The Nike Friendlies feature the U.S. Under-17 Men's National Team and U-17 opponents from Brazil, England and Portugal. The portion of the event begins Monday, Dec. 9, with the USA facing Portugal at 5 p.m. ET. The U.S. U-17 MNT then plays England on Dec. 11 and Brazil on Dec. 13. All six Nike Friendlies will be streamed live on ussoccer.com, and updates will be provided on Twitter @ussoccer_ynt.
The Academy Showcase runs from Wednesday, Dec. 11, through Sunday, Dec. 15. The U-17/18 age group begins play on Dec. 11 and the U-15/16s start on Dec. 12. New for the Showcase field is a National Team element as the U.S. Under-15 Boys' National Team will compete in the U-15/16 age group and a U.S. U-17 Men's National Team will be fielded for three games in the U-17/18 age group.
ACADEMY/YNT SPOTLIGHT: Academy Select Rosters Named for Dec. 12: A highlight of the 2013 Academy Winter Showcase is the competition between two Academy Select U-15/16 teams (1998-99) and two Academy Select U-17/18 (1996-97) squads on Thursday, Dec. 12. The Academy Red Select and Blue Select teams for each age group were announced Thursday, selected by U.S. Soccer technical advisors who will also be coaching the teams. The U-15/16 Select game kicks off at 6 p.m. ET and the U-17/18 game at 8 p.m. ET at the Premier Sports Campus in Lakewood Ranch, Fla. Game updates will be provided on the Academy/YNT Twitter account @ussoccer_ynt. Check for regular Academy Showcase updates with the #OpportunityKnocks hashtag.
Share your Academy news, comments, photos, links and more using the #OpportunityKnocks hashtag.
ACADEMY QUICK HITS (Weekend of Nov. 30-Dec. 1):
West Conference: Chivas USA's three age groups posted wins against host San Diego Surf on Sunday, highlighted by Caleb Calvert scoring a game-winning goal in the 89th-minute to lift the U-17/18 team to a 1-0 victory. Chivas USA's U-15/16s overcame an early deficit as Ivan Gutierrez scored twice and Andrew Mendoza added a first-half goal for a 3-1 win. At the U-13/14 age group, Chivas USA's Leonides Cuteno's 41st-minute goal opened up the scoring en route to a 3-0 win.
Central Conference: In the only Central Conference matchup this past weekend, the Dallas Texans U-17/18 team edged Solar Chelsea SC 2-1, while the U-15/16 and U-13/14 squads posted 3-3 and 1-1 draws, respectively. The Dallas Texans U-17/18s rallied with Jason Machado's 71st-minute equalizer and Michael Forbes' 89th-minute winner.
East Conference: Met Oval's U-13/14 team earned a 2-1 victory against NJSA 04 in the only East-based game on Saturday in Holmdel, N.J.
Player of the Week: Jose Hernandez of Real Salt Lake AZ's U-17/18 team was named Academy Player of the Week during the weekend of Nov. 23-24. Hernandez had a bright start during Real Salt Lake AZ's victory against Pateadores by scoring two goals in the first 10 minutes. RSL AZ improved to 6-0-1 on the season heading into the Academy Winter Showcase.
Referee of the Week: Rosendo Mendoza, a 20-year-old Grade 7 referee from southern Texas, was named Academy Referee of the Week for the Nov. 23-24 weekend. Mendoza was recognized for his work during the U-17/18 match between the Texas Rush and Sporting Kansas City. Mendoza has mostly worked as an assistant referee and has worked matches in the older Academy age groups for the past two years.
Note:An Academy Player of the Week and Referee of the Week will not be named for the weekend of Nov. 30-Dec. 1 because of the limited number of fixtures.
For all Development Academy results, visit ussda.demosphere.com or click on the following links:
Development Academy Winter Showcase: Dec. 11-15 at Lakewood Ranch, Fla., for U-15/16 and U-17/18 Academy teams. The U-15/16 matches take place on Dec. 12, 13 and 15, and the U-17/18 games are Dec. 11, 12 and 14.
Over 200 Training Center Sessions in 2012 Uncovered Additional Players for Youth National Teams
New Format includes Three-Day Local Combines in Seven Cities
National Combine to be Held at Nike’s World Headquarters in Portland, Ore., in August
June 2013 -- CHICAGO (June 7, 2013) - U.S. Soccer’s successful Training Center Program will be getting a makeover this summer as U.S. Soccer and Nike are partnering to enhance the nation’s premier player identification program.
The expanded Training Center Program will consist of three types of invitational events for elite youth players: Sessions, Local Combines and a National Combine. In an effort to reduce the barriers for the best players to represent the national teams, all Training Center events are free for players.
"The Training Center Program provides our scouting network with more opportunities to evaluate and track the country’s most talented players," said Director of Scouting Tony Lepore. "Since we launched the program in 2008, our youth national team scouts have worked with youth clubs, associations, ODP programs and other soccer leaders to identify the best local players who should be invited into a session. Performance at these sessions has opened doors at the collegiate, Academy, Youth National Team and professional level for many players."
Training Center Sessions are held regularly across the country and involve 25 players in an age group participating in one training session run by a member of U.S. Soccer’s Scouting Network. In 2012, U.S. Soccer held over 200 sessions for boys and girls between the ages of 12 and 18, providing over 6,000 opportunities for players to be seen directly by U.S. Soccer scouts.
Training Center Local Combines are a new addition to the Training Center Program. Each Local Combine includes five training sessions conducted by a member of U.S. Soccer’s Scouting Network over three days for the 36 most talented players in a local area. Players spend the day with U.S. Soccer staff, participating in training sessions and classroom sessions similar to a Youth National Team camp. In 2013, Local Combines are focused on boys between the ages of 15 and 17.
2013 Schedule of U.S. Soccer Local Combines
Los Angeles Combine - Jun. 7-9 at U.S. Soccer’s National Training Center (Carson, Calif.)
Chicago Combine - Jun. 10-11 at Olympic Park (Schaumburg, Ill.)
Dallas Combine - Jun. 14-16 at Ross Stewart Park (Dallas, Texas)
Philadelphia Combine - Jun. 14-16 at YSC (King of Prussia, Pa.)
NY/NJ Combine - Jul. 5-7 at Rutgers University (New Brunswick, N.J.)
Washington, DC Combine - Jul. 8-10 at SAC United Covenant Park (Elliott City, Md.)
San Francisco Combine - Details to come
The National Combine is a premier opportunity for the nation’s top 60 high school age boys to be evaluated by National Team staff and leading scouts from around the country. The five-day National Combine will be held at Nike’s World Headquarters in Portland, Ore., with a format similar to a Youth National Team camp.
Players will be selected for the National Combine based on performance in Youth National Team camps, Training Center Sessions, Training Center Local Combines, Development Academy games and other events attended by U.S. Soccer’s vast scouting network.
Select coaches will also be invited to attend a U.S. Soccer Scout Development Course to be held in conjunction with the National Combine. Coaches will attend lectures from leading youth scouts, participate in working groups and assist with the National Combine.
You can follow this summer’s Training Center Program activity on ussoccer.com, the YNT Twitter, YNT Facebook page and Scout, U.S. Soccer’s new digital magazine dedicated to covering elite youth soccer. The digital magazine is available to download for free on iTunes (download here).
About the Training Center Program
ALaunched in 2008, the Training Center Program is designed to increase the amount of youth players evaluated directly by U.S. Soccer technical staff. U.S. Soccer staff work closely with local coaches to identify the best local players and invite them to participate in a local training session conducted by members of U.S. Soccer’s scouting network. Participation in the Training Center Program is free for the players, enabling the best players to attend the session regardless of club affiliation or financial background. Previous performances at a Training Center Session have led directly to invites into Youth National Team camps.
About U.S. Soccer’s Scouting Network
U.S. Soccer centralized its scouting networks for the boy’s and girl’s youth national teams overseen by Tony Lepore (boys) and April Kater (girls). The network includes over 100 scouts trained in U.S. Soccer’s standardized player evaluation process. Scouts assist with Youth National teams, Training Center Program and Development Academy evaluations as well as evaluate key events, such as ODP tournaments, Dallas Cup, Surf Cup, Disney Showcase and many other elite tournaments. Scouts also work closely with local organizations, particularly in urban areas to identify players outside of the elite youth clubs.