Developing the Next Generation
U.S. Soccer's Development Academy program is driven by the game and its players, coaches and referees. This game-centric approach allows for long-term development to occur through a deep understanding of what makes players successful around the world. As the sport of soccer grows in the United States, young players in our country need the proper environment to compete against the world's elite. The U.S. Soccer Development Academy program provides the optimum developmental environment for the nation's top youth soccer players, coaches and referees by emphasizing development through quality training and limited, meaningful competition.
Academy teams spend a greater amount of time focused on training to improve as individuals and as a team. The teams and players receive direct feedback and evaluations from National Team Staff and ProZone video analysis. To round-out the complete training environment, Academy teams are tested in their physical capabilities using the SPARQ testing methodology and their hydration levels by Gatorade. They also receive a SPARQ training curriculum for soccer-specific athletic training and Nutrition and Hydration recommendations from Gatorade's Sports Science Institute. Each athlete then gains a greater understanding of how they compare physically against their peers and what they need to do to achieve their optimal performance levels.
The Academy program features teams from the top youth clubs from around the country. Each Academy team plays approximately 30 regular season games to ensure all games are meaningful. Games are also played according to FIFA's Laws of the Game and officiated by a pool of the nation's top young referees in order to prepare players for the next level of competition. National Team Scouts regularly attend Academy games, so players are evaluated over the course of the season and in their natural positions allowing for better player assessment.
As the program enters its sixth year, it has already impacted the player development process in the United States. Since inception, more than 300 players from Academy clubs have been included in U.S. Youth National Teams, and 17 were a part of the U.S. rosters for the 2009 FIFA U-17 and U-20 World Cups. Virtually all college programs use the Academy program as a scouting vehicle.
Several Academy players have attracted interest and signed with professional clubs both in MLS and abroad. Recent internationals include: Josh Gatt (Molde FC), Sean Cunningham (Derby County), Marc Pelosi and Villyan Bijev (Liverpool). Many domestic players are continuing their career in MLS, including Juan Agudelo (New York Red Bulls), Diego Fagundez (New England Revolution), Andy Najar and Bill Hamid (D.C. United). Development Academy players in the 2012 MLS Super Draft include first overall pick Andrew Wenger (PA Classics, Montreal Impact), third overall pick Kelyn Rowe (Crossfire Premier, New England Revolution) and eighth overall pick Andrew Jean-Baptiste (Albertson SC, Portland Timbers).
For a more in-depth overview of the U.S. Soccer Development Academy, visit www.ussoccer.com/Teams/Development-Academy/Academy-Overview.aspx
For Frequently Asked Questions of the U.S. Soccer Development Academy visit http://www.ussoccer.com/Teams/Development-Academy/FAQs.aspx
To see the list of clubs in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy visit academy.demosphere.com/
To view the latest information on the U.S. Soccer Development Academy, please visit the Development Academy Home Page on www.ussoccer.com/Teams/Development-Academy/Academy.aspx