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Real Salt Lake-Arizona to Join U.S. Soccer Development Academy for 2010-11 Season

• Former U.S. MNT Defender Greg Vanney to Lead MLS Youth Club Beginning in the Fall
• Casa Grande-Based Club to Become the 78th Member of the Academy Program
• Minnesota Thunder and Shattuck-St. Mary’s Two Other New Clubs for Next Season

CHICAGO (June 7, 2010) – After an additional Development Academy membership slot opened up for 2010-11, U.S. Soccer has selected Real Salt Lake-Arizona Academy to join for the 2010-11 season. On hand for an orientation during the Spring Showcase in Sarasota, Fla., Real Salt Lake Arizona will become the 78th team in the program when it begins play during the fall.

The RSL-Arizona Academy was founded in 2007, and is one of three youth programs run by the Major League Soccer club, with the other two based in Utah and Florida. Since its inception, the club has stressed individual training, technical skill and the importance of the team setting.

Former U.S. Men’s National Team player Greg Vanney is at the helm of the Arizona program, and has been involved in the Development Academy during the 2009-10 season, working as a scout involved with player identification and development.

RSL-AZ Academy will hold preseason training camp and games at Grande Sports World, a 45-acre campus that includes eight soccer fields, a hotel, indoor training facility and performance center that includes everything teams need to be successful.

The Casa Grande-based club will become the 78th club to participate in the 2010-11 Development Academy season, joining two other new clubs, Minnesota Thunder and Shattuck-St. Mary’s in Minnesota. RSL-Arizona will participate in the highly competitive SoCal Division alongside clubs from Southern California.

During the application process, U.S. Soccer received a competitive pool of more than 200 applicants, all of which were evaluated to determine which clubs had the best potential to generate future national team players. The evaluation was based on a number of categories, including geographic location, history of player production, coaching staff and administrative capabilities.

The Academy program was created to enhance the player development environment for elite youth players in the United States in accordance with U.S. Soccer Best Practices, with specific focus on increasing the number of training sessions, decreasing the total number of games while increasing the number of quality games and maintaining the highest level of coaching, refereeing and competition available in an everyday environment.

Aside from providing clubs with a soccer-centric environment, the Academy program also provides a platform to systematically improve the player identification and development processes. Over half of the Academy matches are attended by a national team scout, resulting in a comprehensive system to evaluate player, coach and referee talent.

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 provides players, coaches and referees a nationally-coordinated program designed to enhance their development environment. 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. For more information on the U.S. Soccer Development Academy, log on to