2011 US Soccer Development Academy Winter Showcase and Nike International Friendlies Head to Lakewood Ranch, FL

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The Premier Sports Campus and U.S. Soccer have announced that the 2011 Development Academy Winter Showcase and Nike International Friendlies will be held at the Premier Sports Campus in Lakewood Ranch, Fla. in early December.

The economic impact of this campus will be tremendous...

2011 Development Academy Winter Showcase and
Nike International Friendlies Head to Lakewood Ranch FLa.

U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team to Face Turkey, Brazil and France;
All 78 Development Academy Clubs will Play Three Non-Conference Games from Dec. 2-6

The Premier Sports Campus and U.S. Soccer have announced that the 2011 Development Academy Winter Showcase and Nike International Friendlies will be held at the Premier Sports Campus in Lakewood Ranch, Fla. in early December.

“This is an amazing opportunity for this region,” said Tim Mulqueen, Lakewood Ranch’s director of sports. “It’s the highest level of youth soccer and we are excited that U.S. Soccer has chosen the Premier Sports Campus to host such a prestigious event.”

All 78 Academy clubs will travel to Lakewood Ranch for three games of non-conference play during the Winter Showcase, which will take place from Dec. 2-6. The U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team, whose current roster features 24 players representing Academy clubs, will face off against Brazil, France and Turkey during the Nike International Friendlies from Nov. 30-Dec. 4.

International games will be broadcast live by the Fox Soccer channel and organizers expect about 15,000 people to attend. “The economic impact of this campus will be tremendous,” said Rex Jensen, president and CEO of Schroeder-Manatee Ranch, Inc., the developer of the campus and of Lakewood Ranch. “With 24 events and tournaments already on the books and confirmed for 2012, we estimate the minimum economic impact to the region next year to be in excess of $60 million. We’re not just talking about the future benefit, we’re doing it now – and the results are tangible.”

The Sarasota County Sports Commission also anticipates an enormous impact from this one international event. “We are already seeing a benefit,” said Jason Puckett, Sarasota County Sports Commission’s director of sports. “Early indicators are showing us that hotels are filling up across the region for that week and good luck finding any 15 passenger vans from Naples to Tampa! Since most teams will travel together, we are having issues finding enough vans.”

The event will mark the ninth Nike International Friendlies, previously called the Nike National Team Friendlies, held in the area since 2003. The U.S. U-17 Men’s National Team has participated in all nine competitions while Brazil will be appearing for the seventh time, Turkey for the third time and France for the first time.

The Premier Sports Campus at Lakewood Ranch is a multi-purpose facility that is home to 22 full-sized, mixed-use fields for soccer, lacrosse and other amateur sports, and features Celebration grass and underground irrigation. The complex is used for amateur and professional top-flight and world-class sporting tournaments, events, camps and clinics and is located in Lakewood Ranch – the 8,500-acre, award-winning master-planned community in Sarasota and Manatee counties on the West Coast of Florida. http://www.lakewoodranch.com.

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