Ever since I started following soccer closely, I’ve been intrigued by the varied opinions on how best to develop young talent. College or team academies? Better coaching. Everyone has their own ideas on the best methods. Fans of MLS, in particular, have been very vocal in their calls for academies like ‘they have in Europe’, as if something similar could be achieved with a snap of the fingers and be up and running in a year or two.

For five days, from Dec 4-8, the Third Annual Development Academy Winter Showcase is in Phoenix, bringing together over 150 club and academy teams from across the country. The event will also include referee and coaching education and assessment as well as provide an opportunity for over 200 college scouts to see some of the best players of the future up close and personal in a competitive atmosphere. Additionally, we’ll get a first look at Wilmer Cabrera’s new U-17 squad, who will compete against U-17 teams from Portugal, Brasil and the Netherlands. The US matches will be broadcast by Fox Soccer Channel.