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, Rangers will have one competing in the U13 age group.
“We are honored to have our 2008's compete in the USL Academy Cup,” Rangers Academy Director Ante Jazic said. “This event will provide national exposure to our players and provide a level of competition they have never seen before. We are thankful to the USL for organizing a first-class event and extremely excited for our players to compete against some of the best youth players in the country.”
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.”