The Development Academy Winter Showcase took place in Lakewood Ranch, Florida between December 6-10. The event gave the U15, U16/17 and U18/19 teams from each Academy Club three competitive games against opposition outside of normal league play.
The Winter Showcase was an ideal opportunity for college recruiting with over 300 college coaching staff pre-registered for the 2017 event representing colleges from across the country which included over 200+ from NCAA Division I schools.
With 315 games taking place over the course of five days, the U.S. Soccer Girls’ Development Academy Winter Showcase offered first class opportunities for talent identification. Each game was scouted and evaluated by a U.S. Soccer Technical Advisor or Scout, while the U.S. Federation’s entire Youth National Team Staff was on site for talent identification opportunities to evaluate current YNT pool players as well as potential players for future camps.
Since the start of the inaugural Girls’ Development Academy season in September 2017, 70% of the players that have been called into the Women’s Youth National Team camps are rostered full-time in the Girls’ Academy Clubs.
Another benefit of the event was the integration of the Winter Showcase and the Nike Friendlies. The event marked the first time the Women’s Nike International Friendlies took place in conjunction with the Girls’ Development Academy Winter Showcase. The Women’s Nike International Friendlies was a round-robin tournament which featured the U.S. U20 WNT and the U20 WNT’s of Brazil, England and Finland. The combined events highlighted the cohesion between the Development Academy Member Clubs, Youth National Teams and over 300 academic institutions.
The Development Academy showcase events bring together clubs from all over the country to compete in a series of highly-competitive, hand-picked games. The Fall Regional Showcases are the first events for players in the Academy pathway, catering to the U-13 and U-14 age groups. Showcase events are also held in the Winter, Spring and Summer. The Fall events put younger age groups solely in the spotlight.
“The Development Academy Regional Showcase provides an early stage for our U13’s and U14’s. It gives them experience in the early stages of their development on a national platform, against national competition.” Brian Cvilikas, 04B Head Coach.
The Central Conference Boys Regional Showcase brought in thirty-four teams from three conferences, the Mid-America (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, and Ohio), Frontier (Texas), and Sunshine (Florida). Ten clubs affiliated with MLS sides attended the Showcase: Chicago Fire, Crew SC Academy, Crew SC Academy Wolves, FC Dallas, Houston Dynamo, Houston Dynamo Youth, Indiana Fire Academy, Minnesota United FC, Orlando City SC and Sporting Kansas City. Teams played three games during the Showcase. Games at Showcase events are hand-picked by Academy staff to ensure the most competitive match-ups.
Academy Showcase events have become a haven for scouts from US Soccer as well as from the professional and collegiate ranks. Ninety-two percent of Men’s Youth National Team players during the 2016-17 cycle came from Development Academy clubs. Every game at the Showcase will be scouted by Development Academy Technical Advisors and US Soccer scouts. Eighteen of the twenty-one players on the US U17 National Team at the ongoing FIFA U-17 World Cup come from Development Academy clubs.
While the Showcase moves the U-13 and U-14 players through the early steps of the talent identification pipeline, the trip / event also contributes a progression in their player development pathway. A longer journey means that it’s one of the first times that players are on the road without their parents, giving them a chance for team-building and a taste of growing to be a pro.
“We played competition from Florida, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio. The event and competition provided great scouting opportunities and development for our players both on and off the field.” Brian Cvilikas, 04B Head Coach.
The Houston Dash Girls Development Academy hit the road to open up their season league play in the newly formed Girls Development Academy in Kansas City competing against two very competitive clubs in Sporting Blue Valley and FC Kansas City. The Houston Dash Youth Soccer Club is the only club in Houston which offers the highest level of competitive soccer in the country for female youth players.
A team of boys born in 2004 recently traveled to Guadalajara, Mexico for an international youth soccer event. The event, Copa Chivas 2017, was hosted by the professional club Club Deportivo Guadalajara or more commonly known as Chivas Guadalajara. Chivas Guadalajara were recently crowned champions of Liga MX, Mexico’s top division for professional soccer.
The event is endorsed by the Mexico Federation of soccer and drew top teams from the US and Central America. Clubs from the US included FC Dallas, Houston Dynamo, San Diego Surf and Slammers FC. International clubs included Chivas, Pumas, Tigres, Monterrey and Santos Elite.
Copa Chivas 2017 provided high level competition that saw our ’04 Boys compile a record of 1-2-1 over the four matches. The team played against Seleccion Cordica from Guadalajara, Marval FC from Los Mochis, Sinaloa and Santos Elite an academy from Santos Torreon. All opponents were Mexican teams from three different states.
“The Copa Chivas was a great cultural experience for our boys internationally. Playing in Guadalajara provided difficult challenges and unique life lessons. Our team displayed commendable work ethic, responded well to adverse moments and played some great soccer.” Coach Brian Cvilikas, Director of Coaching – Youth Boys.
“Copa Chivas was a perfect event for the purpose of taking this group of talented players internationally for the first time. Boys faced adversity in different ways and the way they responded to this matter was amazing. The experience that every single player acquired on and off the field in this trip will help them and make a positive impact in their personal lives.” Coach Alex Cardenas, Head Coach, U19 Boys Development Academy.
The boys got to see Estadio Chivas where the 2017-2018 Liga MX season kicked off with local teams Chivas and Atlas starting their campaigns. They experienced the city culture walking downtown, going into the market, dining at local restaurants, and sampling the local cuisine. They scored some local professional jerseys and other souvenirs. They also had the opportunity to see the Guadalajara Cathedral, Teatro Degollado and the Plaza de Armas.
Ashtyn Franks (GK) is currently training at the Muelle and Quesada complexes in San Carlos, Costa Rica and playing with the San Carlos women’s team which is currently being coached by Norman Corrales, Head Coach and Frank Carrillo, GK Coach. Coach Carrillo had the pleasure of coaching and developing current Real Madrid GK, Keylor Navas (GK). He is held in high regard for the specific training within the GK position.