U.S. Soccer now accepting applications for Development Academy Under-13/14 program in Fall of 2013
U.S. Soccer is now accepting applications from clubs to enter a team into the Under-13/14 Development Academy program starting in the Fall of 2013.
The deadline for interested clubs to submit the online application is Dec. 1, 2012.
New clubs will join existing Academy clubs in a 10-month program for U-13/14 teams. The program will consist of fall and spring outdoor leagues run by U.S. Soccer, a winter futsal program and a limited number of regional and national events aimed to provide more training, meaningful games and less overall travel for the country’s best Under-13 and Under-14 players.
“The U-13/14 Development Academy program introduces younger players to meaningful competition on a consistent basis without placing unreasonable travel demands on them,” said Development Academy Director of Scouting Tony Lepore. “At these younger ages, it’s critical for players to spend as much time as possible in training and free play environments instead of airplanes, cars and hotel rooms, so we are designing a program with a more local format than the older ages in the Academy program.”
Similar to the older Academy age groups, the U-13/14 program’s league schedule is structured to provide coaches with additional time toward more meaningful training sessions during the week. Almost all games are scheduled on the weekend, allowing coaches to conduct four to five training sessions during the week to reinforce fundamentals and introduce individual and team principles instead of focusing on player recovery and game preparation.
“For the past five years in the Development Academy, we have been stressing how important training is for player development, so it was no surprise to see the two teams with the most intensive training schedules in the Academy met in last season’s U-17/18 Final,” Lepore said, referencing the FC Dallas and Vancouver Whitecaps training schedules of five days per week for 10 months during the 2011-12 season. “Training is even more important at younger ages and our goal is for the U-13/14 program to be a valuable model for other elite youth organizations to follow.”
The Development Academy was founded by U.S. Soccer in 2007 to provide an elite everyday training and competitive environment for the country’s elite youth soccer players. Since its launch, the focus of the program has been to increase the amount of meaningful training sessions for elite players by lengthening the Academy season to 10 months for all clubs, limiting the number of games and working with coaches to appropriately plan their training schedule for one of the longest meaningful training schedules at any level of soccer in the country. The addition of the U-13/14 age group provides the country’s most motivated and talented youth players with another two years of intensive training to help them reach their full potential and prepare them for collegiate, professional and international soccer.