|24 States and the District of Columbia Represented in Program’s Inaugural Year with Clubs Focused on Improving Development Environment
CHICAGO (August 7, 2007) – Thirteen final clubs have been selected to join U.S. Soccer’s Development Academy, bringing the total number of clubs taking part in the first year of the revolutionary new program to 64. The Development Academy concept is a comprehensive program providing more than just improved competition in the development of players. It involves the training of players, coaches and referees, scouting by U.S. National Team and college coaches, and the sharing of the latest information and concepts on performance training and expertise development.
“The Development Academy has been implemented to shift the focus of the young elite player toward a ‘meaningful training and competition’ model, with the U.S. Soccer Federation taking the initiative to extend its National Team program into the daily environment of the elite player,” said U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati. “The response thus far has been unprecedented for a youth initiative.”
The admission process was extremely competitive with more than 150 applications being submitted in less than two months. The competition component of the Academy will feature 63 clubs, representing 24 states and the District of Columbia, plus the U.S. National Team from U.S. Soccer’s Residency Program, playing at the Under-15/16 and Under-17/18 age levels.
“We are excited about the high level of quality in the clubs that will partner with U.S. Soccer to extend our National Team training models into their everyday environment,” said U.S. U-17 Men’s National Team Head Coach John Hackworth. “As we work with the clubs and enable the players to have more training time, we anticipate only positive improvements for the national teams as well.”
The 64 teams will be divided into eight conferences, each comprised of eight teams based largely on geographic proximity. Each team will play approximately 30 matches during an eight-month season, with the winner of each conference playing in the Academy Finals at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. Additional Development Academy program elements such as a Technical Workshop and Best Practices seminars are being finalized.
“The clubs participating in the inaugural Academy season represent a shared vision of player development and the desire to change the current landscape,” said U.S. Soccer’s Director of Coaching Education Bob Jenkins. “These clubs were selected because of their ability to implement the best development environment for our elite youth players.”
Player Development Academy Information
The Development Academy kicks off in September with a two-day orientation in Chicago. The first matches of the inaugural season will then begin during the first week of October. Teams will compete in three different types of game weekends – individual conference games, travel partner weekends and showcase weekends to provide them with the optimum balance of playing rhythm, economy of travel and exposure to scouts.
In addition to improving the daily environment for players, the Academy will also provide a better development platform for coaches and referees. Each club will receive two invitations to attend the U.S. Soccer Development Academy Best Practices seminars, providing coaches with the opportunity to keep updated on the latest styles and methods of coaching being used at the national level. U.S. Soccer will assign referees to the Academy matches, providing them with more opportunities to develop.
The final 13 clubs joining the Development Academy come from 10 different states:
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
U.S. Soccer Development Academy Clubs (listed by conference)
Great Lakes Conference