U.S. Soccer Development Academy Championships Kick Off As Long-Term Plan for Improved Youth Soccer Player Development Continues
The U.S. Soccer Development Academy Championships kick off this weekend as top teams compete for the national prize. In a highly competitive atmosphere, the event will provide an unmatched player development experience for the elite youth soccer players.
Youth Soccer News: The goal is to develop better youth soccer players in the USA — sounds simple and yet with a country as vast as the USA, it is a challenging job for U.S. Soccer.
Who are the best DA Teams?
The mission to develop world-class players requires raising the bar on quality coaching and trying to create an effective funnel to gather all the best players spread across nearly 4 million square miles to compete against each other. The pipeline or the funnel to the U.S. National Team has been narrowed with the U.S. Soccer Development Academy and this is the end of the 10-month long season. While the emphasis in always on development, winning is important too.
Who will win the 2017 U.S. Soccer Development Academy Final?
On July 14, arguably, the four best youth soccer teams in the nation at the U15/16 and U17/18 levels came together at the U.S. Soccer National Training Center in Carson, California, to compete in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy Championships.
The Hardware Seekers
Who is leading the pack? FC Dallas has advanced to 3 straight Development Academy Finals — led by two goals from MLS homegrown player Jesus Ferreira, combined with an incredible goalkeeping performance by Michael Collodi. FC Dallas U-15/16’s took another step towards a third straight U.S. Soccer Development Academy championship on Friday, defeating Real Salt Lake AZ 3-0.
General Overview: Of the 73 clubs and 1,984 players from the entire U15/16 age group, the last four teams to make it to Carson are Real Salt Lake AZ, Atlanta United FC, FC Dallas and the Vancouver Whitecaps. At the conclusion of the season, each of the four clubs ranked in the top ten, based on points-per-game-played-average, finishing with rankings of nine, three, one and eight.
At the U17/18 age group, Friday’s semifinals matchups feature Seattle Sounders FC versus LA Galaxy and Texans SC Houston vs. Colorado Rapids. Seattle concluded their 2016-2017 regular season campaign with a number 18 overall seed, while Texans SC Houston, Colorado Rapids and LA Galaxy carved out 20, 30 and 32 seeds, respectively, heading into the 2017 Summer Showcase and Playoffs.
Match Update: A very wild end to highly competitive finish over Colorado Rapids sends Texans SC Houston to Development Academy U-17/18 Final.
And, it was not fast. It took 120 minutes and nine penalty kick attempts to crown a winner in the first U-17/18 semifinal game of the Development Academy Championships Friday night. READ MORE
July 14 Semifinal Games Played:
1:00 p.m. PT, U15/16, (1) FC Dallas vs. (9) Real Salt Lake AZ
3:00 p.m. PT, U15/16, (3) Atlanta United FC vs. (8) Vancouver Whitecaps
5:30 p.m. PT, U17/18, (20) Texans SC Houston vs. (30) Colorado Rapids
8:00 p.m. PT, U17/18, (18) Seattle Sounders FC vs. (32) LA Galaxy – See Video
Where, When and How to Watch
For its 10th consecutive year, the Academy Championships will take place at the U.S. Soccer National Training Center in Carson California, also home site of LA Galaxy’s Academy club.
Following Thursday’s semifinal matchups, all teams will rest on Saturday before lacing up their boots on Sunday. The day will include both championship matchups as well as a third-place game for both age groups.
Fans can tune into games live on the U.S. Soccer Development Academy Facebook page, and follow along via the Development Academy Twitter and Instagram accounts (@ussoccer_acad).
Players to Watch
Although all 144 players from the eight 18-man rosters will represent an incredibly elite group of youth athletes on display starting Thursday, there are certainly a few to keep an eye on.
Having already made their first team debuts, Jesus Ferreira (FC Dallas) has made a powerful influence on his younger comrades, while Andrew Carleton (Atlanta United FC) has been a vibrant spark for the first year Academy program looking to win it all.
Along with attempting to conquer the United States’ elite landscape at the Academy Championships, three players from the United States’ CONCACAF U17 World Cup Qualifying roster will be looking to prove themselves and earn a World Cup roster spot, come this October. After recently finding out that John Hackworth’s team will open against host India, followed by Ghana and Columbia, the following players will use their trip to Carson, the highest club level domestic experience, to get them prepared to conquer the rest of the World:
- Carleton, Atlanta United FC U15/16
- Zyen Jones, Atlanta United FC U15/16
- Bryan Reynolds, FC Dallas U15/16
Carleton delivers: Goals from Carleton and Conway lifted Atlanta United FC over Vancouver Whitecaps.
2016-2017 DEVELOPMENT ACADEMY End-Of-Year Awards
With the 2016-2017 season coming to a close this weekend, the U.S. Soccer Development Academy named its end of the year award winners, including Players and Coaches of the Year as well as Conference Best XI’s, at its pre-Academy Championships kickoff Banquet on Thursday. Award recipients represent the top youth players in the United States, with a large number receiving call ups to U.S. Youth National Team camps and tournaments throughout the season.
The awards were presented in groups based on the three Conferences of the Development Academy: West, Central and East. A total of 10 awards per Conference, the honors included:
U-15/16, U-17/18 Conference Best XI
U-15/16, U-17/18 Player of the Year
U-13, U-14, U-15/16, U-17/18 Coach of the Year
DA WEST CONFERENCE
In the West Conference, LA Galaxy’s Jorge Hernandez (U-15/16) and Seattle Sounders’ Trey Muse (U-17/18) were each given player of the year honors.
For coach of the year, Sean Forster of Pateadores (U-13), Mike Varas of Sacramento Republic FC (U-14), Simon Elliot of Sacramento Republic FC (U-15/16) and Martin Vasquez of Real Salt Lake AZ (U-17/18) were named Coaches of the Year in the West.
The following 22 players were named to the Conference Best XI teams:
GOALKEEPER: Sam Fowler (Seattle Sounders FC)
DEFENDERS: Travian Sousa (Sacramento Republic FC), Leonardo Sepulveda (LA Galaxy), Khai Brisco (Seattle Sounders FC), Lorenzo Lopez (Portland Timbers)
MIDFIELDERS: Cameron Harper (Pateadores), Richard Ledezma (Real Salt Lake AZ), Taylor Jacob Davila (Real So Cal)
FORWARDS: Jorge Hernandez (LA Galaxy), Sebastian Soto (Real Salt Lake AZ), Declan McGlynn (Crossfire Premier)
GOALKEEPER: Trey Muse (Seattle Sounders FC)
DEFENDERS: Erick Gallinar (LA Galaxy), Glademir Mendoza (Real Salt Lake AZ), Christopher Grey (San Jose Earthquakes), Samual Rogers (Seattle Sounders FC)
MIDFIELDERS: Charles Wehan (Strikers FC), Giovanni Aguilar (Sacramento Republic FC), Andrew Paoli (San Jose Earthquakes)
FORWARDS: Wilson Harris (Real So Cal), Lucas Cini (Portland Timbers), Francis Avoce (Sacramento Republic FC)
For the other Conferences, please click to U.S. Soccer
What is next for the U.S. Soccer Development Academy?
The second biggest expansion of the U.S. Soccer Development Academy is underway for the 2017-2018 and this new season will also mark the launch of the new Girls’ DA. Here is an update on the changes:
Here is an update on some of the relevant changes:
The U.S. Soccer Development Academy (DA) has grown significantly, adding 17 Clubs, 165 teams and 2 divisions for 2017-18 Season.
For the upcoming season, there will be a total of 620 youth soccer team participating in the DA from 165 youth soccer clubs.Teams: 620 Unique Academy Clubs: 16517 new, unique clubs accepted into the Academy, 108 existing clubs receiving promotions into additional age groups and two new geographical regions – the Portland and Seattle markets – being introduced at the U-13 and U-14 age groups.
This is going to be an exciting season for many reasons, especially because the DA will now have the new U-15 age group
Academy season, 15 new teams will be added to the U-11/12 age group, 27 new teams will be added to U-13, 34 teams added to U-14, 82 teams added at the new U-15 age group, five additional teams to U-16/17 (formerly U-15/16) and two new teams will be added to U-18/19 (formerly U-17/18). Along with the 17 new Academy clubs introduced there will be a total of 165 additional teams, 2 new divisions and one newly introduced age group added for the 2017-2018 Academy season.
The statistical representation below illustrates a comparison between the 2016-2017 and 2017-2018 Academy seasons.
For the past year, there have been a total number 461 of DA teams. Next season, this number increases to 620.
To simplify the impact, take a look at this:
|Age Groups||# of Divisionsxxx||# of Clubs||Age Groupsxxx||# of Divisions||# of Clubs|
|5||51||Unique Clubs: 150||6||63||Unique Clubs: 165|