CHICAGO (June 15, 2007) – The first 11 clubs have been chosen for U.S. Soccer’s Development Academy which will start this fall. These 11 elite youth soccer clubs from across the nation are the first group of applicants to be selected by U.S. Soccer’s National Team coaches to participate in the revolutionary program.
The U.S. Soccer Federation has taken the initiative in extending its National Team program and putting an emphasis on the development of the player by improving their daily environment through the nationwide Development Academy, which was originally unveiled on June 4.
The first 11 clubs feature some of the more recognizable names in the youth soccer community, including:
- Atlanta Fire United Soccer Association (Georgia)
- B/W Gottschee (New York)
- CASL – Capitol Area Soccer League (North Carolina)
- De Anza Force Soccer Club (Northern California)
- FC DELCO (Pennsylvania)
- FC Greater Boston Bolts (Massachusetts)
- Michigan Wolves (Michigan)
- Nomads Soccer Club (Southern California)
- Players Development Academy (New Jersey)
- Seacoast United (New Hampshire)
- FC Westchester (New York)
“It’s been just a little more than a week, and we have been extremely pleased with the quality of applications we have received,” said U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team head coach John Hackworth. “We are working with clubs from all over the country to make sure they have the right information and ability to be a part of this initiative.”
Applications continue to come in and are under review with more decisions due in the coming weeks. Created to provide players with the best possible opportunity and environment to develop, the U.S. Soccer Development Academy is being initiated after a comprehensive review of player development systems in the United States and around the world.
“We are very encouraged by the progress so far,” said U.S. Soccer’s Director of Coaching Education Bob Jenkins. “The key component to the Development Academy is a focus from the clubs on doing what it takes to get their coaches and players focused on long term player development.”
Each Development Academy club will not only serve as a home for many of the nation’s top players, but also as a destination point within their community for shared learning and experience. One of the major advantages of the program will have players receiving integrated oversight from both youth club and U.S. Soccer coaches in their home environment. In turn, the Development Academy will provide an improved scouting environment for college, professional and U.S. National Team coaches.
“After completing an extensive review and discussion across the country, we feel that it is the right time for U.S. Soccer to lead a change in the sport at the youth level,” said U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati. “We need to shift the focus of our young elite players from an ‘overburdened, game emphasis’ model to a ‘meaningful training and competition’ model. This will ultimately lead to more success and will allow players to develop to their full potential.”
U.S. SOCCER DEVELOPMENT ACADEMY – STRUCTURE
|Objective:||The focus of the Academy is on player development and providing players with the best possible opportunity to develop to the highest level they are capable of achieving|
|Standards:||A minimum requirement of three training sessions and one rest day per week|
|Teams:||The top youth soccer clubs in the U.S.|
|Selection:||U.S. Soccer coaches will select qualified applicants on a rolling basis until Aug. 1|
|Age Groups:||U-16 & U-18 teams (minimum roster of 22 players); providing opportunities for more than 2,000 players|
|Competition Format:||Divided into regions with each team playing between 30 and 38 home and away matches during an eight-month season. Each region will be comprised of approximately 15-20 teams based on geographic proximity. The winner of each region play in the Academy Finals at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif.|