USL Academy Cup features 3 group-stage matches between clubs in the same age group and division, followed by a Championship/Final match or Placement match on the final day, depending on the club's standings. All matches provide meaningful competition against clubs outside of your regional area.
Championship/Final matches will award the winners a trophy, along with medals for both the winners and runners-up. Individual awards for Golden Glove, Golden Boot, Golden Ball, and Coach of the Tournament will be provided for each of the Gold divisions.
USL Academy Cup consists of (3) group play matches and (1) Championship/Final or Placement match based on group play standings. All teams will play (1) match on the final day of USL Academy Cup (Championship/Final or Placement match).
Championship/Final Matches: Gold Division leaders will compete for the Gold Division title in a Championship match. Silver and Bronze Division leaders will compete in Final matches. If the match is tied at the end of regulation time, (1) 15 Minute extra-time period will be played. If the match is tied at the end of extra-time, the game will be decided by Kicks from the Penalty Mark.
Placement Matches: All non-Championship or Final matches will be played against the team most closely positioned in your division from the other group to maximize unique games. If the match is tied at the end of regulation time, the game will be decided by Kicks from the Penalty Mark (no extra-time will be played).
Clubs receive three points for a win, one point for a tie, and zero points for a loss.
USL Academy Cup is comprised of (3) three age groups - U13, U15, and U19 - with boy's and girl's brackets in each. Accepted teams will be separated into Gold, Silver, and Bronze divisions based on team resume and application.
The U15 and U19 age groups require developmental roster rules in order to maximize the opportunity for growth of younger players participating at USL Academy Cup. Teams in the U13 age group are also encouraged to abide by suggested developmental roster rules, but are not required to do so.
USL Academy Cup requires that teams participate in four games over four days. In the interest of play-to-rest ratios, match lengths have been shortened to provide teams with the optimal player performance time without risking over-exertion. Shortened match lengths also provide more reflection time in between games for referees to work with mentors.
U13 and U15 matches: Two 30-minute halves, separated by a 10-minute halftime.
U19 matches: Two 35-minute halves, separated by a 10-minute halftime.
In the event of weather delays, USL Academy Staff will make every effort to communicate delays as quickly as possible. Depending on the time of the delay, games may be pushed back, or earlier games may be played later in the day, keeping other games as scheduled.
If a game has started when inclement weather arrives, the outcome of the match will depend on the amount played.
If the match has reached halftime, the match will be considered complete. All scorelines, statistics, and misconduct will remain. If the match has not reached halftime, it will resume at a later date and time from the moment it was stopped, including all scorelines, statistics, and misconduct. USL Academy Staff will communicate with clubs to determine a rescheduled date and time.
U19 Teams are allowed a maximum of seven Normal Substitutions with no re-entry per game to be used over the course of three moments, excluding half-time, but including cooling and/or drink breaks. U13 and U15 Age groups are allowed an unlimited number of substitutions with re-entry across three moments.
Additionally, USL Academy has implemented a concussion substitutes initiative. This new initiative allows teams to use up to two concussion substitutions during a match to replace players with concussions or suspected concussions, regardless of the number of normal substitutions or moments already used. If a team elects to use a concussion substitution, its opponent will receive an additional substitution and moment.
Full substitution protocols may be found in the USL Academy Cup Operations Manual.