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U.S. Soccer's Development Academy Adds Three MLS and One USL Youth Club, as Well as Six Other Leading Clubs


CHICAGO (July 3, 2007) – Ten additional clubs have been selected to participate in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy, bringing the total number of admissions to 31 from across the country. With the launch of the new Development Academy, 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.

The Development Academy concept is designed to shift the focus of the young elite player from an ‘overburdened, game emphasis’ model to a ‘meaningful training and competition’ model. The concept was unveiled on June 4 and the response has been unprecedented.

“We have been overwhelmed by the positive response so far. The quality of applications has been outstanding and with the addition of the MLS and USL clubs, we now have the opportunity to integrate them into the Academy environment,” said U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team head coach John Hackworth. “After a month, we remain focused on 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.”

“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.”

The 10 latest clubs added to U.S. Soccer’s Development Academy continue to reflect the high quality of participants, including the first three MLS teams and one USL team:

  • Chicago Fire Soccer Player Development Academy (Illinois) – MLS
  • Colorado Rush (Colorado)
  • DC United (District of Columbia) – MLS
  • New York Red Bulls (New York) – MLS
  • Potomac Soccer (Maryland)
  • Real Colorado (Colorado)
  • Richmond Kickers Soccer Club (Virginia) – USL
  • Richmond Strikers (Virginia)
  • VA Rush Soccer Club (Virginia)
  • Washington Premier FC (Washington)

The inclusion of the Chicago Fire, DC United and New York Red Bulls into the Development Academy is the latest step in MLS’s Youth Development Initiative, which is designed to enhance the quality of young players entering the League and allow more of the players to represent their hometown teams. Each MLS youth club will complement their current youth development infrastructure with an Academy team in the U-18 and U-16 divisions.

“Major League Soccer supports U.S. Soccer’s Development Academy and its approach to player development, which integrates well with MLS’s youth development initiatives,” said MLS Deputy Commissioner Ivan Gazidis. “The inclusion of the Chicago Fire, D.C. United, and the New York Red Bulls in the Development Academy is just the beginning. They will soon be followed by other MLS teams. The success of MLS’s Youth Development Initiative and US Soccer’s Development Academy will be measured by the number and quality of the players they produce. The emphasis will be not on the number of games played and trophies acquired, but on the development of the individual and the technical skills needed to equip elite players to compete at the very highest levels.”

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.

“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
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 conferences with each team playing between 30 and 38 home and away matches during an eight-month season. Each conference will be comprised of approximately 15-20 teams based on geographic proximity. The winner of each conference will play in the Academy Finals at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif.
Teams: Below is a complete list of the Development Academy’s 31 current clubs representing
16 states and the District of Columbia.
 

California

  • De Anza Force Soccer Club
  • Mustang FC
  • Nomads Soccer Club

Colorado

  • Colorado Rush
  • Real Colorado

Connecticut

  • Oakwood Soccer Club

District of Columbia

  • DC United

Florida

  • Clearwater Chargers Soccer Club
  • IMG Soccer Academy
  • Kendall Soccer Coalition

Georgia

  • Atlanta Fire United Soccer Association

Illinois

  • Chicago Fire Soccer Player Development Academy
  • Chicago Magic Soccer Club
  • Chicago Sockers

Maryland

  • Potomac Soccer

Massachusetts

  • FC Greater Boston Bolts

Michigan

  • Michigan Wolves
  • Vardar

New Hampshire

  • Seacoast United

New Jersey

  • Players Development Academy
  • New York Red Bulls

New York

  • B/W Gottschee
  • FC Westchester

North Carolina

  • CASL – Capitol Area Soccer League
  • Greensboro Youth Soccer Club

Pennsylvania

  • FC DELCO

Virginia

  • Richmond Kickers Soccer Club
  • Richmond Strikers
  • VA Rush Soccer Club

Washington

  • Crossfire Premier Soccer Club
  • Washington Premier FC

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