Kansas City to host 2020 U.S. Soccer Development Academy Championships


(Feb. 25, 2020) – Swope Soccer Village in Kansas City, Missouri will host the 2020 Development Academy Championships presented by Allstate from July 9-12. National champions will be crowned for boys at the U-15, U-16/17 and U-18/19 age groups as well as girls at the U-15, U-16 and U-17 age groups. The nation’s four best teams at each level will compete at the event, which serves as the culmination of the Academy season, to take home a championship.

This year will mark the largest Academy Championships yet with the participation of Boys U-15 and the introduction of distinct Girls U-16 and U-17 age groups. Six age groups will compete at the event, up from four in previous years.

Swope Soccer Village serves as the home of the Sporting Kansas City Academy, as well as the training fields for the USL Championship’s Sporting Kansas City II. The facility hosted the 2018 Academy Championships, which served as the finale for the inaugural season of the Girls’ Academy.

The complex is home to nine full-sized fields, highlighted by a Championship Field. Over the years, Swope Soccer Village has hosted training for the U.S. Men’s and Women’s National Teams, some of Europe’s biggest club teams as well as collegiate conference and national championship events.

“We’re very excited to have the opportunity to host the Development Academy Championships in Kansas City again,” said Sporting Kansas City Manager and Sporting Director Peter Vermes. “This will be a great showcase for our city and the wonderful facilities we have built here, and we look forward to welcoming many of the top young players in the country for this event.”

In addition to its own MLS academy, Sporting Kansas City is partnered with Girls’ Development Academy affiliate clubs SPORTING Blue Valley in nearby Overland Park, Kan. and Sporting Omaha in Omaha, Neb.

The final four teams in the Academy Playoffs from the Boys U-15, U-16/17 and U-18/19 age groups as well as the Girls U-15, U-16 and U-17 age groups will advance to the Academy Championships in Kansas City.

Last season, New York City FC U-18/19 and Solar Soccer Club U-16/17 won national championships on the boys’ side, while Solar Soccer Club U-16/17 and San Jose Earthquakes U-15 took home the Girls’ Academy titles.

DA HISTORY: Past Academy Champions

This year’s Allstate Boys’ Summer Showcase and Playoffs, which will determine the field for the Academy Championships, will be held from June 17-25, while the Girls’ event will be held June 20-30. The events will be held concurrently at the SoCal Sports Complex in Oceanside, Calif. Playoff draws for the event will be held in early June, following the conclusion of the Academy regular season.

Following a comprehensive review of elite player development in the United States and around the world, U.S. Soccer created the Development Academy in 2007, subsequently growing the program year over year. In Fall 2017, the Academy expanded its programming to include the Girls’ Development Academy.

The Academy strives to develop elite youth players by setting the highest standards, impacting the everyday club environment. The Academy’s philosophy is focused on the individual player, optimizing wholistic development of the player, on and off the field.

In the midst of its 13th season in 2019-20, the Academy is comprised of teams across five age groups in the Boys’ program: U-13, U-14, U-15, U-16/17 and U-18/19, and five age groups in the Girls’ program: U-14, U-15, U-16, U-17 and U-18/19.

Derek Nester
Derek Nester
Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2021 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.

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