With nearly perfect weather conditions at Waukegan Sports Park, 38 teams from 19 different clubs took part in the inaugural Midwest Developmental League Fall Scouting Showcase Sept. 10-11 in Waukegan, Ill. The event, which brought together teams from both the Erie and Great Lakes Divisions, was played in front of scouts from both the U.S. Soccer Federation and US Club Soccer’s id2 Program.
Two clubs posted perfect records during the event, which included U-13 and U-14 boys’ teams. Both Chicago Magic and St. Louis Scott Gallagher-Metro won all four of their matches in Waukegan.
“I thought the weekend was a great start for the league,” said St. Louis Scott Gallagher-Metro Director of Coaching Jeremy Alumbaugh. “The presence of scouts was noticeable and having a majority of clubs that are like-minded made it an enjoyable event. We appreciate the time and effort to get this off the ground and running as it is a huge need for player development within the Midwest.”
Scouting the event for the U.S. Soccer Federation were Tim Regan and Mike Dickey. U.S. Soccer Technical Staff and US Club Soccer id2 Program Staff are on-site at each NPL Fall Scouting Showcase to scout and identify players for potential participation in upcoming id2 Program Training Camps and Player Development Programs, as well as a variety of U.S. Soccer programs.
As part of the NPL rules, players who were substituted out of the game were not allowed to re-enter the match during the same half. Since this was a new experience for many U-13 teams, it created an opportunity for players to take their next step in their developmental process.
“We thought that the environment was perfect for high-level soccer and the substitution rules helped our players’ development immensely,” said Waza FC U-13 coach Mark Whitcomb. “It was an eye-opener for our 13's and in my mind the experience was invaluable to them. I believe that they came away from this weekend full of knowledge, not only about playing on the field, but how to manage their bodies off the field in this sort of event.”
The focus will now shift to the Midwest Developmental League regular season, as teams begin the road towards the NPL Champions Cup. Slated for July 27-30, 2012, the NPL Champions Cup will feature winners of every NPL competing against each other for NPL national championships.