U.S. Soccer Development Academy Continues to Improve Environment for Elite Players in Preparation for Program's Second Year
CHICAGO (April 17, 2008) – As U.S. Soccer continues to add elements to the Development Academy to improve the everyday environment for elite soccer players, 12 new clubs were selected to join the program in 2008-09 after a thorough review process that included more than 100 applicants.
Three Major League Soccer teams and a total of eight programs from Texas, which is represented for the first time in the Academy, are included in the 12 new clubs. With the additions, the Academy will now field 74 clubs, plus the U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team for the second year of the national team program.
Launched in the fall of 2007 after a detailed review of player development systems in the U.S. and across the world, the Development Academy has provided over 3,000 players, 400 coaches and 500 referees with a nationally-coordinated program designed to enhance their development environment. Focusing on all aspects of player development, the Academy has improved the training environment, provided relevant, high-level matches on a consistent basis, increased the level and efficiency of scouting for the national teams and provided players, coaches and referees with structured programming. The Academy has also connected national team resources, such as Gatorade Hydration Testing, to clubs in order to educate coaches and players on enhancing performance.
The next wave of resources includes a partnership with Nike and SPARQ that provides a valuable training component for every player in the Development Academy, and the use of ProZone for video and statistical analysis. SPARQ is a training resource that uses a standardized method of testing to provide athletes with assessment and training tools to help them improve their physical capabilities. ProZone provides coaches of major professional clubs across the world with a detailed statistical game analysis to help them closely monitor and evaluate team and player performances.
“Over the past eight months, we’ve seen the U.S. Soccer Development Academy have an immediate and positive impact on soccer in the United States,” said Development Academy Technical Director John Hackworth. “Moving into our second year, we’ve added a number of elements that will continue to help us provide the greatest environment possible for players, coaches and referees in the Academy, not the least of which is the addition of 12 quality soccer clubs. The Development Academy will always be an on-going process for us, improving year-in and year-out while helping to provide thousands of athletes the platform to develop as soccer players."
FC Dallas, the Los Angeles Galaxy and the New England Revolution were added to the Academy, bringing the number of MLS teams to nine overall. They join the Chicago Fire, Chivas USA, Colorado Rapids, Columbus Crew, D.C. United and New York Red Bulls as Development Academy participants. The Kansas City Wizards will join in 2009-10.
The other nine new clubs come from Texas and California, two states with a strong history of producing players for the Men’s National Team.
The Academy Clubs admitted from Texas include some of the strongest boys’ programs in the country. FC Dallas (Frisco, Texas), Andromeda SC (Plano, Texas), the Dallas Texans (Dallas, Texas) and Solar SC (Dallas, Texas) will train and play in a Dallas/Ft. Worth market famous for producing national team players such as Clint Dempsey, Kenny Cooper, Drew Moor and Lee Nguyen.
Texas Soccer Club (Spring, Texas) and Texas RUSH (The Woodlands, Texas) are based in the Houston area. Both founded in the last four years, Classics Elite (San Antonio, Texas) and Lonestar Soccer Club (Austin, Texas) round out the first-year Development Academy Clubs representing Texas.
The Santa Cruz County Breakers (Santa Cruz, Calif.) and Danville Mustangs (Danville, Calif.) will complement the De Anza Force (Cupertino, Calif.) in the San Francisco Bay Area. With a long history of producing top U.S. internationals, the additional clubs will provide more opportunities for elite youth players to train and compete in the Academy program.
In addition to the 12 new clubs, all 63 clubs who have been involved in the inaugural year of the Development Academy program will be returning in 2008-09. As with the initial class of Academy admissions, each club will enter an Academy team into both the U-15/16 and U-17/18 mixed age groups. Academy conferences will be realigned for next year’s season to reduce travel and continue to provide a diversity of meaningful competition.
New 2008-09 Academy Clubs (Complete list of 2007-08 Academy clubs):
• Andromeda SC (Plano, Texas)
• Classics Elite (San Antonio, Texas)
• Dallas Texans (Dallas, Texas)
• Danville Mustangs (Danville, Calif.)
• FC Dallas (Frisco, Texas)
• Los Angeles Galaxy (Carson, Calif.)
• Lonestar SC (Austin, Texas)
• New England Revolution (Foxborough, Mass.)
• Santa Cruz County Breakers (Santa Cruz, Calif.)
• Solar SC (Dallas, Texas)
• Texas SC (Spring, Texas)
• Texas RUSH (The Woodlands, Texas)