The USL Academy Cup is the first key initiative launched under the USL’s newest tier, the USL Academy.
The USL Academy Cup is designed to bring together top youth prospects from all markets with a USL club. The ultimate goal of this competition is to identify and develop players with the potential to reach the professional level.
The 2022 USL Academy Cup will take place March 31st through April 3rd.
Hillsborough County Tournament Sportsplex (9330 E Columbus Dr, Tampa, FL 33619)
Estimated Time of Arrival to Hillsborough County Tournament SportsPlex
|Tampa Bay Airport (TPA)||30-40 minutes|
|St. Pete–Clearwater International Airport (PIE)||60-90+ minutes|
|Orlando International Airport (MCO)||60-90+ minutes|
|Sarasota Bradenton International Airport (SRQ)||60-90+ minutes|
Teams are placed in divisions designed to create games that are as competitive as possible. With players and teams coming from a range of different leagues around the country, some at varying levels, it is important to have multiple competitive tiers that will allow for more USL clubs to field teams in these events.
For any player or team to compete in the USL Academy Cup, they must first & foremost be integrated into the player development pathway leading up to a USL senior team in the Championship, League One, or League Two. In some instances, these are full teams that are owned/operated by those USL properties, in other cases, teams from local affiliate clubs qualify to represent the USL entity.
The USL will subsidize the majority of costs for clubs at the Academy Cup. However, teams will incur a nominal player & coach registration charge that will include secondary insurance for participating in the Academy Cup.
Three age groups will be included in the USL Academy Cup: U13B, U15B, & U19B/G. The U19 is the only age group with a boys & girls division. All age groups and teams will be guaranteed 4 matches. Divisions will consist of 3 group play matches, and all teams will play a consolation or final match on April 3rd, 2022.
Hotel Planner is our Academy Cup hotel provider. Teams should contact firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance. Teams will need to reference the event and location when contacting hotel planner.
Outside of the actual gameplay at the USL Academy Cup, there will be multiple initiatives set up to make the weekend a more holistic development experience. That begins with the players & parents, who will have the chance to learn about the growing number of opportunities becoming available in the professional game, while introducing other factors they should consider in those players’ long-term development. In addition, all coaches & directors will be invited to participate in a series of Player Development Workshops, where best practices will be shared & top clubs in youth development will be examined as case studies. Referees development will also be a key component of each event, as we will work with National Referee Coaches & the local referee assignors to offer participating referees an opportunity to continue to improve on their craft.
Scouts from NCAA Universities and professional clubs will be invited to attend.
Merchandise will be available to purchase.
The 2022 USL Academy Cup will include Elite and Premier Girls Divisions in the U19 age group. As participation grows, we will look to expand on the number of girls teams and divisions that we include in future iterations of the USL Academy Cup, which will allow more USL clubs the chance to provide their top local female players exposure and opportunities.
Over time, and as the female side of the game evolves across the youth and pro landscape, there may be further opportunities to expand our USL Academy League player development model as well.