DC United

MLS announces youth competition platform following cancellation of U.S. Soccer Federation's development academy

MLS announces youth competition platform following cancellation of U.S. Soccer Federation's development academy

NEW YORK (AP) -- Major League Soccer is launching an elite youth competition platform for teams that had been in the U.S. Soccer Federation’s development academy, which folded Wednesday due to the coronavirus pandemic.

"The extraordinary and unanticipated circumstances around the COVID-19 pandemic have resulted in a financial situation that does not allow for the continuation,” the USSF said in a statement.

Launched in 2007, the USSF academy had included competitions in five age groups.

MLS said it will include U.S. and international teams in the new venture. It plans league season matches, and regional and national tournaments with international teams. MLS intends to expand coaching education and improve player identification.

“We are seeing significant contribution to the quality of play in MLS from homegrown talent,” Jeff Agoos, a former U.S. national team player who is a MLS senior vice president, said in a statement. “As we currently have 2,500 elite players and 250 top youth coaches in our academies, MLS is uniquely positioned to provide a new and enhanced platform.”

MLS said it is evaluating future competition opportunities for girls.

MLS food for players in Orlando bubble might not be what you expect

MLS food for players in Orlando bubble might not be what you expect

With teams arriving in Orlando for the beginning of the MLS is Back Tournament that starts on July 8, players are excited for the opportunity to once again take the field and compete. However, there is one detail that doesn't have many too excited: the food.

On Tuesday, Toronto FC defender Omar Gonzalez, who played collegiately at the University of Maryland, shared a picture of the meal he was given in Orlando. Despite the description sounding appetizing, the sandwich looked anything but that, and it was accompanied by a rather unimpressive side of potatoes and a banana.

Gonzalez's teammate Eriq Zavaleta also shared a picture of his meal, which somehow looked even worse.

The photos are reminiscent of the infamous Fyre Fest disaster that promised fine-dining cuisine and instead provided guests with bread and a piece of cheese. The MLS meals don't look that bad, but it is surprising to see the athletes being given such unappetizing meals as they prepare for a month-plus of intense soccer games.

RELATED: HOW TO WATCH DC UNITED IN MLS IS BACK TOURNAMENT

The MLS is Back Tournament that begins on July 8 will mimic a FIFA World Cup with teams competing in group and knockout round stages with the chance to earn a spot 2021 Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League and win prize money. Hopefully, the events on the field go smoother than what is happening in the kitchen.

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DC United announce Group Stage schedule for MLS is Back tournament

DC United announce Group Stage schedule for MLS is Back tournament

Major League Soccer released Thursday the schedule for the Group Stage of its upcoming MLS is Back tournament, which will include three matches featuring D.C. United.

DCU, which was placed in Group C, will take on Toronto FC on July 10 at 8 p.m. ET in its first match back since the season was suspended due to coronavirus. The team will also play against the New England Revolution (July 16 at 8 p.m.) and Montreal Impact (July 21 at 10:30 p.m.) for the right to qualify for the knockout round that begins July 25.

Each of the three matches in the Group Stage will count toward the regular season standings. The top two teams from Group C will advance to the knockout round, which last four days before the quarterfinals (July 30-Aug. 1), semifinals (Aug. 5-6) and final (Aug. 11).

The San Jose Earthquakes were the first team to head to Orlando for the tournament, with other clubs heading to the Disney World complex throughout this week. All 26 teams will practice and compete at the ESPN complex a few miles away.

RELATED: ORLANDO PRIDE WITHDRAW FROM NWSL TOURNAMENT AFTER 10 TEST POSITIVE FOR COVID-19

DCU began practicing again at Audi Field on June 15, one day after a player tested positive for coronavirus.

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