The slate of 2017 programming is officially complete for the Reign Academy, concluding with the first-ever Development Academy Winter Showcase in Florida earlier this month. Facing off against clubs they otherwise would not have had the opportunity to play, the showcase provided the Reign Academy a chance to play new competition.
“The competition we encountered from top clubs across the country was outstanding all week long,” said Reign Academy technical director Kim Calkins. “It was incredible to watch our teams’ creativity offensively, collective defensive effort, the trust they established with each other, and finally the fun they brought to the game. This epitomized and standardized to me what the pinnacle of the experience could be for players and a team.”
The showcase also gave players an opportunity to be seen by scouts from colleges across the country. One Reign Academy match had 67 colleges in attendance, and college coaches lined the sidelines to get in as many games as they could all week long.
“Exposure to all levels of colleges in attendance is paramount to our players and the next stop on the soccer path for most of our excelling student-athletes in the Academy,” said Calkins. “The majority of players at the Reign are also top performing students and will have positioned themselves to academically be eligible for institutions. The opportunity to play soccer at the college level is a credit to the players’ own hard work on the field and in the classroom.”
U.S. Soccer also had at least three scouts at every match, with various youth national team coaches in attendance. Academies had the unique opportunity to take in U-20 Youth National Team friendly matches between Brazil, England, United States, and Finland while onsite at the event.
“U.S. Soccer Youth National Teams has made the youth level a priority,” said Calkins. “They know these players and have detailed notes on all top players coming through the DA system thanks to their consistent scout attendance at these showcase events and league games. We look forward to the continued output from the U.S. scouting network in this area.”
This was the final event of 2017 for the Academy, a year which has seen the teams take huge strides forward in their development. As focus turns to 2018, Calkins feels the progress made in the Academy’s second year is worth celebrating.
“The showcase event at this time of the year lends to pulling together all of the physical and mental development over the course of the fall,” said Calkins. “We get to enjoy a rare and top-level environment that the players have worked hard to achieve.”
“While the players get a much deserved and needed down time from playing for the next few weeks, the program will be hard at work prepping and excited for the players return in 2018,” said Calkins. “We look forward to the continuous opportunities to get better throughout the inaugural DA season.”
The Reign Academy will return to Development Academy play in February of 2018. The first day of matches is set for February 24th, when the Academy faces Lamorinda Soccer Club at Wilder Field. Then on February 25th, the Academy will face Placer United SC at Sierra College.