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USL Academy Cup - Frequently Asked Questions


What is the USL Academy Cup?

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 structure of the tournament begins with a 3-game round robin tournament, with Championship and Placement matches taking place depending on each team's standings on the final day. 


USL Academy Cup is also an all-encompassing event around soccer development, with Supplemental Experiences providing all attendees with value. 

When is USL Academy Cup?

The 2023 USL Academy Cup will take place March 30th through April 2nd, 2023. 

Where is the USL Academy Cup Event played?

Tournament Sportsplex of Tampa Bay

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?

Teams are placed in Divisions (Gold, Silver, Bronze) designed to create games that are as competitive as possible. With players and teams coming from a range of leagues around the country at varying levels, it is important to have multiple competitive tiers that will allow for more USL clubs to field teams in these events. Divisional placement is subject to attendance and competitive structure. 

Which teams may participate?

For a team to compete in USL Academy Cup, they must first 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?

The USL will subsidize the majority of costs for clubs at USL Academy Cup. Teams must cover the cost of registration in USL Academy that will include secondary insurance for participating in the Academy competitions throughout the entire year (USL Academy Cup, League, and League Finals). Teams must also provide travel and stay for their players. 

What does the competition format look like?

The competitive structure includes three age groups: U13B/G, U15B/G, & U19B/G. All teams will be guaranteed 4 matches. Divisions will consist of 3 group-play matches, and all teams will play a Championship/Final match or a Placement on the final day of the tournament, depending on their standings. 

Who should I contact for hotel-related questions?

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

Are there any supplemental programming/workshops offered?

Outside of the matches at 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 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 & 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. Scouts will also have full access to watch the games live and online in the Veo library. 

Will USL Academy merchandise be sold at this event?

Merchandise will be available to purchase in the Player Village. Select partner activations will also have merchandise available. 

Will the USL Academy platform be available to female players?

The 2023 USL Academy Cup will have three girls age groups: U13, U15 and U19. 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 will be further opportunities to expand our USL Academy League player development model as well.


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