Tournament draws best teams from Atlanta, Chicago and Dallas to Disney; nationally-ranked players Morgan Brian and Bryane Heaberlin to play
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (Dec. 22, 2010) — America’s best youth soccer clubs which feature some of the country’s elite players will take the field during Disney’s Soccer Showcase presented by Chelsea Football Club Dec. 27, 2010- Jan. 3, 2011 at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.
This year’s showcase features boys and girls teams from the top two clubs in the country as ranked by Soccer America magazine. The boys showcase (Dec. 27-30) includes teams from the No. 1 ranked Baltimore Bays and the No. 2 ranked CASL (Raleigh, NC); while the girls showcase (Dec. 31-Jan.3) features teams from the No.1 ranked Dallas Texans and the No. 2 ranked Eclipse Select (Chicago, IL). In all, 10 soccer clubs among the top 25 ranked boys clubs and nine clubs in the top 25 girls clubs will be competing among 560 teams. The eight-day event is expected to draw nearly 30,000 athletes, college coaches and fans to the complex, making it the leading college recruiting event in the country.
‘The tournament encompasses all of the best elements teams, players and coaches are looking for including world class facilities, elite competition and fantastic weather—and all at the world’s No. 1 destination for family vacations and youth sports.’
—Patrick Dicks, Disney Soccer
Top performers in the boys showcase will also be selected to Disney’s Soccer Showcase All-Star Team and have the opportunity to train overseas and compete against international competition.
Here is a breakdown of the top teams competing from some of the country’s soccer hotbeds:
Three high-ranking Dallas clubs will be bringing boys teams to Disney including the No.11 Dallas Texans, No.18 FC Dallas and No. 21 Solar. The Solar SC U16 squad (Dallas, TX) will also take on international competition as they face the Chelsea FC Academy Team in their opening game on Dec. 27. The academy team features players who eventually work into the Chelsea FC first team, the defending English Premiership League Champions. The game will stream live on ESPN3.com at 6:30pm.
This year’s boys’ showcase also features the top two teams in the country as ranked by gotsoccer.com in the boys U18 division. The No.1 ranked Alpharetta Ambush and the No. 2 ranked GSA Phoenix, who are both Atlanta-based soccer clubs will be competing in the men’s open division.
The Chicago Fire Juniors, the Chicago Fire’s (MLS) official youth club, will bring teams in all boys divisions, including the No.12 ranked U15 boys team.
On the girls’ side, the nation’s No.1 players to watch in both the 2011 and the 2012 recruiting classes as ranked by topdrawersoccer.com will be playing. Morgan Brian and Bryane Heaberlin, both US U17 Women’s National Team players and Florida-based club soccer products, will be competing in the U18 division. Brian, a midfielder with the Ponte Vedra Storm, is the all-time leading scorer in US U17 Women’s National Team history while goalkeeper Heaberlin will compete with the Clearwater Chargers.
Brian and Heaberlin are a part of an elite list of high-school-aged soccer players coming to this year’s showcase. Walker Zimmerman, who is competing with the GSA Phoenix out of Atlanta, is ranked No. 14 by topdrawersoccer.com in the top 100 players in the 2011 boys recruiting class.
Some of the country’s best youth soccer talent has competed in Disney’s Soccer Showcase including Jozy Altidore (Villareal, Spain), Clint Dempsey (Fulham FC, England) and Oguchi Onyewu (AC Milan, Italy).
The showcase set a new record last year with more than 900 college soccer coaches attending, including coaches from major programs including North Carolina, Notre Dame and Wake Forest.
“Disney’s Soccer Showcase has become the premier college recruitment tournament in the country,” Patrick Dicks, Disney Sports area manager said. “The tournament encompasses all of the best elements teams, players and coaches are looking for including world class facilities, elite competition and fantastic weather—and all at the world’s No. 1 destination for family vacations and youth sports.”
About ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex
ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, which hosts more than 350 events a year, is the leading multi-sport venue for amateur and professional sports in the nation, accommodating 70 different sports and athletes from more than 70 countries. Designed to take youth sports to the next level, the 230-acre facility features multiple competition venues, including Champion Stadium, the HP Field House, the Jostens Center, the Hess Sports Fields, a track & field facility, a tennis complex and a baseball/softball sportsplex. It is also home to the ESPN Innovation Lab, a real-world testing ground for the ESPN Emerging Technology Group that develops ground-breaking on-air products like Ball Track and ESPN Snap Zoom, as well as development of its new 3-D television channel. In addition, the complex features 56 high-definition cameras and 40 high-definition video screens, including three jumbo screens, which can capture and display footage from any event taking place at the complex. The camera and video screens, as well as a 20-zone audio system, are controlled through the state-of-the-art HD and 3-D Production Center with direct links to ESPN facilities in Bristol, Conn., New York and Los Angeles. For more information, visit www.wdwnews.com for press releases, photos and videos. Follow us on Twitter at @DisneySports.
About Chelsea Football Club
Founded in 1905, Chelsea Football Club plays in the English Premier League and supports the development of soccer at all levels around the world. Nicknamed The Blues, Chelsea’s First Team plays at Stamford Bridge in West London.