PHOENIX, Ariz. (Dec. 7, 2009) â€“ The Development Academy Winter Showcase continued on Sunday with 46 matches played at the Reach 11 Sports Complex, including the nightâ€™s featured match which pitted two Academy Select Teams against each other under the lights on the international field.Â
With the Nike International Friendlies taking a break on Sunday, the night game featured two Development Academy Select Teams, as players born in 1991 and 1992 took on a team of players 1994. U.S. U-20 Menâ€™s National Team head coach Thomas Rongen led the older group and U.S. U-18 MNT head coach Mike Matkovich was charged with the younger team in a match that brought hundreds of college scouts and Academy club teams back to the international field. `
The Winter Showcase, in addition to the 240 games over the course of five days, is providing an avenue for maximum player performance. The professional environment of the national teams is carried over via the Development Academy with the incorporation of nutrition, hydration and recovery guidelines now being implemented in Phoenix.
â€œIt becomes important because in order to be competitive in a world market, in order for the players to be better, we have to get better in what we do,â€ said Academy Technical Advisor Louis Mateus. â€œThat has to come not just on game day or practice day, but in everything we do. Our physical fitness, the way we eat, sleep, rest, all those things become much more important in order for us to be successful.â€
Before the start of the 2009-10 Academy season, a general meeting was held with club coaches and administrators. One of the key points discussed at the meeting was incorporating nutrition and hydration guidelines similar to the ones set by Gatorade for the U.S. national teams.
Those elements have been incorporated into Academy events, including team meals at 2009 Finals Week set up by U.S. Menâ€™s National Team head athletic trainer Ivan Pierra and free Gatorade available at every Showcase event. This weekend Gatorade is also testing the hydration of every U-15/16 team, weighing players before and after each game to measure fluid loss. This is the same hydration testing used by various levels of national teams.
Menâ€™s National Team defender and FIFA World Cup veteran Steve Cherundolo knows the importance of taking care of his body, having played at the international level for more than 10 years with no signs of slowing down.
â€œI think a young player does himself a lot of favors if he takes care of his body early on in his career and continues to do it throughout,â€ said Cherundolo in a ussoccer.com video playing on Sunday in the Athletesâ€™ Lounge.Â â€œWorking the gym on days off or early in the week, doing more work off the field will only help you later in your career and enable you to stay younger longer.
In addition to proper intake, athletes are encouraged to take advantage of rest days that are built into the Development Academy schedule. At Showcase events, teams play three games over the course of four days and are provided with recovery and regeneration guidelines to help keep players in top physical form.
Along the same lines, teams who travel great distances have schedules that enable maximum recovery time for jet lag. For example, this weekend, teams from the East Coast were given priority for the optimal game times on Friday.
More from Phoenix
- After a rest day the U-17 U.S. Men's National Team returns to action on Monday, meeting Netherlands at 7 p.m. MT in a game that will be broadcast live on Fox Soccer Channel. Brazil and Portugal round out their time in Phoenix at 4:30 p.m.
- There have been some great goals flying in here in Phoenix. Head to ussoccer.com to see highlights of goals at the Development Academy Winter Showcase.
Day 1 Highlights | Day 2 HighlightsÂ | Day 3 Highlights
- The Academy theme for 2009-10 is â€œEverday Environmentâ€ and ussoccer.com has a series of four videos chronicling the Academy's biggest initiative this season. Men's National Team players and Academy Advisers provide insight into â€œIndividual Training,â€ â€œTeam Training,â€ and â€œOff-Field Lifestyle.â€ The final video, featuring â€œGames,â€ is featured on ussoccer.comÂ today.
- Studio 90 checked in from Cape Town following the FIFA World Cup Draw late last week. In addition to getting reaction from Men's National Team head coach Bob Bradley and U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati, the show included thoughts on the USA's Group C draw from here at the Development Academy Winter Showcase in Phoenix.
- The YNT Blog is documenting the weekend here in Phoenix and with scores of posts, it's the best place to keep up on the goings on at the Development Academy Winter Showcase. The Blog posts photos, highlights and various updates throughout the day.