Soccer

Audi's 'The Academy' mini-docuseries chronicles struggles to go pro in the MLS

"The Academy" follows the journey of Sporting Kansas City players.

Photo courtesy of Audi AG/MLS/Bleacher Report

Audi and Major League Soccer (MLS) announced a five-part docuseries that shines a spotlight on developing the next generation of soccer stars. "The Academy" will debut on Wednesday, August 19.

The series follows Sporting Kansas City's youth academy, one of the 94 North American academy clubs that have strategically aligned themselves with MLS's player development platform. During the 2019 season, MLS invested $70 million in the program.

"The Academy" provides an all-access look at the commitments and sacrifices that young athletes make to become professional soccer players, showing the work that the players and MLS are putting in to develop next-generation talent. The series features a detailed look at tactical meetings, closed training sessions, and how Sporting Kansas City's Academy managed the transition to remote and virtual trainings, as well as season delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sporting Kansas City The Academy The docuseries debuts August 19.Photo courtesy of Sporting Kansas City

"This is the first look that any fans will have at one of the most respected soccer academies in the U.S. and a chance to catch a glimpse of who could be tomorrow's greatest stars," said Raphael Poplock, SVP of New Business Development, Bleacher Report. "We faced a unique challenge to create a very personal documentary from remote and social distanced settings during this period and think we have captured exceptional stories from the Sporting Kansas City's Academy player's journey."

Prominent Sporting Kansas City personalities are featured in the episodes, including Sporting Kansas City Manager and Sporting Director Peter Vermes, Academy coach Rumbani Munthali, Homegrown midfielder Gianluca Busio, along with Academy players Gage Akalu, Nati Clarke, Osvaldo Cisneros, and Jake Davis.

"The Sporting Kansas City Academy is a core part of our club, and receiving this tremendous support from Audi helps us with so much, including housing and transportation within our Academy," said Peter Vermes, Sporting Kansas City Manager & Sporting Director. "Our focus will continue to be placed on having a clear and productive pro-pathway from the Academy to the first team, and the Audi Goals Drive Progress initiative helps us immensely in achieving that goal."

Audi has supported the Academies for years. As of April 2020, the company has committed more than $1 million including a program funded by Audi that eliminates transportation barriers for Academies teams. Academy players who benefitted from the program have been signed to First team, Homegrown pro contracts. The Houston Dynamo was able to use funds to help transport student-athletes who otherwise would not be able to participate in the Academy program. The New England Revolution installed a new Audi Performance Center at their training facility and developed a shuttle program to help with player transportation. The Portland Timbers secured vehicles to transport players and eliminate recruitment challenges due to geographic limitations.

"Audi's commitment to MLS has always focused on advancing the game of soccer in North America, so we thought it was important to put a personal face on that commitment by showcasing these young players and their experiences," said Shawna Burtscher, director of Experiential Marketing, Audi of America. "We think of 'The Academy' as a much-needed source of inspiration to soccer fans everywhere.

The docuseries will debut on BleacherReport.com.

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All-new sports sedans

All-new 2022 Audi A3 and S3 coming soon

The 2022 A3 gets sharper styling.

Audi

The Audi A3 and S3 might be small, but both cars bring benchmark performance and luxury to the compact side of the premium market. The cars have been totally overhauled for the 2022 model year, and pick up new powertrain tech, updated interiors, and sharper styling.

Audi says that the A3 is wider and more aggressively styled than its predecessor, and notes that it will carry a new, wider grille and headlight design. The S3 is now longer and wider than before, and will sport a larger, more aggressive exhaust system.


2022 Audi A3 The A3's interior gets new color options for 2022.Audi


The 2022 A3 is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine rated at 201 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque. It's paired with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. The powertrain also gets a 48-volt mild-hybrid boost for the first time in 2021, which will provide better take-off acceleration and can allow the car to coast with the engine off.

The S3 derives 306 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque from its turbocharged 2.0-liter engine, which is a bump of 18 horsepower and 15 pound-feet of torque over its predecessor. Audi says that the new powertrain configuration allows the 2022 S3 to sprint from 0-60 mph in only 4.5 seconds. The S3 also benefits from a .6-inch drop in ride height and new available S sport suspension with damper control that can be adjusted with drive mode selections from the cockpit.


2022 Audi S3 The sporty S3 has also been redesigned for 2022.Audi


The A3's interior brings standard heated setas with eight-way power adjustment, a standard panoramic sunroof, tri-zone climate control, and leather upholstery. Two new color options are available for the 2021 A3, including Santos Brown with Steel Gray stitching and Parchment Beige with Steel Gray stitching. The S3 gets new power-adjustable S sport seats, and can be upgraded inside with diamond-stitched Nappa leather upholstery.

A 10.1-inch infotainment touchscreen is standard for both cars, along with a 10.25-inch digital gauge display. Audi's virtual cockpit system, which can project maps and other information into the gauge cluster, is available with a 12.3-inch gauge upgrade option. A head-up display is also available for the first time in both cars.


2022 Audi S3 The S3's interior has been updated with new seats.Audi


Audi includes a few advanced driver aids as standard equipment, which include forward collision warnings, high-beam assist, lane departure warnings, and a pre-collision system that shuts windows and pretensions seatbelts. Most features are optional, and include a parking assistance system, rear cross-traffic alerts, blind spot monitoring, and more.

The 2022 Audi A3 will have a starting price of $34,945, which includes a $1,045 destination charge. The A3 Quattro will start at $36,945 and the 2021 S3 will have a starting price of $45,945.

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The 2022 Acura TLX has the technology enabled.

Photo courtesy of Acura

Toyota and Lexus announced that the WarnerMedia RIDE app would be coming to their models earlier this year. Now, Honda and Acura will be offering the same.

On certain Wi-Fi enabled Honda and Acura vehicles, AT&T unlimited in-car Wi-Fi users will have access to the WarnerMedia RIDE app. The app allows users to connect multiple devices in their vehicles to browse, stream and share premium content from the WarnerMedia library while on the road.

Honda and Acura vehicle owners have been able to use their on-board modem as a hot spot for connecting up to seven devices since 2017. Models compatible for the new tech include the Acura RDX (2019-present), Acura TLX (2021), and Acura MDX (2022) across all trim levels. Honda vehicles with the tech include Accord (2018-present, Touring), Odyssey (2018-present; Touring, Elite), Insight (2019-present, Touring)., Passport (2019-present; Touring, Elite)., and Pilot (2019-present; Touring, Elite, Black Edition).

The WarnerMedia RIDE App allows passengers to access 1,000+ hours of live and on-demand entertainment. The app includes hit TV shows and movies from top brands such as Cartoon Network, CNN, HBO Max, TBS, TNT and TruTV, spanning animation, entertainment, news, sports and more.

WarnerMedia RIDE app The WarnerMedia RIDE app allows users to choose their own avatar.Photo courtesy of Acura

Users can set up profiles and personalize their user exerpience with an avatar from the WarnerMedia library. Profiles also ensure age-appropriate content with options for adults to restrict access to their profiles with an access code.

"Wireless connectivity and connected car services continue to be key features for customers and our long-standing relationship with AT&T continues to be one way we deliver exciting new content to Honda and Acura owners," said Art St. Cyr, vice president of North American Auto Strategy for American Honda. "Honda will continue working to enhance the in-car experience, including the capabilities of the AT&T network and access to top content with WarnerMedia RIDE."

"We're always looking for new and innovative ways to elevate the connected car experience for our customers. With WarnerMedia RIDE, we are delivering a connected experience that's perfect for journeys," said Joe Mosele, vice president, Mobility & Internet of Things, AT&T. "Our collaboration is keeping Honda and Acura owners connected wherever they travel with hours of news and entertainment for the whole family."

WarnerMedia RIDE is available now in the App Store and on Google Play for all U.S. unlimited data plan subscribers. WarnerMedia RIDE is included at no additional cost for existing and new unlimited subscribers.

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