What is the scholarship program?
The program was started in 2008 in conjunction with Nike and the U.S. Soccer Foundation to offer support to full-time Academy players who demonstrate financial need. Academy clubs had already done a great job in supporting players and we wanted to compliment that.
Why is the scholarship program important?
The programs in the U.S. have always used a pay-for-play model and kids who can’t afford programs are missed. U.S. Soccer wants to be sure we have the best kids in the Academy program, which may be from multiple demographics. Having a scholarship program in tandem with what Academy clubs already offer further supports the Academy program and allows kids who may not be able to afford it but are great assets to teams that participate.
Who is eligible for the program?
Full time Academy players who come from a club in good standing (not on probation) are eligible to apply. To receive the funds from U.S. Soccer, the player needs to complete a year-long program.
What must players do to maintain eligibility?
The year-long program begins next month. Players must complete activity logs every two weeks and remain as a full time Academy player the entire season.
How does the scholarship program help the Development Academy develop players in the United States?
This program continues to send a message that both clubs and organizations need to find ways to include the best players for the program and not necessarily the ones who can afford it. U.S. Soccer believes one of the biggest hurdles in finding the best players is the pay-for-play model. In other countries, players do not pay to participate with their youth teams and we hope at some point, we can duplicate that in the Academy program and continue to provide a direct path to the national team programs.