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USL Academy Cup - Frequently Asked Questions


What is the USL Academy Cup?

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.

When will the USL Academy Cup event take place?

The 2022 USL Academy Cup will take place March 31st through April 3rd. 

Where will the USL Academy Cup Event be played?

Hillsborough County Tournament Sportsplex (9330 E Columbus Dr, Tampa, FL 33619)

Which airport should our club fly into?

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


How are teams placed in groups for the Academy Cup event?

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.

Who will be participating in the USL Academy Cup?

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.

Is there a fee to participate in the USL Academy Cup?

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.

What will the competition format look like?

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.

Who should I contact for hotel-related questions?

Hotel Planner is our Academy Cup hotel provider. Teams should contact for assistance. Teams will need to reference the event and location when contacting hotel planner.

Will there be any supplemental programming/workshops offered?

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.

Will there be scouts at these events?

Scouts from NCAA Universities and professional clubs will be invited to attend.

Will USL Academy merchandise be sold at this event?

Merchandise will be available to purchase.

Will the USL Academy platform be available to female players?

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.


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