1. What is the US Soccer Development Academy?
The Development Academy is a partnership between U.S. Soccer and the top youth clubs around the country to provide the best youth players in the U.S. with an everyday environment designed to produce the next generation of National Team players. The Academy’s programming philosophy is based on increased training, less total games and more competitive games.
2. Can Academy teams participate in Non-Academy competitions?
Development Academy Teams are only permitted to participate in Academy Competitions (League games, Showcases, Playoffs and Finals) and non-Academy events approved by the Academy Technical Committee. (Dallas Cup, Surf Cup & SCDSL showcase events).
3. How many games are played and how long is the season?
Each Academy club plays approximately 30 to 40 league games. The league season begins in September and ends in June. Clubs will break from league play for short periods of inactivity and for the winter holidays. Development Academy teams can only play 1 game per day and are not allowed to play 3 consecutive days of games. One mandatory rest day will be implemented in a 3 game event. Additionally, SDSC Academy teams may play scrimmages vs. other USSDA teams for a total of 40-45 games in a season. The team will participate in futsal training in December and January and in an USSDA Futsal competition in mid-January.
Members of the US Soccer Development Academy Scouting Network regularly attend Academy games, so players are evaluated over the course of the season and in their natural positions allowing for the best player assessment. The Academy connects National Team coaches directly with the Academy clubs to develop and identify players and coaches for future Youth National Teams. Each Academy club is evaluated by a member of the U.S. Soccer Scouting Network several times each year.
5. How many days per week will the US Soccer Development teams train?
SDSC Boys U12 US Soccer Development Academy teams will train a minimum of 3 days per week starting in July. Players are expected to attend all practices to be considered for competition in games.
6. Professionalized Coaching
Players receive integrated oversight from Academy club coaches and U.S. Soccer Technical Advisors in their local environment. Developing a world-class coaching system is fundamental to developing world-class players. As the game of soccer is constantly evolving, it is important that coaches are knowledgeable on current domestic and international trends. U.S. Soccer Coaching Education supports the Development Academy in its initiative to require minimum certification for all technical staff. These requirements are:
- Academy club directors: USSF 'A' License and must complete the Academy Director's course
- Academy club technical staff: USSF 'B' license (minimum)
7. What is a Developmental Player (also called a DP)?
Our coaching staff will select a roster of Full-Time players for the Development Academy team. In addition, certain players may be selected as Developmental Players (DP’s) throughout the season. DP’s will play Full Time on one of the other SDSC teams in their age group and will be able to play with the DA team for a total of 6 matches in a season. DP’s will be able to train with the DA team on days they do not train with their primary team. The coaching staff closely watches the development of the DP and may move certain players to Full-Time status later in the season. DP’s are allowed to participate in High School soccer programs.
8. Are scholarships available?
Scholarships are available based upon merit and need. The club is always creating ways to make soccer more affordable and has lots of fundraising opportunities available throughout the season in which families can participate to help off-set travel expenses. In addition, the club actively seeks sponsors to offset the costs associated with the program.
Additional Information about US Soccer Development Academy
Coaching education programs are provided by US Soccer to keep coaches up to date with the latest training techniques. US Soccer is continuously evaluating US Soccer Development Academy clubs in regards to their training facilities, training methods & playing style discipline, coaching curriculum & other US Soccer Development Academy Club obligations.
About the Program
Created in 2007, the development academy was established to primarily focus on youth player development in the United States. Currently in its ninth season, the program has expanded to over a hundred clubs competing in geographically-based divisions. The basic mission and principles are increased focus on training, meaningful competition and a providing a direct connection to U.S. National Team programming.
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. Using a multitude of feedback systems, each athlete gains a greater understanding of how he compares against his peers and what he needs to do to achieve their optimal performance levels.
Video: all Academy games are filmed
The Academy provides various resources related to sports medicine, including mandatory concussion testing, requiring medical personnel at each Academy competition, providing U.S. Soccer Heat Guidelines, and offering secondary insurance coverage.