Program Admitted 163 Academy Full-time Players from 53 Academy Clubs;
Year-Long Program Focuses on Soccer and Healthy Lifestyle for Elite Athletes
CHICAGO (Oct. 23, 2009) – U.S. Soccer has selected 163 participants for the 2009-10 Development Academy Scholarship Program. The athletes represent 53 different Academy clubs and will participate in a year-long program that will not only help offset the costs of participating in the Academy, but will also focus on educating athletes on healthy lifestyle habits.
The Academy Scholarship Program was launched in the winter of 2008 by NIKE, the U.S. Soccer Foundation and U.S. Soccer to assist players with financial need to participate in the new national team training program. Scholarship Program funding is intended to support the Academy club’s efforts to reduce financial barriers for elite players to develop to their full potential.
The 2009-10 Scholarship program looks to continue building on the success of the previous year, in which 139 of the 143 participants completed the program, including 12 Academy Honors recipients and 10 players called into U.S. Youth National Team. The 163 program participants in 2009-10 were selected from a pool of over 475 applicants.
In order to complete the Academy Scholarship Program, athletes must remain in good standing with their Academy club, finish the season and complete a series of online educational activities. Participants will continue to complete online activity logs to chronicle their regular soccer activity and will also receive online training on lifestyle issues such as nutrition, hydration, fitness, rest and other behaviors related to performance.
Every Academy club has made efforts to reduce the expenses for their players, including a handful of clubs that have eliminated costs altogether to participate in the program. The Academy Scholarship Program supplements these longstanding efforts and represents an important step to move away from the rising expenses of elite youth sports participation. By minimizing the financial barriers to participate at an elite level, more quality players will be exposed to the Academy’s focus on superior training and competition.
Since the launch of the Development Academy in the fall of 2007, the program has dramatically changed the elite youth soccer environment. The program is focused on improving the every day training environment for elite players, so they can fulfill their potential as international, professional or collegiate soccer players. The Academy program has also proven to be a successful platform to identify players for national and collegiate teams.