Courtesy of Geoffrey Lyon Photography

2012 U.S. Soccer Development Academy Finals Week to conclude on Monday

After 56 games played at the Houston Amateur Sports Park (HASP) this week, the U.S. Soccer Development Academy’s Finals Week wraps up on Sunday, July 22 and Monday, July 23.  The Under-17/18 title match will be held at 8 p.m. on Sunday, and the U-15/16 title game at 8 p.m. on Monday at BBVA Compass Stadium.

Finals Week consists of 16 teams – eight from each age group – and 32 games played over an eight-day stretch. Outside of the two championship matches, all games have been held at HASP, the Dynamo’s permanent training home and multi-field soccer facility, located approximately 10 miles south of BBVA Compass Stadium.  Finals Week will bring an estimated $2 million in revenue to the City of Houston.  

Since its official groundbreaking on July 5, 2011, HASP, funded and developed by the City of Houston with the assistance of the Houston Parks Board LGC, has hosted approximately 50 sports tournaments and events, attended by athletes from North, Central, South America and Europe.  An estimated total of 32 individual sporting events will be held at HASP in 2013.

“The bond referendum that I will ask City Council to place on the ballot for November includes funding for enhancements at HASP,” said Mayor Annise Parker.  “This soccer tournament shows what the facility has to offer and how it can be used to help elevate Houston’s standing in the national sports community.  I wish all of the finalist soccer teams the best of luck as they compete for spots in the title games.”

The teams that qualified for Finals Week are the group winners that advanced from the Development Academy Playoffs, which featured 96 games (48 for each age group) from June 25-29 at FC Dallas Sports Park in Frisco, Texas. The playoff event included the top 32 teams at each age level broken into eight groups, with the winner of each group advancing to Finals Week.

Since its launch in the fall of 2007, the Development Academy has improved the training environment and provided high-level matches on a consistent basis, increasing the level and efficiency of scouting for the national teams to provide players, coaches and referees with structured programming.

The Development Academy is moving to a 10-month season starting in 2012-13. The schedule, which runs from September through June (or July based on postseason play), creates a format that is similar to those followed by the elite soccer nations around the world as the Development Academy and U.S. Soccer continue their goal of closing the performance gap with the top nations.