What is the 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 every day 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.
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 Week) and non-academy events approved by the Academy Technical Committee. Full-Time Development Academy players do NOT participate in any high school soccer programs.
How many games are played and how long is the season?
Each Academy club plays approximately 30 league games, including 6 games played at Showcases. The league season begins in September and commences with Finals Week in July. Clubs will break from league play for periods of inactivity due to weather or the end of the season. 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 (Winter & Summer Showcases). Additionally, Albion SC Development Academy teams play additional events and games for a total of 40 plus games in a season.
How many days per week will DA teams train?
Albion SC US Soccer Development Academy teams will train a total of 4 days per week starting in August. Players are expected to attend all practices to be considered for competition in games.
What is a Part Timel Player (PT)?
Coaching staff will select a roster of Full-Time players for each of the Development Academy teams. In addition, certain players may be selected as Part Time Players (PTs) throughout the season. PTs will play Full Time on one of the other Albion SC teams in their age group and will be able to play with the DA team for a total of 12 matches in a season. PTs will be able to train with the DA team on days he does not train with his primary team. The coaching staff closely watches the development of the PT and may move certain players to Full-Time status later in the season. PTs are not allowed to participate in high school soccer programs.
Are scholarships available?
National team players will receive full scholarships from the club. Other scholarships are available based upon merit & 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 is always actively seeking for sponsors who can financially help the teams’ travel expenses.
How do Development Academy players get exposure to US National Teams?
US Soccer Training Centers are sessions that are hosted every few months in various locations in Southern California where National Team coaches train & identify players. US Soccer Training Centers will replace ODP (USYS) sessions and zero costs are associated for players who are invited to attend these sessions. US Soccer scouts attend the majority of divisional games to identify players for National team camps & US Training centers. On average, about 6-10 Albion SC Soccer Development Academy players are invited to attend the US Training Centers.
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 enforcements, coaching curriculum & other US Soccer Development Academy club obligations. For more information go to http://www.ussoccerda.com/home.php
The Development Academy Program features combined age groups where identified players can "play up" within the club structure, as encouraged by U.S. Soccer Technical Staff.
- Please note the Academy adopted the Birth Year Mandate
- For example, the U-17/18 team should include a balanced mixture of 18-year-olds, 17-year-olds and a few exceptional 16-year-olds.
Consistent Training Environments
Development Academy clubs are required to train a minimum of four (4) days per week and rest one (1) day per week during the Academy season.
Fewer, More Meaningful Games
Each Academy team plays approximately 25-30 league games, including 6-9 games played at Showcases. Teams that advance from the Academy Playoffs could expect to play up to three (3) additional games.
Our game-to-training ratio ensures our players are getting adequate rest. Teams may have one (1) or two (2) games per weekend based on travel, with no more than one game per day.
No Outside Activity/Competitions
To maintain a focus on club training environments, Academy players and teams do not play in any outside competitions without written permission from the U.S. Soccer Development Academy staff. This includes any other leagues, tournaments, State Cup competitions, ODP or All-Star events. Development Academy players for all teams must choose to participate in the Academy full-time and forgo playing for their high school teams.
Full-time Academy players can only participate on their designated Academy team, with only two exceptions: U.S. Soccer Training Centers and Youth National Team duty.
The Development Academy upholds this rule because we believe elite players require world class environments. The Development Academy's 10-month Program allows for a greater opportunity to institute style of play and implement a system according to U.S. Soccer's Development Philosophy. It also gives teams increased opportunities for younger kids in their club to "play up" against older players in both training and matches, thereby accelerating their development.
The DA follows international rules of competiton developed by FIFA. These include no reentry on substitutions, the January 1st birthday cutoff, and players playing-up with older teams when appropriate.
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. Education is a continuous process. 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 can be seen below:
- Academy club directors → USSF 'A' License and must complete the Academy Director's course
- Academy club technical staff → USSF 'B' license (minimum)
Connections to U.S. Soccer Resources
Talent Identification Opportunities
The Development Academy offers various talent identification opportunities for Academy players through both league play and at events. Since the 2007-08 Development Academy season, 19 Academy alumni have earned Men's National Team Call-Ups and 1,250 Academy players earned Youth National Team call-ups. Over 160 Development Academy alumni have played in Major League Soccer, with approximately another 50+ alumni at professional environments overseas.
- League Play
- 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 at least ten (10) times each year
- U.S. Soccer scouts attended over 50% (2,100+) of DA games in the 2014-2015 season
- Development Academy events are premier scouting venues for players to be identified for U.S. Soccer Training Centers and Youth National Teams:
- National Team staff members observe every game
- Domestic and international professional scouts in attendance
- Online player profile for all Academy players
The Scholarship Program is designed to provide opportunities for full-time Academy players who require financial assistance to participate in the Development Academy Program. For more information on deadlines, the application process, eligibility and program requirement, click here.
The Academy provides various resources related to sports medicine, including mandatory concussion testing, requiring a medical personnel at each Academy competition, providing U.S. Soccer Heat Guidelines, and offering secondary insurance coverage. For more information, click here to visit our Resource Center.