This weekend, the D.C. United U-18’s and U-16’s travel south to Bradenton, Fla., to participate in the annual Development Academy Winter Showcase. With most coaches from top colleges and universities in attendance, United’s Academy players will have another opportunity to gain additional national exposure. Both squads will match up against the North Carolina Fusion, FC Dallas and Chivas USA in their respective age divisions.
Sitting at fourth-place in the midst of a 10-month season, D.C. United’s U-18’s meet the North Carolina Fusion first in the tournament on Friday, Nov. 30 at 10 a.m. The Fusion, currently in eighth place in the Southeast Division, conceded the third-most goals in its grouping in the autumn. The following day at 9:45 a.m., the Black-and-Red is set to clash with Frontier Division leaders FC Dallas, who averaged 2.14 points per game during the fall stretch. The U-18’s final opponent is scheduled to be Chivas USA – a side that is in fourth place in a tough Southwest Division – on Monday, Dec. 3 at 9 a.m.
“Any time you have an opportunity to compete against other MLS Academies, you want to show well,” said U-18 Head Coach Nolan Sheldon. “We're looking forward to competing against two of the best Academy programs in the country in FC Dallas and Chivas USA.”
Fresh off of an undefeated fall campaign in which the team went 9-0-1 – top of the Atlantic Division – the U-16’s open the tournament on Saturday, Dec. 1 at 2:15 p.m. against Southeast Division last-place club North Carolina Fusion. The squad then faces leading Frontier Division side FC Dallas – who won all of its games in the autumn – on Sunday, Dec. 2 at 11 a.m. In the last fixture, the U-16’s will match up against second-place Southwest Division club Chivas USA on Tuesday, Dec. 4 at 11 a.m.
“Our main priority is to play quality soccer versus strong competition,” said U-16 Head Coach Tom Torres. “The success for the tournament will be based on the players’ ability to remain focused on extended travel, performing on the field and recovering properly. Winning games will be the byproduct of all of those things coming together.”
In addition to the aforementioned matches, Suliaman Dainkeh and Kainoa Bailey were invited to participate in the ’95 U.S. Soccer Select Game, and Steven Gandy will be a part of the game designated for those born in or after 1996/1997. Coached by U.S. Soccer National Team coaches, the matches highlight the evening for the academies to attend and watch.