U.S. Soccer

Recognize to Recover, Presented by Thorne, and Thinktaylor Partner for Concussion Awareness Week During Development Academy Opening Weekends

CHICAGO (Aug. 30, 2017) – Recognize to Recover, presented by Thorne, and ThinkTaylor are partnering during the opening weekends of the U.S. Soccer Girls’ and Boys’ Development Academy to educate more than 17,000 players about handling concussions in the sport.

As part of U.S. Soccer’s continued effort to promote safe play and reduce injuries in soccer players of all ages, the Concussion Awareness Week will take place from Sept. 2-10 and all 197 member clubs will take part in the campaign.

Players will be encouraged to take the #TTPledge, which is an oath from athletes to be educated on concussion symptoms, to be honest in their self-evaluation and to be supportive of anyone with a concussion.

After watching the #TTPledge video, players and coaches will take the #TTPledge via an online form on ussoccerda.com. Each club will share that their teams have taken the pledge on social media using the hashtag and special ThinkTaylor filters. Clubs will also receive Recognize to Recover/ThinkTaylor wristbands, pledge tags and bag tags with the #TTPledge that will be a season-long reminder about concussion awareness.

“We’re looking forward to this partnership between Recognize to Recover and ThinkTaylor as we continue to connect with youth players across the United States about their health and safety,” said U.S. Soccer Chief Medical Officer George Chiampas. “An important part of managing concussions is making sure that players are educated on how to identify when a possible head injury occurs, and are empowered to inform their parents and coaches. We want to change the culture within the game around reporting concussions and that needs to start at an early age.”

Recognize to Recover, a first-of-its-kind comprehensive program dedicated to safe play and reducing injuries, was launched by U.S Soccer in 2015. The program was developed with the help of medical experts to provide coaches, players, parents, referees with information, guidance and educational materials to improve the prevention and management of injuries.

Concussion and head injury awareness and prevention are a core part of the program, and in 2016 U.S. Soccer released a new video designed to raise awareness of this important issue and highlight it throughout its coach and referee education programs.

ThinkTaylor was founded in 2011 by former Men’s National Team player Taylor Twellman after he was forced to retire from professional soccer due to post-concussion syndrome (PCS). ThinkTaylor is dedicated to changing the culture of traumatic brain injuries and aims to dispel the notion of concussions as something to “shake off” or play through, and establish protocol of handling brain injuries with the utmost seriousness.

“There were times in my career I wasn’t honest with my coaches, my parents, my teammates, and it only made things worse,” said Twellman. “When you recognize the signs and symptoms of a concussion and you do something about it, you are already on the road to recovery. That’s why it’s so important to me that athletes are educated and honest about concussions. We only have one brain and it needs to last a lifetime.”

As the 2017-2018 Development Academy season is set to kick off, Concussion Awareness Week is part of the Academy and U.S. Soccer’s continued commitment to the long-term health and safety of its players.

The Girls’ Academy begins its inaugural season on Saturday, Sept. 2. Opening weekend is highlighted by the Girls’ Academy’s first-ever live stream feature game - a contest between Sky Blue – PDA (Somerset, N.J.) and FC Virginia (Chantilly, Va.) streamed live on the U.S. Soccer Development Academy Facebook Page from Somerset, N.J. at 11 a.m. ET.

A week later, the Boys’ Academy kicks off with a feature game on Saturday, Sept. 9 in Columbus, Ohio between Crew SC Academy (Columbus, Ohio) and Crew SC Academy Wolves (Wixom, Mich.). The game will also be streamed live on the Academy Facebook Page

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ACADEMY Aug 30, 2017

Girls' Development Academy Completes Technical Advisor Group

CHICAGO (Aug. 25, 2017) - As part of its ongoing effort to develop world class players, coaches, and referees, U.S. Soccer has added Marguerite Ferrell, Vicki Linton and Megan McCormick to complete the first team of Technical Advisors for the U.S. Soccer Girls' Development Academy.

The first group of TA’s were appointed in May and former U.S. WNT midfielder Jen Lalor was added in June. The nine TA’s have been assigned to geographical regions around the country and will support the clubs in their assigned markets by providing consistent, meaningful feedback while helping identify players who deserve consideration for inclusion in U.S. Soccer Training Centers and the Youth National Teams.

Girls’ Development Academy Technical Advisors:
Morgan Church (Southeast Division)
Katie Cole (Frontier Division)
Diane Drake (Atlantic Division)
Marieke Laurens-van Tienhoven (Southwest Division)
Zahra Lechak (Northwest Division)
Jen Lalor (Southwest Division)
Megan McCormick – (Northwest Division)
Marguerite Ferrell – (Northeast Division)
Vicki Linton – (Mid-America Division)

“With the hiring of the final three Girls’ Development Academy Technical Advisors, the team has been completed to assure that support can be provided to all Academy clubs across the nation,” U.S. Soccer Girls' Development Academy Director Miriam Hickey said. “We are fortunate to have assembled a dedicated team with soccer expertise who will assist the leadership of the 69 Girls’ Academy clubs in establishing better environments for player development. With the kick-off of the Girls’ Development Academy just days away, these TA’s have hit the ground running, assembling their scouting network, planning U.S. Soccer Training Centers for identification of players with the most potential, and are already observing Academy training sessions and games.”

“We are excited to welcome three additional Technical Advisors to complete our team of passionate and committed staff,” U.S. Soccer Development Academy Director Jared Micklos said. “These hires add experience working at the highest levels of the game domestically and internationally, and will provide meaningful insight and support to Academy clubs as we strive to develop world class players.”

Marguerite Ferrell joins U.S. Soccer after most recently serving as Senior Manager of Coach Recruitment and Education at New York Red Bulls, where she managed 171 part-time coaches. Before Red Bulls, Ferrell worked as an assistant Women’s Soccer coach at Fairleigh Dickinson University and Seton Hall University. After completing her All-Conference career at FDU, Ferrell went on to play semi-professional women’s soccer for the New Jersey Wildcats of the USL W-League. Ferrell holds a United States Soccer Federation A License and Instructors License.

“It's an exciting time for the Women's game with the launch of the Girls’ Development Academy,” Ferrell said. “U.S. Soccer has set a clear vision to impact everyday club environments to develop world class players. I look forward to my involvement with the Northeast Region and the opportunity to work with outstanding coaches and players to achieve this goal.”

Megan McCormick comes to U.S. Soccer after serving as the head coach for DePauw University Women’s Soccer. Since 2015, McCormick has worked as a U.S. Soccer Training Center staff coach and as a coaching education instructor for the Indiana Soccer State Association. McCormick’s semi-professional career included a stint at Indiana United of the WPSL from 2009-2012.

“It's an absolute honor to work for U.S. Soccer and have the opportunity to be involved from the start of the Girls’ Academy,” McCormick said. “I'm incredibly excited about the work ahead and the chance to work with so many passionately invested coaches and players.”

Relocating from Pennant Hills, Australia, Vicki Linton brings a diverse background with significant international experience. Most recently, as an assistant with the Australia Women’s National Team. Linton helped lead the Matilda’s to quarterfinal appearances at the 2016 Olympic Games and the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup. Before assisting the senior Women’s National Team, Linton took on head and assistant coaching positions with Australia’s U-17 and U-20 Women’s National Teams. Since 2009, Linton also worked as a FIFA Women’s Football Instructor, conducting numerous FIFA Women’s Football Development Courses in Asia and Oceania Federation countries.

“I am excited to be part of the Girls' Development Academy Program as it commences,” Linton said. “I am looking forward to working with the DA Club directors and coaches and sharing my experience of the international game to help create the best possible training environments that will develop players to be the best they can be.”

About the Academy
Following a comprehensive review of elite player development in the United States and around the world, U.S. Soccer created the Development Academy in 2007. The Academy Program's philosophy is based on standards of increased training, less total games, and more meaningful games using international rules of competition. The Academy has recently expanded programming to include the Girls' Development Academy that will begin in Fall 2017. The Academy has 197 total clubs, comprised of teams across six age groups in the Boys’ program: U-12, U-13, U-14, U-15, U-16/17, and U-18/19 and four age groups in the Girls’ program: U-14, U-15, U-16/17, and U-18/19.

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ACADEMY Aug 25, 2017

Matt Dacey, Rob Elliott Appointed U.S. Soccer Development Academy Technical Advisors

CHICAGO (Aug. 8, 2017) – As part of its ongoing effort to make soccer the preeminent sport in the U.S. by developing world class players, coaches, and referees, U.S. Soccer has appointed Matt Dacey as the Boys’ Development Academy Technical Advisor for the Pacific Northwest region and Rob Elliott as the Atlantic region Technical Advisor.

In their roles, Dacey and Elliott will manage the talent identification networks in their regions, which consist of U.S. Soccer scouts who attend training, games, and Academy showcases to identify elite talent. As the next step in the development pathway, they will provide scouting reports and player-specific data to the Director of Talent Identification and Youth National Team Staffs.

Dacey comes to U.S. Soccer after serving as Technical Director for the Oregon Youth Soccer Association. He has previously been a part of U.S. Soccer, working as a National Instructor in 2017 and Network Scout in 2016. Since 1998, Dacey has been a prominent force in the Pacific Northwest soccer community, holding roles at Tualatin Hills United SC, Jesuit High School, Portland State University and BSC Oregon of the U.S. Soccer Development Academy.

“For the first time, we have a Technical Advisor just for the Pacific Northwest,” U.S. Soccer Boys’ Development Academy Director Aloys Winjker said. “[Matt] lives in Portland, so he’s familiar with the region. With his background as a Coach Educator he will be a big benefit not only for the Academy but also for the whole youth soccer landscape in the Northwest.”

Before his time in the Northwest, Dacey held positions in Colorado as a member of the State Instructional Staff for the Colorado Youth Soccer Association and Virginia as the Director of Player Development for Virginia Rush Soccer Club.

“Representing U.S. Soccer is an honor and a privilege,” Dacey said. “The opportunity to support the clubs in continuing to build toward the future is exciting. Working alongside the dedicated and talented staff will provide great opportunities for my own ongoing professional development.

“Given the opportunity to serve as a Network Scout provided insight into the great effort of numerous individuals in improving the environment for players to develop to their fullest potential. As a coach educator, I relish the opportunity to support the Northwest clubs in their growth and development as we provide the best environment to provide the players with the greatest opportunity in the country.”

Elliott, who takes over the Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania Atlantic region, comes to U.S. Soccer after working for the New York Red Bulls as their Director of Scouting and Premier Development League head coach. As the organization’s PDL head coach, Elliott led the Red Bulls’ to a 12-1-1 overall record and runner-up finish, earning 2017 PDL coach of the year honors. As the club’s Director of Scouting since 2014, Elliott was responsible for identifying, evaluating and recruiting players for the Red Bull’s first team, USL team and Academy teams.

“Adding a TA to the East coast is big step forward for the Development Academy,” Winjker said. “Robert Elliott, with his experience at a high level, is a big benefit for the TA group and the Development Academy in the Atlantic market. I believe he can help to raise the level of the Academies in the Virginia, Pennsylvania and the D.C./Maryland markets.”

Before he became head of scouting for the club, Elliott was the head coach for the U-15/16 U.S. Soccer Development Academy club. Notable U.S. National Team players developed under Elliott’s tutelage including Matt Miazga, Juan Agudelo, Matthew Olosunde, Alex Muyl and Tyler Adams.

“I’m really excited to get back into growing the game every day in this country,” Elliott said. “And this position allows me to get my feet wet and get in on the ground and hopefully have a real impact in terms of helping grow the base of players with the end goal of producing world class players for our National Teams.

“I was in it when the Academy started, on the coaching side, with Red Bulls. I think there has been a great deal of change in the last 10 years, from the quality of play, but also from the professionalism in every aspect: from the coaches, to the players to the administrative side, all of that. It’s become a lot more professional, which I think is going to benefit the players down the road. I think the future is bright with all the initiatives that U.S. Soccer is implementing.”

All U.S. Soccer Technical Advisors are required to hold a minimum U.S. Soccer 'A' license and complete the Academy Directors Course. On a day-to-day basis, TAs support club efforts to elevate the everyday environment by providing consistent, meaningful feedback while helping identify players who deserve consideration for U.S. Soccer Training Centers and Youth National Teams. TA’s strive to create synergy and relationships with member clubs for the development of the players and the sport.

U.S. Soccer's increased focus on club and player development will ensure both TAs integrate and align with the six Sport Development departments: Development Academy, Coaching Education, High Performance, Youth National Teams, Refereeing and Membership. The Technical Advisor role will work closely with clubs to support Academy Directors and staff to achieve their goals through U.S. Soccer’s Player Development Initiatives.

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ACADEMY Aug 8, 2017