Teams have been clinching left and right here in Greensboro. It's been hard to keep up with all the action. But now that games are wrapping up, we'll try to sort out some of the chaos.
Monday, June 30, 2008
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Apparently no one thought a team from Indiana could compete with the traditional youth club powers in the Great Lakes Conference - except, of course, the players and coaches from Carmel United. By defeating Northeast Conference Champions Albertson Soccer Club in their final match of the Summer Showcase, the Carmel 'team that could' secured a place in the final eight of the inaugural season of the Development Academy. Only three spots remain up for grabs as the competition in Greensboro draws to a close ...
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Real Colorado has clinched the U-15/16 West Conference after defeating Schulz 3-1 on Monday. The win gives them 72 points, just one point ahead of conference foe Crossfire.
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The Colorado Rush found out they advanced to the finals before they even stepped on the field today. With Real Colorado dropping its morning game to Schulz Academy, the U-17/18 Rush clinched the West Championship.
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PDA defeated the Richmond Strikers 3-2 this morning, to claim the U-15/16 Mid Atlantic Conference crown. The win gives PDA the eighth of 16 spots in Finals Week from July 12-19 in Carson, Calif.
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It's been a popular weekend at the Summer Showcase for college coaches and scouts. Already, we have seen representatives from schools as nearby as Duke and Virginia Tech, to as far away as Stanford and Washington.
Posted at 7:22 AM
This is it.
The final day of the Development Academy Showcase is here, and it’s judgment day for several U-15/16 and U-17/18 teams. Seven teams have clinched their conference titles, assuring their spot in finals week. But that means nine conferences have yet to declare a champion. Check here to see the playoff scenarios for today.
That will all end today.
There’s a nice layer of morning fog hovering over fields, but the weather forecast is looking good for the final day of the showcase. The anticipated high is just 83 degrees today with a mixture of clouds and sun, and less than a 20 percent chance of rain. It should be a beautiful day here in Greensboro.
Posted at 6:47 AM
Sunday, June 29, 2008
On rejoining Crossfire Premier after graduating from U.S. Soccer’s Residency Program:
Brandon Zimmerman: “When I started out I joined Crossfire a little over a year before I came to Residency. And it was a lot different being scouted then because they’d bring you into a lot more camps and you’d be involved with ODP (Olympic Development Program) and with your regional team, and eventually I got seen. I spent two years in Residency under John Hackworth, which was a great experience. Then I graduated in December and I had some free time before I started college in April, so I trained with the Development Academy league team Crossfire for about three months. Right away I noticed a big difference in the mentality of the club.”
On playing at Santa Clara:
BZ: “I’m at Santa Clara right now, I started in April, committed last fall and that’s been a great experience as well. You could say both Residency and the Academy program has prepared me for that. I’ve been talking to Santa Clara for a long while and I ended up going on my visit and turned out to be a great place for me.”
On the similarities and differences with the Under-17 Residency and the Development Academy:
“I think the Academy program has taken up the essentials of Residency, where you’re training every day and then a game every week which is the most important thing obviously because it’s soccer. I can’t speak for the other teams, but Crossfire is getting involved with agility and weights and then you have your training uniforms, which are all things that we see down in Residency. It’s turning players into good professionals and getting them ready for the next level, because that’s exactly what we need right now.”
On his thoughts of being a part of U.S. Soccer:
“I just want to say that U.S. Soccer is definitely taking the right steps and making players more professional and putting them in the professional atmosphere because that’s what’s most important. It’s also giving players a lot more opportunities to get seen because there are teams all over and you come to Showcases like this and every player is getting seen and if you’re good enough you’re going to be there. Before, despite best efforts, not every player got seen and this gives players a lot better opportunity.”
Posted at 4:41 PM
The YNT Blog will be back with the U-20s during the build up to Chile in November ... In the mean time, stay tuned to the Development Academy Summer Showcase in Greensboro, and the U-23 MNT as the Olympics approach in Beijing!
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Saturday, June 28, 2008
John Fitzpatrick from the Under-17/18 San Diego Surf (San Diego, Calif.)
How did you come to join the Under-17/18 San Diego Surf Development Academy team?
“We have the 16s, 17s, and 18s. The 16s is an Academy team, so I could have played on the 16s because I’m a ’91 (born in 1991). The team I was originally on was the 17s, and they’re not in the Academy so I chose the 18s because I wanted to be in the Academy. It’s a way more professional environment. I like having one game a day. It’s really good because we focus on quality of play more. You get to practice more and work on things and sometimes they give you things to work on. Usually, before when we used to play in tournaments with two games a day, you’d just get really run to the ground. You’re so tired all the time and the quality just shoots down.”
What do you think so far about the first year of the Development Academy?
“I think it’s really good for players who want to get called up to the U.S. team. I got called up partly because I’m involved in the Academy. I got called into the U18 camp. I went to Ukraine last summer but that was with the U17s. It was an international tournament, which is amazing. There’s a pool of 40 kids I think and they just kind of mix it and you just keep getting looks. Hopefully I’ll get called for another trip.”
What do you think of the level of play?
“The Academy gives us the opportunity to play on the highest level. Obviously, when you play on the highest level you get better and your game improves a lot more. Experience is a huge part of your game. Little things that happen during the game, if you have the experience and you’ve been through little situations and take advantage of them, then that can end up helping you win the game.”
Do you prefer playing one game a day?
“With one game a day, your mentality…you just got a focus on the game and you get prepared and everything. When you have two games a day you don’t have the time to ice yourself and then eat proper foods and then wait and digest and just be ready. With two games a days you have to rush and everything’s not healthy.”
Posted at 4:18 PM
SPARQ, Gatorade, and ProZone teamed up to speak to the Development Academy club coaches present at the Summer Showcase about the future of soccer in America by lecturing on three major topics in training - preventing injuries and building up the mechanics and strength; hydration; and evaluating player progress.
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SPARQ training provides an outlet for the players to TRAIN right and reach their protential fitness level. The Spring Showcase was used to record training scores, and this showcase provided their results and allowed them to keep track of their progress in their speed, power, agility, reaction, and quickness.
You gotta have the right MENTALITY to play your best. This U.S. Soccer store allows players to purchase U.S. Soccer and "It Starts Here" gear.
The REFEREES are getting opportunities to advance their officiating skills by working with U.S. Soccer at the Showcases, receiving guidance from referee assessors as well as mentoring from two U.S. Soccer full-time referees, Ricardo Salazar and Terry Vaughn.
You gotta make sure you're hydrating and staying HEALTHY. The Gatorade Bar provides nutritional facts about eating right and making sure to rehydrate.
Posted at 2:31 PM
Albertson wrapped up the U-15/16 Northeast Conference Saturday with a 4-3 win over Scott Gallagher. The club joins Schulz as the second team in that age group to clinch a finals berth.
Posted at 2:26 PM
Schulz became the first U-15/16 team to claim a conference championship when it defeated PA Classics, 2-1, this afternoon. Schulz took an insurmountable 14-point lead in the Southeast Conference, with Miami having just four games remaining.
Posted at 12:11 PM
While the thousands of kids in Greensboro this weekend are here to develop their skills, get better and move up the ladder...they're not the only ones. Around 100 referees are on hand here at the Showcase and, besides officiating games, a big part of the weekend for them is learning how to develop their skills, get better and move up the ladder...ah, the synergy, isn't it great.
Every referee here will be "scouted" by a referee assessor, who will provide him or her with feedback on how they did during the game. It will not help them with their eyes...joking! Seriously, these guys and gals are working their tails off every day here on the field in the scorching heat, while also meeting with U.S. Soccer referee officials to go over what they did good and bad.
Two of U.S. Soccer's full-time referees - Ricardo Salazar and Terry Vaughn - are here to do both as they will officiate a handful of games (gotta keep sharp!), but also try and hand down some of their wisdom for the younger referees.
Considering that Salazar and Vaughn are here, we decided to switch up this week's "Referee Week in Review."
...haven't heard about the "Referee Week in Review??"
C'mon people, get with it. We've been doing it for 12 weeks...well, now 13.
Usually, we're talking to the top U.S. Soccer officials - Paul Tamberino, Brian Hall or Alfred Kleinaitis (they actually happen to be here, too, but we figured we'd get some youth into the weekly podcast...those guys are old...we're sure they'll really enjoy we wrote that).
Anyway, the "Week in Review" breaks down how the officials did during their Major League Soccer games, providing the good, the bad and the ugly (not much ugly to tell the truth).
For this week's podcast we flipped it on 'em. That's right, instead of Paul, Brian and Alfred talking about how the referees officiated, we corralled Ricardo and Terry to give us insight into how they think the "Week in Review" helps them.
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Friday, June 27, 2008
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FC Westchester didn't even have to play a game in Greensboro before winning the Northeast Conference at the U-17/18 level. When the Irvine Strikers took down BW Gottschee, 3-1, this afternoon, FC Westchester quietly clinched the conference's top spot.
Posted at 4:32 PM
While the U-20 WNT is busy here in Mexico and the Development Academy Summer Showcase is in full swing in Greensboro, we're certainly not forgetting about the Olympic team! Midfielder Stuart Holden will be throwing out the first pitch tonight at Minute Maid Park as the Houston Astros take on the Boston Red Sox.
We'll be checking in with Stuart to make sure his pitch didn't bounce, but you might be able to catch him live on Fox Sports Net. The game starts at 7:05 p.m. so be sure to tune in!
Posted at 3:40 PM
The players take a break from their games outside to compete on the virtual field indoors.
Players frequent the Gatorade bar for rehydration and quick facts on how to stay healthy in the heat of hard training and Greensboro's strong sun!
Players look on to the list of Development Academy players who have been called into U.S. Youth National Team camps for 2008: 31 are in the U-17 pool, 53 in the U-18 pool, and 14 in the U-20 pool.
Look at all of the people visiting ussoccer.com! You should visit too!
Posted at 1:43 PM
LAFC became the third team in the U-17/18 division to clinch a finals berth. The club pulled off a 2-1 victory against Seacoast United in the Development Academy Summer Showcase in Greensboro to clinch the So Cal Conference title. LAFC will go into group B in the finals draw, which was announced today at noon.
The Baltimore Bays (Mid Atlantic Conference) and CASL (Atlantic Conference) own the other two finals spots at this point. Five spots remain up for grabs in the U-17/18 age group, while all eight conference championships have yet to be decided in the U-15/16 division.
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The groups for the Development Academy Finals Week were announced at noon today in Greensboro. The eight conference champions from each age group (U-15/16 and U-17/18) will compete in Finals Week from July 12-19 at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif.
Posted at 12:30 PM
Games just about to kickoff here and the Tent is already rocking. EA Sports' has offered up their latest game, UEFA Euro 2008, and you better believe that the Gatorade bar is already seeing heavy turnover. There's a huge video screen - perfect for today's Finals Week draw at 12 pm. There's also a FREE Jukebox, probably the best addition ever for our big tent. Currently, the Chemical Brothers' Star Guitar is playing. Despite the fact that it is 8:30 am, it can never be too early for some good house music...
Posted at 8:40 AM
It's 7 a.m. in Greensboro, and the staff is preparing for a busy day at the Development Academy Showcase. As you can see, the fields are empty, and so are the parking lots, but already the busy workers are filling the tent to prepare for the long day.
Posted at 7:36 AM
Thursday, June 26, 2008
...about the weather anyway. This afternoon's storm was a doozy, rolling in a little earlier than usual, but hitting our hotel a little more than normal...
The coaching staff was having a meeting in one of the rooms, when a strike of lightning hit the tin roof that the room overlooks. It was, of course, followed by a huge clap of thunder - the combination raised some heart rates to say the least. The roof was smoking for a few minutes and the room smelled like burning for a bit, but there were no injuries to report.
Posted at 6:51 PM
Today's training started out with a congratulations to the players for achieving the first of their two goals in Puebla - qualifying for the World Cup in Chile! (The second goal is to beat Canada on Saturday for the regional championship.)
Yesterday's 4-0 over a feisty Costa Rican side clinched the USA's place in Chile. You can read about the game here.... look at photos from the game here ... and you can watch the game in it's entirety here.
After that, those who played yesterday went for a recovery run and stretch, while those who didn't play had a small-sided game. It's a beautiful day here in Puebla so far, but the rain may still come later...
Posted at 2:09 PM
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
One of the running subplots of our time in Mexico has been the "two push up" punishment implemented by assistant coach Tom Stone on defender Nikki Marshall. Why would he single out a player? In her own words: "It's for saying or doing 'stupid' things. Like at dinner I called something chicken when it was obviously steak. Typical blonde moments I like to call them."
The "tradition" has evolved to the field as well. During one fateful training session, Tom was crossing balls in from the corner that the forwards were supposed to finish. Every time they scored, Nikki did two push ups. Every time they didn't score, Tom had to do the push ups - that's right. Nikki is fighting fire with fire.
"Today I made my penalty kick (at training)," said the defender with the now-huge arms, "and to celebrate I pranced back to top of the box. He tried to mock me by prancing, and he looked so silly that I just had to say 'Tom...' and he did two push ups."
Posted at 6:32 PM