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Development Academy Playoffs, Copa ESPN hit DFW this weekend

Its about as big a soccer weekend as you can get here in the DFW area as in addition to the FC Dallas vs Portland Timbers game on Saturday night, two huge youth soccer events hit North Texas.

On a national scale, it doesn't get any bigger than the US Soccer Development Academy Playoffs and Showcase which hit Pizza Hut Park this morning and run through Tuesday. The best youth teams from around the country converge and FC Dallas is right in the middle of it with their star U18 and U16 teams in the playoffs. Follow here on Big D Soccer and the usual suspects(@fcdallas @fcdallasyouth @bigdsoccer @dallascup @ncaasoccer @travismclark) on Twitter to get all the updates. 

On the local scale, Copa ESPN, a young tournament in its third year, hits McInnish Park in Carrollton tonight. This is a tournament that has gotten bigger in stature every year and presents a wonderful opportunity for some of the less privileged kids around the area to show off their skills. You really see some great soccer as FC Dallas, Texans and Solar send their teams up against the more hispanic rec league teams. 

This year there will be 60 teams, over 1,000 players and the U14 champions will get an all expense paid trip to the Disney Cup in Orlando. Also, Bobby Rhine, Marc Stein and Luis Perez will be doing their Soccer Today show on 103.3 ESPN live on Saturday morning. I'll be working out there on Saturday morning and Sunday evening as well so hit me up on Twitter if you'll be out there. It's really a great event with a full festival area including food, music, a low-rider car show and more. 

Jump for the press release from FC Dallas with the full schedule for the U18's and U16's at the DA Playoffs

FRISCO, Texas (June 24, 2011) – FC Dallas’ U16 and U18 teams qualified for the U.S. Soccer Development Academy National Playoffs being hosted by FC Dallas at Pizza Hut Park in Frisco, Texas June 24-28.

FC Dallas U18s qualified for the playoffs after finishing on top of the Texas Division standings with an overall record of 10-1-5. The team lost its only game of the season on Sunday, Sept. 26, 2-1 to Texas Rush before reeling off a string of 14 games in which they were unbeaten. The team enters the 32-team tournament as the number two seed.

“This is a great opportunity for our boys to showcase their talents in front of their families and friends,” FC Dallas U18 head coach Oscar Pareja said. “We hope to make the most of this opportunity and take the team all the way to the final. That is our goal, but more importantly, we want to be a good representative of the FC Dallas Academy and the club.”

FC Dallas U18s open the Development Academy playoffs against Cosmos Academy West (6-4-8) tonight at Pizza Hut Park Field Nine. The game is scheduled to kick off at 7:30 p.m. CT.

For roster and schedule information for FC Dallas U18s, click here [+]

FC Dallas U16s finished fifth in the Texas Division with a record of 9-6-1. The team qualified for the playoffs by earning the ninth of 12 spots open to wild card teams that have the best overall points per game average across the full season. FC Dallas U16s started the season off 0-2-0 before putting together a 10-game unbeaten streak. Ranked 20th out of 32 teams, FC Dallas U16s finished the season on a four-game winning streak in which they outscored their opponents 11-0.

“When you first form a new team, it takes about six months for them to come together and learn how to play with each other,” said FC Dallas U16 head coach Jose Maria Bazan. “We struggled initially in league play, but we made a lot of improvements and got our confidence back. The team is peaking at the right time, having taken the full 12 points from our final four matches.”

 

FC Dallas U16s open the Development Academy playoffs against CASL Chelsea FC Academy (8-4-2) on Saturday, June 25 at Pizza Hut Park Field 13. The game is scheduled to kick off at 11 a.m. CT. For roster and schedule information for FC Dallas U16s, click here [+].

The 32 teams in each age group were placed into four pots based on overall seeding and were then randomly drawn into eight groups of four. The top finisher in each group will move on to the fourth annual Development Academy Finals Week, which will be held July 9-16 at three venues in Milwaukee, Wis.

In 2011, a Showcase was added to the Development Academy playoffs that includes the remaining 46 teams in each age group. Those teams make up the additional 92 teams that will be playing in Frisco through June 28.