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U.S. Soccer Development Academy

Location: United States, United States
Gender Offered: Boys & Girls
Competition Location / Area: United States
Competitive Level: Professional Academies, Elite Travel

The U.S. Soccer Development Academy strives to develop world-class players by providing elite, driven youth talents with development environments, which meet the highest standards, that empower them to reach their full potential.

The DA program impacts everyday club environments by setting standards that ensure every DA player trains in a world-class environment and compete in more meaningful games. Clubs competing in the DA commit to uphold Academy standards and maintain the best possible environments to optimize player development.

For elite, motivated players, the Development Academy provides a pathway to develop and reach the highest level of competition.


DA competition begins at U-13 and runs through U-19. The number of teams competing in the Academy decreases as the age increases, therefore the number of player spots decreases. This ensures the most elite players continue competing against each other, which provides optimal development and more meaningful competition.

The Academy schedule is designed to balance the best training with the most meaningful games. Teams compete in regional conferences to mitigate travel, and the 10-month schedule is designed to provide players with world-class training and meaningful games.


DA teams commit to a 4:1 training to game ratio for optimal player development, and the Development Academy schedule aligns with the U.S. Youth National Team calendar to provide players with the most opportunities to gain international experience.


The Development Academy sets the highest standards for training and game environments across the nation.

Coaching Standards

The Development Academy believes that coaches are an integral part of creating the best environment and influence player development immensely. The best coaches are able to develop the best players and they continuously develop their own skills to be the best coach. All coaches in the DA are required to hold a minimum USSF B License.

High Performance

The Development Academy takes a holistic approach to player development. Part of player development is learning the game and understanding the tactical strategies taught by the coach. Another aspect of player development is the physical development, which varies for each individual player. A player needs their individual needs met in their training environment for optimal learning and development.

To help identify the best physical environment for players, the DA provides clubs the opportunity to register late-maturing players. Late-maturing players are individuals who are not as physically developed as the average player in their age group. By placing this individual in a younger age group, their development needs are met as they compete against equal competitors.

Talent Identification

The Development Academy strives to identify the top talent of all soccer players in the nation. All players participating in the DA have the opportunity to be seen by U.S. Soccer National Team scouts as well as college coaches and scouts at all DA games. Hundreds of scouts attend the Development Academy Showcase events, providing multiple opportunities during the season for all players to be seen.


U.S. Soccer works directly with National Assignors across the country to ensure top referees are assigned to each DA game. All referee costs associated with DA games and events are covered by U.S. Soccer.