TAMPA, Fla. – The United Soccer League announced today the 37 clubs that will compete in the 2021 Academy Cup, presented by Puma, which will take place at the Hillsborough County Tournament SportsPlex in Tampa, Fla. on May 28-31, 2021. The USL Academy Cup features some of the country’s most elite youth players from the U-13 and U-17 age groups and will build on the success of the first two regional events held prior to the pandemic. Among the 74 teams competing, Philadelphia Lone Star will have an academy squad competing in the U17 Boys age group.
“We are very excited about the prospect of having our newly-formed U17s compete in the inaugural USL Academy Cup,” said Paul Konneh, Executive Director of Philadelphia Lone Star. “Our goal as a club is to always give our players, especially the young players, these opportunities to showcase their talents and we look forward to competing in the inaugural USL Academy Cup next month in Florida!”
The cup competition will see academy teams from clubs in all three senior divisions of the USL represented, with clubs from the Championship, League One and League Two as well as representation from MLS clubs all competing against one another to represent a growing footprint that reaches 22 states across the country. These events will be designed to better identify and accelerate the development of elite youth players with the potential to reach the professional ranks. In addition, a U-17 Girls Division will be included at this year’s event, after the USL announced a complementary women’s pathway to the overall Academy platform in 2019. This new female-specific age group will serve to further enhance the mission of USL to provide proven pathways for all players, especially with the continued growth of the women’s game at the senior team levels.
“The USL Academy Cup is a prime example of the great work being done by our clubs and their youth affiliates to develop youth soccer across the country,” said Liam O’Connell, Technical Director of the USL. “We are incredibly excited to see our teams take the pitch this year at the cup and to witness our clubs continue to make an impact in youth soccer and the development of youth players across the American soccer landscape.”
For more information on conference alignment and to stay up to date on the competition structure, schedule release, and more, visit www.usl-academy.com/academy-cup.
To contribute towards the Starlets’ trip to Tampa, FL for the inaugural USL Academy Cup, please donate at www.philadelphialonestarfc.com/donate and write USL Academy Cup in the “Add Special Instructions to Seller” field.