Red Wolves to Compete in Inaugural USL Academy Cup Presented by Puma
2021 Academy Cup will see 74 Teams Compete Across Three Age Groups
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, the Red Wolves will have two teams competing in the 2008 and 2004 age group.
“We are excited about the opportunity our players have to play in this event each year against
other professional academies and top talent from the US,” said Academy EVP Derek Greene.
“This is just another way for players to develop, to be seen, and to compete at the highest level in
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.”
As these 74 youth teams prepare to take the pitch for the 2021 USL Academy Cup national
tournament, 60+ USL clubs will also be kicking off the first-ever regular season of the USL
Academy League this spring. This new pre-professional league will serve as a direct pathway for
top teenage talents to enter the ranks of the USL senior teams in the Championship, League One
and League Two while also providing clubs a reserve team experience.
For more information on conference alignment and to stay up to date on the competition
structure, schedule release, and more, visit www.usl-academy.com/academy-cup.