While the Under-21s may have faced a number of European sides in their run to the Premier League International Cup final, a unique set of fixtures were presented to them in March as they faced Furman University and Seattle University in two friendlies
The unique opportunity presented by facing American opposition allowed the Eagles to understand how teams from outside their typical domestic opposition work both on the pitch and off the pitch, as the American sides spent a few days at the Academy in Copers Cope.
The two closely fought friendlies were played a week apart from one another, fitting perfectly into a two-week break the U21s side had from Premier League 2 Division 1 action.
Both university outfits are National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division 1 - the highest possible level of competitive collegiate football in North America. The two sides play in their respective regional conferences, akin to how the MLS is divided into East and West.