USL announced on Tuesday that they have entered an agreement with the Dallas Cup, one of the most prestigious youth tournaments in the world, to bring USL academy teams into the international showcase.
Of local note, Orange County SC is one of seven USL teams (the others being Charleston Battery, OKC Energy FC, Pittsburgh Riverhounds, Rio Grande Valley FC, Saint Louis FC and San Antonio FC) that will send USL academy teams to the Dallas Cup, set to take place March 25-April 1 in Frisco, Texas.
The tournament is an invitation-only event, with seven age groups, U-13, U-14, U-15, U-16, U-17, U-19 and the U-19 Gordon Jago Super Group, the main showcase group that often features a few of the brightest prospects from around the world.
“We are delighted to establish this relationship with one of the most prestigious Academy events in the world,” said USL VP of Competition and Technical Development Gordon Bengtson. “Providing a platform for the top teams from professional USL academies to go head-to-head against elite competition from around the world is a tremendous step forward. Offering opportunities such as this on an annual basis provides crucial experience and important reference points for young, aspiring players as they compete to reach the professional ranks with their hometown USL clubs in the future.
“As a league, we are always looking for new approaches that will help grow local talent in our teams’ markets. Working alongside the Dallas Cup creates significantly more opportunity for those ideas to come to fruition in the immediate future.”
On a local front, the news, alongside the appointment of Frans Hoek as Orange County SC technical director yesterday, seems to indicate a greater visibility for Orange County SC’s academy programs. In recent years the club had an academy team, and an affiliation program with Cal South, but little has been said about an Orange County SC academy as such. Perhaps this is the next phase. We’ll see.
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