WHAT IS THE DEVELOPMENT ACADEMY?
Following a comprehensive review of the youth soccer landscape in the United States, U.S. Soccer launched the Development Academy in 2007 to create a more structured player development environment for elite players to develop to their highest potential. The review was based on extensive analysis of international soccer clubs, other sports training environments, education and other disciplines that require dedicated training and practice. From the onset, the program’s mission has been to impact everyday club environments in order to develop world-class players.
The program's philosophy is based on increased training and less total, but more meaningful games using international rules of competition. Individual development of elite players is prioritized over winning trophies and titles. The Academy is the highest level of youth soccer in the U.S. and the program works to ensure elite environments to maximize youth player development nationwide.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
The 2017-18 season will feature 197 total clubs and 900 teams across six age groups: U-12, U-13, U-14, U-15, U-16/17 and U-18/19. Teams compete in three conferences: West, Central and East. The conferences are divided into geographic divisions of six to 15 teams. A full list of teams and their age group divisions can be found here, and Club maps can be found here.
The ten-month season goes from September and concludes with the Academy Championships in July. The campaign is highlighted by seasonal showcases, where teams from across the country gather to compete. Every Academy team plays between 25 and 30 total games throughout the season, broken up by a winter break and a futsal period. The teams that advance from the Summer Playoffs will play up to three additional games. Events are a hotbed for scouts, both from the U.S. Soccer National Team program as well as the collegiate and professional ranks (both domestic and abroad).
PATHWAY TO THE NATIONAL TEAM
A U.S. Soccer player development initiative, the Academy provides a clear pathway for individual players to reach their full potential and ultimately, the National Team programs. Ninety-two percent of Youth National Team players in the 2016-17 cycle came from Academy clubs.
Every game at seasonal Academy showcases are scouted, and over 50% of the season’s games are scouted by U.S. Soccer Technical Advisors. These 11 regional administrators connect Academy directors directly to U.S. Soccer and oversee the region’s talent identification network in order to bring players into the National Team fold.
With fewer total games in favor of more meaningful contests, training is the priority, as clubs are required to train at least four days a week during the season to further individual development.
These training environments are headed by professionalized coaches: all Academy coaches are required to hold a U.S. Soccer “B” coaching license and all Academy Directors must hold an “A” license. Training at Academy clubs also takes advantage of cutting-edge sports performance technology. Clubs use video analysis, performance-based player testing, perceptual-cognitive training and more to give players the best-possible developmental environment.
U.S. Soccer is also making efforts to reduce pay-to-play through the Academy program. Since 2008, the Federation has given over two million dollars in scholarship money to over 1,500 Academy players. This money has allowed more players than ever access to the nation’s highest-level of youth soccer. Twenty-three Academy clubs were fully-funded in 2016-17, meaning players don’t pay at all to train and develop in a world-class environment.
U-17 MNT: BUILT BY THE ACADEMY
The U-17 Men’s National Team competing at this fall’s U-17 World Cup in India is constructed from Academy products. Eighteen of the roster’s 21 players come from Academy clubs, and overall, the squad represents 20 clubs and 55 seasons of Academy experience.
After shining on the Academy stage, several players are now competing at the world’s highest level of youth soccer. Andrew Carleton won last season’s Development Academy U-15/16 Championship with Atlanta United FC. After scoring two goals to clinch the Academy title a few months ago, he has directly contributed to half of the team’s total goals in India. Bryan Reynolds also won an Academy championship with the FC Dallas U-15/16 squad in 2016.
D.C. United’s Chris Durkin and Sporting Kansas City’s Jaylin Lindsey were named to Academy Conference Best XI’s in 2014-15 and 2015-16, respectively, and are now key contributors for the U-17s. A third of the roster’s 18 Academy players – Carleton, Reynolds, Lindsey, Durkin, Chris Goslin and James Sands – have signed professional contracts as M.L.S. Homegrown players.Read more
The U.S. U-17 Men's National Team took to the training pitch one last time Friday in preparation for its big 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup Quarterfinal showdown vs. England on Saturday. The USA and England will kick things off at 10:30 a.m. ET on FS2 and Telemundo with a spot in the competition's final four on the line.Read more
The #USWNT secured a well-played 3-1 win against the Korea Republic at the Mercedes Benz Superdome in the Big Easy on Thursday. Check out all the photos from the match that saw Julie Ertz, Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe notch the goals for the USA.
The U.S. WNT now heads to Cary, North Carolina for a second match against Korea Republic on Oct. 22 (2 p.m. ET; ESPN) at Sahlen’s Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park.
CHICAGO (Oct. 20, 2017) – U.S. Women’s National Team forward Mallory Pugh will not travel with the U.S. team to North Carolina for the second leg of a two-game set against Korea Republic due to a right hamstring injury suffered at the end of the first half in the 3-1 victory yesterday in New Orleans.
Midfielder Andi Sullivan, who started the match at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome and played the first half to earn her fifth cap in her first WNT action in almost a year, will return to Stanford University to play in her college game on the weekend.
U.S. WNT head coach Jill Ellis has called up North Carolina Courage midfielder McCall Zerboni, who has played a crucial role in her club’s success over the past two seasons while partnering in the center midfield with Samantha Mewis. Zerboni helped the Western New York Flash to the NWSL league title in 2016 and after the club moved to North Carolina for this season, helped the Courage win the NWSL Shield and earn a place in the championship game. She was named to the 2017 NWSL Best XI.
The 30-year-old Zerboni, who played her college soccer at UCLA and was a member of the USA’s Youth National Teams as a teenager, gets her first WNT call-up after playing for three clubs in the Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) and four clubs in the NWSL.
With the addition of Zerboni, the USA will have a roster of 19 players in North Carolina for the match and Ellis will name 18 to suit up for the match.
The USA will face South Korea again on Sunday, Oct. 22 in Cary, N.C. at Sahlen’s Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park (2 p.m. ET on ESPN). There are only limited tickets available for the match at the 10,000-seat venue. Tickets are available through ussoccer.com and by phone at 1-800-745-3000.
U.S. Women’s National Team Roster – USA vs. Korea Republic – Cary, N.C.
GOALKEEPERS (3): Jane Campbell (Houston Dash; 1/0), Ashlyn Harris (Orlando Pride; 13/0), Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars; 21/0),
DEFENDERS (6): Abby Dahlkemper (NC Courage; 10/0), Julie Ertz (Chicago Red Stars; 54/12), Sofia Huerta (Chicago Red Stars; 2/0), Kelley O’Hara (Sky Blue FC; 102/2), Becky Sauerbrunn (FC Kansas City; 132/0), Casey Short (Chicago Red Stars; 16/0)
MIDFIELDERS (5): Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns FC; 40/4), Carli Lloyd (Houston Dash; 243/97), Allie Long (Portland Thorns FC; 31/5), Samantha Mewis (NC Courage; 31/5), McCall Zerboni (NC Courage; 0/0)
FORWARDS (5): Crystal Dunn (Chelsea FC; 56/22), Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride; 131/78), Christen Press (Chicago Red Stars; 93/43), Megan Rapinoe (Seattle Reign FC; 126/33), Lynn Williams (NC Courage; 12/3)Read more