Finals Week dropped for knockout competition

[DEVELOPMENT ACADEMY] The U.S. Soccer Development Academy will no longer organize a Finals Week to crown its champions in its under-15/16 and under-17/18 age groups. Instead, the final eight will play a knockout round, semifinals and final with the final four played July 17-19 at U.S. Soccer's National Training Center in Carson, Calif.

The previous format included four games in seven days -- three group matches plus a placement game based on the two group standings.

"Throughout the Academy, the clubs are applying performance driven standards on a more consistent basis, which has been a positive development over the past seven years," said Development Academy Director of Scouting Tony Lepore. "Because of this fact, we feel there is less of a need to replicate our youth national team approach during these final matches of the year. The knockout-round structure will be more beneficial to the players and clubs, and we're looking forward to implementing this new postseason setup to cap off the 2013-14 Academy season."

The 2013-14 postseason will continue the same Academy Playoffs and Showcase setup and take place June 23-27 at Grand Park in Westfield, Ind. The top 32 teams based on points per game will be placed into eight groups of four. Teams that do not qualify for the Academy Playoffs will be placed in the Showcase bracket and also play three matches during the June 23-27 week in Westfield, Ind.

The eight group winners will be seeded based on their regular-season points-per-game average and four top seeds will host a quarterfinal game on July 7 or 9.

UNDER-13/14. The inaugural season for the U-13/14 age group will conclude as part of the June 23-27 Academy Showcase in Westfield, Ind. Following that event, the Academy technical staff will reward the top U-13/14 team by sending the club to the 2014 Manchester United Premier Cup World Finals.
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