CHICAGO (January 16, 2008) – Applications for the 2008/09 season of U.S. Soccer’s Development Academy are being accepted from now until March 1, 2008. Clubs will be admitted on a rolling basis until April 1, at which point all clubs will be notified of their status.
Prior to the 2007/08 Academy launch, over 150 clubs applied, and 63 were selected. Any club is eligible to apply, but competition for clubs entering in the 2007/08 season will be heavy, as there will be a very limited number of new spaces available. Clubs currently enrolled in the Development Academy do not have to reapply.
The Development Academy launch has been widely successful as it approaches the Winter Showcase, to be held at Pizza Hut Park in Frisco, Texas, in Feb. 17-18. Thus far, over 400 games have been played throughout the country, including 38 matches played at the 2007 Fall Showcase at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif.
At the 2007 Development Academy Nike Friendlies, which took place from Dec. 6-9 at IMG Academies in Bradenton, Fla., 81 games were played in front of over 200 national team, professional and college coaches and scouts, providing an international atmosphere with CONCACAF referees and coaching seminars to complement the six-game international bracket. The U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team ‘92s highlighted the weekend with wins over Brazil and Russia, and a narrow loss to Turkey. All three U.S. international games were played in front of thousands of spectators and broadcast on Fox Soccer Channel.
“So far, the Development Academy has been a huge success,” said Development Academy Director John Hackworth. “The goal of this program is to evolve the entire process of youth soccer development in this country, so it’s not a short-term goal, but we think we’re off to a good start.”
Academy clubs follow the model used at the U.S. Under-17 Residency Program, with a focus on training and player development. Teams are required to train three times per week and rest one day per week during the eight-month season, during which they will play 30 regular-season Academy games.
Applications are available at ussoccer.com: http://www.ussoccer.com/common/stContent.jsp_168-DevAcadApplications.html.