US Soccer Announces Girls Development Academy Program
US Soccer Announces Girls Development Academy Program avatar

U.S. Soccer has doubled down on its sometimes controversial Academy system by today announcing the formation of Girls Development Academy Program slated to begin in the fall of 2017.

ISIDA120212289The boys program began in 2007 and has been criticized for some of its edicts, eliciting an especially emotional response by prohibiting players on Academy teams from playing High School soccer.

The organization is sticking to its guns on that issue saying in today’s statement that “players in the Girls’ Development Academy clubs will play exclusively within the Academy program and will not play in any outside competition, such as ODP (Olympic Development Program) or high school.”

That same statement says that U.S. Soccer is launching the Academy Development Program, “in an effort to accelerate the development of world-class female players.”

Heinrich (ISI Photos/Jose L. Argueta)

Heinrich is currently the women’s technical director. (ISI Photos/Jose L. Argueta)

U.S. Soccer Women’s Technical Director April Heinrichs had this to say in today’s statement:

“In support of U.S. Soccer’s long-term plan for player and coach development, launching a Girls’ Development Academy is part of an unprecedented commitment to elevating the women’s game. This program will directly impact the everyday environment for clubs and further connect players and coaches to our National Teams. From a program perspective, we will educate both players and coaches on position-specific roles, physical and psychosocial planning and preparation, current coaching methodologies and the use of sport science and technology.”

This will have a huge impact on the whole of the girls game. (GotSoccer)

This will have a huge impact on the whole of the girls game. (GotSoccer)

For clubs interested in joining the new Girls Academy the application process will open in May of 2016.

For more on the new program go to USSoccer.com

About Peter Nolan

Peter Nolan is a staff writer for the GotSoccer Magazine, covering MLS and other US leagues, He's GotSoccer's chief National Team Correspondent.
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46 Responses to US Soccer Announces Girls Development Academy Program
US Soccer Announces Girls Development Academy Program avatar

  1. PCasanave says:

    It is great that US Soccer is taking the ladies more seriously. That being said, the will drive out academy talent at the high school level, where participating is more about fitting into an athletic social grouping. This is an idiotic move, by those with vary narrow vision into what has kept US Women’s Soccer on the top stage while our mens’ teams have struggled. The better play would be figuring out hat they have done right with the ladies and emulate that on the men’s side, vs copying habits from our still broken men’s system…. If we want to get better, we have to figure out how to get better coaches from around the world to satisfy our coaching competency deficit, get rid of the parent coaches (coaching their kids “for family fun” without real world experience at significant levels of play or understanding), and stop penalizing coaches for holding players to high standards. We have to stop thinking the numbers games too; from 3-8 it has to be about getting as many kiddos feet on soccer balls around the nation as possible. After that, we need to start being honest to kids in our awards in the form of ribbons or trophies and in the form of playing time. After 8 years old, children have learned to strive for things that they truly want but cannot get without hard work and success. In the US, we still believe in equal playing time almost all the way through the developmental years, and in so are killing their ability to grow.

    We need to ditch the idiotic rules, such as cannot play with high school teams, and get back to developing love for success on the field. This will make more real lovers of the and ambassadors for the game that our old silly habits.

    • Dave LaMarre says:

      You are spot on P Casanave – US Women are World Class – THE BEST, gleaning anything from the Men’s program to model after is laughable.

      • Dmax says:

        The main reason US women’s soccer has succeeded is because we actually have programs for both girls and boys. Most countries don’t have those programs for girls.

        I have had visitors from UK, Romania and South America who ask to go see girls youth soccer games because it is unheard of in their country. They are amazed at the facilities available and the skills on display.

        Men’s program is not only behind other countries like our Women’s program is so far ahead others but it is also not considered a top sport for boys like Football, Baseball, Basketball, heck even Hockey. So talent is diverted to other sports. We have too many options which is a great thing but also means our soccer (yeah Futbol) program suffers.

    • Matthew N Klunis says:

      PCas,
      Great call! The most important statement I see in your response is: “get back to developing love for success on the field”. Thank you for your thoughts

    • peppa says:

      PCasanave I also think you are right in saying this…being someone who played this game as a young child and still do…I believe being involved in high school sports is important…why fix something that is not broken…I do believe having an opportunity to play in an academy setting would definitely help young developing players, but we all know that there is a cost for this which a lot of talented players can’t afford and that is something I think everyone overlook.

  2. Pitchrat says:

    I agree with with some of the comments made by and the conclusion drawn by PCasanave but for a few different reasons. I believe the only way to make the USA men’s program a contender on the world wide stage is to make the sport more popular in this country. That would bring more of our better athletes to the sport. That will not be accomplished by taking quality soccer out of high schools. I believe it’s a function of USSoccer being run with a European mindset that doesn’t understand the importance of high school athletics in the US and the connection it has to overall athletic success.
    The US Women are more successful because they don’t have as many professional sport opportunities as men so more of the better athletes pursue soccer. The Academy program could actually be counter productive for women if the restrict high school play.
    Very short sighted.

  3. Be La Sheezy says:

    Obviously the system for women is solid given our recent success. I’d rather my daughter enjoy four years of high school with her best friends than sacrifice it all for a very slim chance at making the USA roster. It’s about quality of life plus if she’s that good without this development plan, then she will make it.

    • David says:

      I agree wholeheartedly. At some point, sports end and then you need to be able to adjust to life outside of sports. Traveling academy teams that take kids away from friends will affect long term personal development. Sports are a part of life but devoting all of your time to it works out for very few kids. It is the same in football, basketball, and soccer. My daughter made an Academy team with a great coach but decided school, friends, and scouts were more important to her.

  4. Cactus says:

    A good idea to form the women’s academy and focus on it nationally.

    The good: This will become the elite women’s program and will bump ECNL down to just another league where it should be. The ECNL is more about deep pocket books and who you know at the ECNL club; there are many terrible ECNL teams out there.

    The bad: No high school soccer for girls… be interesting to see where this goes and what girls choose. High School sports is all about the social aspect and being with friends.

    The uncertain: No ODP or id2. I guess these academy girls may have a fast track or better exposure at the academy.

  5. Donna Colson says:

    When is this self-actualizing organization going to realize that the vast majority of these female players are going to reach the pinnacle of their soccer careers playing in high school and that they should go to the best academic college they can, regardless of playing soccer. So much of this is driven by parents vicariously living via their kids and over enthusiastic soccer coaches who are making a killing in the biggest financial scheme since FIFA. Sports are great, they build character and other important qualities and skills that will contribute to a lifetime of success and achievement in the real world, not the contrived soccer world. Go ahead girls – learn how to “fly your colors” on your high school teams, get some fun local press and enjoy the best time of your life! You can never get that time back.

    • Max C says:

      The girl get to choose, if she doesn’t want to miss those 4 “wonderful” years of HS soccer; then she can play everywhere else, but at the academy level. Is a free choice!!

  6. Max C says:

    The High school soccer phenomena is all about a social activity, and that’s fine, but there is a need for real coaches and not only coaches that the most they know about soccer is Will Ferrell movie “kicking and screaming”!!! Also, there is a need for more player selectivity at the high school level, since you usually get those players that only play soccer once a year in H.S. and that’s it. What ends up happening is the girls that really want to play competitively, and play all year around in club, get hurt during H.S because of these inexperience players. Right now, the real soccer is only in Club, not in H.S.! High school is for fun, nothing else, but is not fun anymore when you get your ACL blown by somebody that has NO IDEA of what soccer is all about.

    • DB says:

      Those “NO IDEA” players probably exist in club as much as HS – I have the doctor bills to prove it. There are good HS coaches and crap club coaches – I also can show many examples of that. Like anything it all depends on so many factors – so to say either way it will work or not is only your little view of the world and the biases you have from your particular experience. You will lose many quality players who want to play in HS – that is a fact they will have to deal with.

    • Soccer435yrs says:

      High School is all about the “social aspect” and “fun”…Really?? WTH are you smoking??

      I have spent 9 years as a player, 6 as a coach from ages 8 to high school, boys and girls, and a parent of Club/Select player. My father was a coach for 35 years at the high school girls level. He was offered college jobs for years but turned them down because of the Politics, travel away from home, and while pay was better, the system was a meatgrinder. He is one of the winning-est coaches of all time in Southern CA, with 2 CIF titles and 6 Runner-ups in the Div 1A – CA division of the largest schools. I have been in and around soccer for 35 years now at all levels below Professional.

      In high school athletics it is ALL about WINNING that League, District, Regional, and State title, getting that National Program ranking. It isn’t about “social fun” for the guys or girls. They all want that ring! or at least the right to purchase it. You take PRIDE in the fact that your school is the undefeated champs of your League, Region, or State. You travel to other States and out of State tournaments to PROVE you are the Best in the West or Nation.

      What US Soccer does not get is that for some of these kids, HS will be the PEAK of their career. Even if they go to a NCAA Div 1 school, get that scholarship, then make the 1st Team, they still might spend the next 4-5 years and NEVER win a national title, NEVER make a professional team, NEVER get the National Team or Olympic Team nod. WHY? Because of the POLITICS at the National level – who was your club, club coach, club league? Were you in DA, ENCL, ODP….blah blah blah blah…? Take a look at our MNT and WNT and you will notices that ALL the players come from the same Regions of the US as the coaching staff, the same group of colleges, the same development programs. WHY? Because they are BETTER… NO…. POLITICS!!

      US Soccer is going to regulate the drive, skill, desire, and YES, the FUN right out of these kids who will NEVER get to seek that TITLE, whether it be in HS or their Club or DA or whatever else. This is IDIOTIC! And this is coming from a LIFE TIME in and around soccer in the USA with time listening to my father who had friends that were National Level scouts/recruiters, college scouts/recruiters, Premiere League scouts here in the USA, meeting these men myself and hearing what they had to say about the PROBLEM with US Soccer.

      We PUSH too FAST, too HARD, and we REMOVE the FUN from the game. Most top level Men’s Programs in other countries don’t even let the kids play ANY ORGANIZED level games until they are 10-12 years old. They don’t focus on “winning at all costs” like the USA does, they focus on SKILL DEVELOPMENT – BASIC skill development in organic environments (kids just playing with each other in the park, small sided games, just messing around on a field).

      Taking the FUN out of a sport by not allowing players to be SOCIAL as they play, on a club team or high school team, drives your BEST players into sports were they CAN get that State or National title BEFORE college and Professional levels. This STUPID policy to block DA players from being on high school teams, pushing TOO HARD TOO SOON, is why the US MNT is CONSISTENTLY getting ran up and down the field and made to look like pee wees playing Professionals from other countries. It will do the same to the US WNT program as well if US Soccer doesn’t PULL THEIR HEADS OUT.

  7. Brianna says:

    All I see hear is yet another reason US Youth soccer should go off on their own and end their membership with US Soccer. The current US program for women is already “world class.” US women are much more successful then the US Men’s teams and despite that fact the women still by professional athlete standards are not compensated well enough to retire financially stable at the end of their careers.

    I interpret this as another hostile advance along with age group mandates to cut the legs off Youth Soccer and the US Youth Soccer organization. US Youth Soccer works much better to consider it as feeding to the Collegiate / NCAA level.

    • JD says:

      on your last para, agreed Brianna! we already have a huge dropoff in girls playing once they get to high school – the high school experience, while normally not a very high level, is too important to shuck off. there are cultural implications (read: we are not just looking for players, we are looking for life long soccer fans) and continuity of experience that considers how important high school experiences are should be thought out more clearly. This is as bad an idea for this goal as is the year age based cutoff- which also clearly ignores how influential playing with your classmates is for young kids. you cannot successfully force change the system to support generating higher level players at the expense of the overall development of soccer culture in the very large and geographically/demographically disperse United States.

  8. Biff Jones says:

    Absolutely, short sighted on both the men’s and women’s sides. Until the US abandons high school as it is implemented in the US, we must work with it. We are impatient in our pursuit to be the best. There are many countries around the world where soccer is #1, but they don’t win on the big stage. Soccer is different then other sports. It’s one that you can play for life. I’m into my 50’s and I have been playing continually since I was 7. I can’t get enough. It is the love of the the game that will get the U.S. to the top, but it won’t even matter at that point because it will be part of who we are, like baseball, football or basketball.

    I play every week and it is clear that the problem is that youth in the US are still being coached poorly even by pedigreed athletes that still believe in over the top, brute force tactics. Stop with the short term tactics to win and teach a philosophy of play that transcends the individuals on a team. That’s what can be seen in Barcelona’s play or the great Russian hockey teams. The US is way behind in out understanding of the art of the game. Mere athleticism is not going to solve it or killing HS soccer which is likely the source of much of the local fan base.

  9. John D. says:

    I’m not sure why HS is being brought up here… The question is how will the Girls USDA compete with ECNL?? And YES, we still need to look at ways to improve our women, just like we do with our men. Especially since we are seeing more countries promoting a “women are equal” agenda – those countries women’s teams are getting more competitive, that’s why we still need to keep the process growing. (remember which countries’ women do well – it’s the ones in which women are respected and treated equally – as it should be)

  10. KB says:

    I have to say…I agree with Max.
    There are young women who “play” soccer because that’s what they’ve always done and young women who “live” it and truly love the game. Academy allows those who love the game and have excelled at it physically and mentally to experience next level training.

    My daughter decided herself not to compete in HS soccer. She trains 4-5 days a week with specialized training to fulfill her soccer goal of playing for a top college and potentially professionally or with the USWNT. She made the decision not to play HS to avoid injury and overtraining. The idea was to get the most out of the time she spent training and felt that she received nothing of real substance from HS soccer. I would agree that HS soccer is mostly just about fun. And that’s not a knock. To each his own.

    The choice is yours to make if your daughter is selected for this next level training. I understand the argument for those who have a daughter that has a different college goal or doesn’t want to miss out on HS relationships. However, I would think if your daughter were selected, not playing HS soccer would be a no brainer.

    • Alan says:

      I agree that it should be the player’s choice in the matter. But I am not convinced that many HS would not accommodate an academy player by ensuring that they do not overtrain them but still allow for social interaction and game play. I think many kids would take schools up on that.

      The isolation that seems to come from joining an academy reminds me of what I had heard of some countries isolation of very young kids just so that they could be developed for national team duty. (Think China and their women’s gymnastics stars.) Seems far-fetched? But just look at how local academies in soccer are starting teams at younger and younger ages. Some kids don’t even have a rec experience anymore. Is there any doubt whatsoever that money is the driver for this?

      Stating that this is all just a lack of good coaching is bull. Really, what this country lacks is that kids just don’t go out and play anymore. 3-8 year old kids don’t need Europe-class coaching, they just need to get outside and play with a ball at their feet.

      I know of one local ECNL kid who played HS ball. Not sure what the coach thought about that, but I do know that the club was not high on kids playing HS. I hope more and more kids tell the clubs to stuff it and do what they want.

      I think it is great if a kid is truly self-motivated to get onto an academy, WNT, etc. But at a young age, it is important for the parent guide with some reality. First of all, education cannot be sacrificed for the sport. The odds of a girl ever making a living by playing soccer is vanishingly small. But the path and the work involved to achieve the goal, even if they not they are achieved, can be valuable life lessons and extremely enjoyable. But if education goals are sacrificed, the enjoyment of the moment will fade very quickly as they struggle to move through life.

  11. FRW says:

    Not allowing HS soccer for girls in the academy program is another poorly thought out move by U.S. Soccer. Just add it to the change in the new calendar year age rules that makes no sense. Whoever is pushing these decisions clearly has some other agenda and needs to be removed from their position as these decisions are going to continue to push kids away form soccer. And all this for the less than 1% of the kids that play soccer across the country that may play on the national level if they are lucky. Most kids will be lucky to play on their high school team (grade based) and a small percentage of them may have the chance to play in college. Decisions that just make no sense.

  12. Jeff Clickstein says:

    While proper coaching and training are key to producing world class players and teams, let’s not forget that if a player is forced to give up HS soccer to participate in the academy, she is giving up what could be 4 of the best years of her life. There are gives and takes but, giving up that 4 years is something that you can never get back. Take the best players for the academy but, allow them to play HS as well!

  13. Travis says:

    This is just another money grab by the USSF. The ECNL is by far, inside and out, fulfilling the development of girls soccer. There are some bad ECNL teams out there, but game in and game out, the competition is relentless. The USSF dropped the ball by ignoring the girls 8 years ago, and now they see the success of ECNL, and they want their share of the pie……just a joke.

  14. Dennis says:

    Just look at the Boy’s DA Program…not an overwhelming success on any front…what’s next no college play either?

  15. KMunshower says:

    Unfortunately my trust for US soccer seems to be diminishing over time. The implantation of the birth year, not showing up at the convention and offering solutions or reason, the failure of the men’s system and now seeing what they want to do to the women’s side when we have competed at the highest level on the world stage is very disheartening.

  16. msk says:

    If they had more brains and less ego they would find a way to work with the schools not against them! Why not find a way to integrate and run soccer program for the schools?

    Like some one pointed out earlier, it is about more feet on the ball. Anyone who thinks making the sport even more exclusive and puts even more impediments to playing, (espically for lower income kids who don’t have the resources or family support and therefore wont play sports outside of school)just doesn’t get it.

    • Alan says:

      If I remember correctly, the non-USA academies fully cover the costs for those kids selected. This is paid by money received by the national teams from the professional clubs as part of the development process.

      If I am correct, then is that the way the US program runs. If they are going to do this, that is the way it should be. No family asked to join should be asked to pay for coaching or facilities. And travel should be covered for the players. Otherwise this is just another pay to play scheme and an obvious hedging in on ECNL, which itself has this as a major flaw.

      No pay means that truly the best will be in development. Some of the most dedicated young players would never think of trying out or ask to be recommended, even if scholarships are offered. By if US Soccer puts out a true call for the best players at no cost, then they will come. But only if none pay.

      That this is a money grab for some (probably most) ECNL clubs is reflected in the lack of “scholarship players” on those clubs. Info night at the local Seattle area ECNL club never mentioned scholarships. They did mention trying to get sponsors, which they stated they have failed to do since the inception of ECNL. This club cost as much or more than any other local club. Apparently the $ from the sponsors this club displays on its uniforms only covers the cost of putting the sponsors logo on the uniforms! Somebody is making a lot of money.

      If these Academies truly want the very best, limit themselves to just the number of kids and locations to foster the very best, AND fund it fully, then it will put some of this overpricing and over promising business out of business.

  17. MAG says:

    The huge difference in soccer and many other sports in this country is that its an upper middle class sport in all the upper levels. I would assume that this Academy will be no different. I know many top soccer players that dropped out of ODP because it was too expensive to travel all over the country and have the parents foot the bill. Now we have another elitist program starting that will also cater to the upper class and upper middle class players whose parents can afford it and many top players will be left behind. It seems that instead of bridging the gap and making soccer more accessible to all top players that the gap has now been widened and continues to be available to only the ones who can afford it. Also is US Soccer not competing against itself for players here? ODP is a US Soccer program, is it not? Why would you start another program to compete against yourself?

  18. TSG says:

    This is a grasp by USSF to remain relevant on the women’s side and to cater to those clubs / people who cannot make an ENCL team or whose club is upset that they cannot get an ECNL slot. I hear this all the time “our club should have an ECNL team, why only a certain number of ECNL teams per geographic locations, etc…….” Valid points, but keeping the ECNL at a reduced number improves quality of play, improves individual instruction, and makes everyone better. That is reality! Yes the ECNL is somewhat inclusive and is not available in all locals, but the quality of soccer is high level, and most college programs realize and understand this. As far as the high school choice, my daughter was one of two on her ECNL team that played high school, by her choice. At least she had that choice. She had numerous opportunities to play at the college level, but enjoyed the high school experience and made the determination that her future was more defined academically then athletically. Her choice though! And, at least in our area, the majority of players who spent time in the ECNL program or who played in the ECNL were far more skilled and versed in soccer then others, something I think will continue regardless of how the girls academy programs develop.

  19. Sepp Blatter says:

    Just send your money!

  20. MFW says:

    As I am currently in the midst of my daughter’s soccer trajectory, I’m thrilled to hear that US Soccer is throwing more support and, hopefully, clarity into the girls program. With national training centers, ODP pool and travel team, and club team, I am mystified at how complicated this all is. Shouldn’t your path be simple and crystal clear the better you get? Instead, we have the aforementioned morass of different avenues. If having a girls DA program helps to clear this up, and eliminate yet another avenue of high school soccer, then you get a rousing “alleluia” from me. And I have to agree with a few other posts: why the outcry at excluding high school play? There is certainly a positive social factor, but my daughter would not improve her skills and would be more likely to get hurt playing high school ball. As for the ECNL clubs, I understand their frustration. But if their coaches have the right licensure and they’re following a curriculum that embraces individual player development within a team environment—which they should be—then securing a DA slot should be no problem.

    • Todd Eggleston says:

      Yes, I am also currently in the midst of my daughter’s soccer experience. Our club has an ECNL program, and she is on the path for that team. She has been invited to USSoccer events and a super combine. It’s almost embarrassing to say she just turned 11. She’s the only u11 girl our club has ever sent to these events, and now is asked to train with the u14-15 training session at these events.

      Somewhere along the way (she’s now been playing soccer 2 years) I think “I think she has a bright future, and this might be worth investigating. I’ve been documenting and researching all of the confusion you alluded to in club soccer (ODP, State Classic League, Premier League, USYSA vs US Club, DA, ECNL, etc). It is quite a handful to understand for the casual soccer dad.

      At the end of the day…. I believe this is nothing more than a power (and money) struggle between two competing associations. USYSA and US Club. USYSA hates that US Club has the top girls development program in place. The ECNL has become the top level of girls soccer in the US. That means $ for the association, and prestige for the club to draw top players (also $). It’s a win for the club, and the association. USYSA completely dropped the ball in not having a top girls program. The coaches fervent about girls development and women’s soccer decided to break from USYSA and do it on their own – US Club (ECNL).

      USYSA does have the Development Academy for the boys, but ignored the girls training and competition for 30+ years. Now that US Club has developed the girls pathway (and there are LOTS of girl players), they want to try and take part of that action. This is nothing more than a power and $ tug from USYSA.

  21. JC says:

    It cracks me up to see people trying to defend this. If your daughter chooses not to play in HS to focus on club, that’s fine more power to them. But at least they had that choice. Under this plan they are forcing their decision. Believe me, even with a HS season there is more than enough time for club seasons and training.

    This is a money/power grab plain and simple. Go look at Alex Morgans bio and numerous other top American women players and see how much playing in HS hurt their development.

  22. Ken says:

    I have coached and refereed for 15 years in Dallas, Texas area. Both my girls played club soccer, coaches were terrible, after moving from team to team to find a better coach, they gave up playing club in HS. They both played HS ball for the love of the game and friends. I coached my son up through club, ran my own independent club team. I see the same, wants to play HS ball with friends and fun of the game. We tried ODP, but the schedule and money was not what we wanted. I think some attachment with club teams and HS would be a benefit. Also I have seen the watering down of club teams for the money aspect. Picking players that have no reason playing at the club level even though they can pay the money. These elites clubs look at $$ signs over teaching tactics. Also, this birth year change is for the birds. Now kids that have been playing with friends will change it all again for both genders, teams will divide and kids will stop playing at all levels.

  23. JDD says:

    I read the whole article and the comments people have made…I think that US Soccer is missing the mark.

    HS ball; especially for girls, is all about socialization and team building that will help them throughout their lives…while they can get the same type of social interaction on a club team, the focus is a little different. The combination of the two is still a good solution.

    Telling them they have to choose is not fair. It has not been fair for the boys side either…
    This approach still does not address the vast lack of knowledge that kids see in the coaching ranks as they progress through their soccer lives. The key issue is still not being addressed.

    WE NEED MORE QUALITY COACHES FROM THE EARLIEST TO THE LATER STAGES OF THEIR SOCCER CAREERS! IT’S THE SAME ISSUE WE FACE IN THE US REGARDING GOOD TEACHERS AT ALL THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS. WE NEED TO PLACE MENTORING AND TEACHING AHEAD OF THE ALMIGHTY DOLLAR WHEN IT COMES TO PREPARING THE KIDS TO PLAY SOCCER. THE TALENT IS OUT THERE!…THE ISSUE LIES IN BRINGING IT TO THE TABLE.

  24. Michael Reid says:

    I think this is the right move for US Soccer. The high school game is not to the standard of club soccer. Too many factors go into the picking of the team (finance, parent participation, and name status). Let the elite players play against elite players all year round. This will in turn lead to more average players participating in soccer at the high school level and then lead to future parents have their children participate in soccer. So many very good players hit their freshmen year of high school, make the varsity, then stop developing because that was their goal ( or sometimes their parents goal for status among other parents). By having and academy system, the goals will change. As important as education is, it doesn’t have anything to do with soccer. Soccer is not football or basketball where the paths to become professional is through college. A coach once said to parents: if your goal for your kid is a college scholarship, just invest the money you pay for soccer and you’d have your scholarship. If the youth player is good enough, let them get into the academy system, get them introduced to an international stage and continue development. The biggest concerns I would say are climate and the size of our country. US soccer is going to need more eyes to be able to spot the next Mallory Pugh. For every one we identify, I’m sure 3 or 4 are not, due to finace or location.

  25. Soccer Don says:

    These Academy programs are such a joke. They are running off more kids than they are developing. DA is starting to stand for Dumb A**es. Can you imagine a private football, baseball, or basketball club telling a kid they could not play MSHS sports if they wanted to be a part of their club. There would a lot of empty roster spots, gyms and fields for those clubs. US Soccer has it a** backwards. They need to be supplementing Middle and High School programs. They think by identifying kids and placing them in DA programs they will be able to prevent them from developing interest in other sports plus it helps keep the $$$$ in their pockets. Simple truth is there is a group of people at both the local and national levels who found a way to make a substantial profit off of youth sports and they are soaking parents for every penny than can while holding out the hope of their kid someday being a pro-soccer player. I’ll take a volunteer parent coaching a youth team over this group of scam artists any day.

  26. RU Serious says:

    One of the issues with US Soccer continues to be “too many hands in the cookie jar” too many governing bodies, doing too many different things. Every year new leagues and new structures are introduced all with the notion that they will somehow have the magic potion to creating elite soccer players. All of it is rubbish. There should be one governing body (USSF) and local affiliates that can take mandates and actually implement them. Here if we don’t agree with policies we simply created another “governing” body and start our own league. No where else in the world do we have so many “organizations” Here it’s all becoming a “money grab” with new clubs and organizations popping up almost weekly. Use our tournament schedule as an example. We have more tournaments going on that only impedes soccer development. Soccer is not intended to be played in such volume over a short period of time. I like the birth year mandate and the academy “10 month” edict. As for HS and Collegiate sports…School is for learning, Clubs are for sports. The 2 shouldn’t ever have been combined. Growing up in Europe, I would go to school during the day and then would go play soccer “for my club” in the afternoon and evening.

  27. SoccerFan says:

    It’s amazing to see all the politic that’s goes into this. Numbers don’t lie right? What’s the percentage of kids that will make it professionally? Small, very small. There are so many kids that are better and more skills out there that never make it because financially they are incapable or don’t have the grade. The idea would be awesome if the program is fully funded by US Soccer like one of the post mentioned. The very best players will be avaliable if there are NO cost to this program. Just imagine the talents out there that will be uncover if it’s FREE, all the players have to do is attend a try out and show off their skills. The DA would have an abundance players to choose from. If this is really about the development of the players, the future of US Soccer and not just the dollars $!

    • Todd Eggleston says:

      what you’ve described … is the case in many Central and South American Countries and Europe. Clubs see a kid and invite him to their Academy for: school, meals, soccer training, etc. A boarding school, soccer intensive.

  28. Mychel Clavero says:

    Hi All !
    Yes I can contribute to the fact.
    I am born in Chile ( South America) and raised in Canada. In chile the education system is very strict and so is Futbol . They have to me a great system , these clubs teach a variety of different age groups and charge $20 Canadian for a child. They coach them like 3 time per week in a month and once they see potential in a Female or Male they move them into a Cadet program where they coach the more advance players which could become Pro one day , and the best part of this is that you don’t pay NOTHING you can be in grade or high school and be part of this -school by day Futbol by afternoon, money doesn’t talk when it comes children having fun and learning life lessons – I could go on …..

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