The U.S. Soccer Development Academy announced today that it has signed a multi-year deal with the City of San Diego to host the Academy Summer Showcase and Playoffs in San Diego, beginning the summer of 2018. Next summer marks not only the first time the Summer Showcase and Playoffs will be held in San Diego, but will also be the first ever edition of the Girls’ Development Academy Summer Showcase and Playoffs as well.
“We chose San Diego for a simple reason: we want a world-class environment for our players,” U.S. Soccer Development Academy Director Jared Micklos said. “Everything about San Diego fits our criteria, from the amazing soccer venue, the temperate climate, to the impressive soccer support in the region.”
The San Diego Tourism Authority, San Diego Sports Alliance, City of San Diego and Surf Cup Sports have all partnered to hold future Academy events at the 104-acre SoCal Sports Complex in Oceanside and the 114-acre Surf Cup Sports Park (commonly known as The Polo Fields). Both venues are managed by Surf Cup Sports and also serve as host locations for prestigious tournaments such as Surf Cup, Copa Del Mar, Blues Cup and many more.
“We couldn’t be more proud to host the U.S. Soccer Development Academy Summer Showcase,” said Mike Connerley, Surf Cup Sports’ President and co-owner of the So Cal Sports Complex. “We’ve always been committed to promoting world-class soccer talent. The selection of our facilities as the location for the Development Academy’s signature events is truly a testament to everyone at Surf Cup Sports who has worked so hard to make this venue what it is today.”
This news comes on the eve of the 2017 Surf Cup, which kicks off this weekend across both venues, serves as yet more evidence that corroborates San Diego’s status as a soccer city. Earlier this week, MLS aspirants FS Investors, who are spearheading the SoccerCity held a press conference at the Polo Fields to launch their #WaitForSD campaign, and cited many of the same reasons that the United States Soccer Federation has for why San Diego is such a compelling soccer destination.
“The decision by U.S. Soccer to bring its prestigious Summer Showcase to our city confirms what many of us already know — that San Diego is one of the premiere soccer regions in America,” said Nick Stone, project manager of the SoccerCity proposal. “We congratulate everyone who worked to make this happen, from the mayor’s office to Surf Cup to the Tourism Authority.”
San Diego continues to distinguish itself as one of America’s leading soccer cities. The enthusiasm for soccer here is unparalleled and having US Soccer make a commitment of this level continues to prove that. We are excited to help soccer continue to grow and there’s no better place to do so than in America’s Finest City. – Landon Donovan
Jason Gerlach, co-owner of SoCal Surf, a Premier Development League team that serves as a final finishing school for talented players looking to transition into careers as professional players, weighed in with his thoughts as well. “It’s a great announcement and not surprising at all. It demonstrates clearly what the San Diego community can do when people with different interests come together for the collective good of making San Diego the soccer epicenter it can and should be. Everything is indeed here in San Diego – weather, talent, facilities, fan interest…and more.”
“It’s why my firm and I got involved with NC Battalion/SoCal Surf, it’s why we’ve been such strong supporters of youth soccer, and it’s why we continue to explore ways to further elevate the game here in San Diego at both the amateur and professional levels. The challenges posed to Soccer City have been disappointing for everyone but today’s announcement shows that over time, sensibility will prevail and top-tier soccer will eventually reign here in San Diego. I look forward to being part of it.”
With the Great Expansion Era of American soccer hitting an all time high this year, long-term investments in the infrastructure needed to support the ever-increasing demand for highly skilled American players are not only vital, but mandatory in order for our soccer nation to compete at a world level.