA faces Turkey with a chance to win the tournament championship at 7 p.m. ET (5 p.m. MT). The U.S. game against Turkey will be televised live on Fox Soccer Channel. Though the Nike International Friendlies date back to 2003, this is the first time the event is being played as a tournament and crowning a champion, and should the U.S. beat Turkey they will win the inaugural title. U.S. Men's National Team forward Edson Buddle visited the Winter Showcase ahead of the U17 MNT match against Turkey on Sunday evening. He and U20 MNT head coach Thomas Rongen addressed the crowd gathered for the match and discussed Buddle’s rise to the Men's National Team and his experiences in South Africa.
SELECT TEAMS SHONE ON SATURDAY: Aspiring national team players took to the Showcase field at the 2010 U.S. Soccer Development Academy Winter Showcase in a pair of featured matches. A pool of players from Academy teams in each age group were divided into two teams, Red and Blue, and played in front of an audience of U.S. National Team coaches and scouts as well as college coaches and their teammates. In the older age group (born in 1992 or 1993), Cal Odyssey’s Vilyan Bijev scored the game's three goals in a 3-0 victory for Red against Blue. In the younger age group (born in 1994 or 1995), Nick Tobias of St. Louis Scott Gallagher Metro scored the game-winning goal in the 73rd minute as Red was victorious once again.
ACADEMY ALUMNI NEWS:
Four Former Academy Players Named Hermann Semifinalists: The Missouri Athletic Club has announced the semifinalists for the 2010 Hermann Award. The list includes four Academy alums in Will Bruin (Indiana - St. Louis Scott (Gallagher - Missouri), Matt Kassel (Maryland - New York Red Bulls), Ryan Kinne (Monmouth - Seacoast United) and Darlington Nagbe (Akron - Internationals). Former winners of the award, which is the most prestigious individual award in college soccer, include Alexi Lalas, Tony Meola and current U.S. Soccer Youth Technical Director Claudio Reyna.
ACADEMY IN THE NEWS:
FIND OUT WHAT IT MEANS: Team captains are meeting with U.S. Soccer Youth Technical Director Claudio Reyna during the weekend to talk about the Respect initiative. Development Academy coaches and players are encouraged to create the best possible learning environment by respecting themselves, teammates, coaches, referees and the game. The team captains were issued special armbands with RESPECT sewn in.