While soccer talent across the world is by no means in short supply, more than a few talented players suffer from a lack of opportunity to take the next step. In more densely populated areas, like England, there’s seemingly a soccer club on every street corner, with opportunities abounding. Here in the upper Midwest, that isn’t the case, and MNUFC’s Academy is doing its part to bridge the gap.
From December 15-17, MNUFC hosted an Academy ID Showcase at the National Sports Center Dome to put emerging regional talent in front of collegiate coaches from across the country. Seven different clubs participated in the event, with a total of 17 teams from Minnesota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.
More than 200 players from three age groups (U15, U17, and U19) put their skills on display for representatives from 22 different college programs. Each team was able to play three 9v9 games as well as attend presentations on Saturday to learn about both the college recruitment process and the Academy system.
With six U15 sides, six U17 sides, and five U19 sides in attendance, it was a packed weekend for everyone involved. Academy staff watched every single match, with an emphasis on talent identification to add to MNUFC’s already impressive Academy talent pool. From the youngest participants to the oldest, there were plenty of chances to be noticed this weekend.
Going forward, events like this will continue to be the best way to grow the game in this region, allowing players to prove themselves in meaningful environments that could lead to brighter futures in the sport. MNUFC’s Manager of Youth Camps and Clinics, Scott Macleod, said as much after the event concluded.
“It’s very important for us to help bring college coaches to Minnesota and provide an opportunity for local club players and our own academy players to be observed by these coaches,” Macleod said. “These events also provide our academy coaches with another opportunity to evaluate players from Minnesota and surrounding states with a view to joining our academy program.”
Whether they join the Academy, a college team, or the Loons first team somewhere down the line, it all starts with an opportunity like this. For more information regarding similar MNUFC events, check out the Camps and Combines section of mnufc.com. The talent is already here; it’s time for the opportunities to match it.