U.S. Youth National Teams returning to the field with Regional ID Centers
CHICAGO — U.S. Soccer’s Youth National Teams program is returning to the field with a series of Regional Identification Centers this spring.
Following a pause of YNT programming due to the COVID-19 pandemic, U.S. Soccer is hosting Regional ID Centers in strategically located markets across the country. U.S. Soccer announced a newly-added corporate partner, Biosteel, as the naming sponsor of the program.
The ID Centers help to expand the YNT player pool and will capture nearly 1,000 of the nation’s top young male and female players, identified by U.S. Soccer Talent Identification. Youth National Team coaches, Talent ID Managers and YNT Network Scouts are on hand to run the ID Centers, designed to challenge the players against other top talents and introduce YNT principles of play.
The first set of YNT Regional ID Centers were held at the end of March with a boys’ event in Tampa, Fla. and girls’ events in Dallas, Texas and Bradenton, Fla.
“We’re very excited to reconnect with our YNT players in their home regions and get back on the field,” said Tony Lepore, Boys’ Director of Talent Identification. “During this difficult period, we’ve been closely monitoring all of our current YNT players. We’re really looking forward to finally seeing them again as well as seeing the new players we’ve discovered through our scouting. The BioSteel YNT ID Centers are special opportunities for top players to be challenged and inspired. We know how much they enjoy and look forward to these experiences. After such a long wait, it makes them even more meaningful.”
“During this challenging period, our TID Managers and YNT Coaches have done a great job communicating with clubs, using video alongside in-person scouting to monitor and identify players,” said Mirelle van Rijbroek, Girls’ Director of Talent Identification. “We’ve held regular virtual meetings with our YNT players and scouts to stay connected and review important development topics, which will help us as we restart programming. The BioSteel YNT ID Centers are a way to build the foundation of our YNT player pool. It’s an opportunity to select players in a systematic and collaborative way based on their future potential.”
The BioSteel ID Centers follow strict COVID-19 safety protocols and are being held with the approval of U.S. Soccer’s COVID-19 task force and Chief Medical Officer.
The events will take place in centralized markets, bringing together potential YNT players from within driving distance. Each ID Center will include a morning and afternoon session with 28 players each. The series of YNT Regional ID Centers are scheduled based on geography and each state’s return-to-play status.
For the boys’ Regional ID Centers, morning sessions will feature players born in 2006 and 2007, while the afternoon sessions will feature 2004 and 2005 birth-year players. On the girls’ side, morning sessions will include players born in 2005 and 2006 while 2003 and 2004 birth-year players will train in the afternoon.
Before players take the field at the ID Centers, virtual meetings are scheduled with all players, parents and staff to review all safety protocols as well as technical objectives for the sessions. Regional ID Centers will only take place at outdoor training facilities and all sessions are closed to the public, with no spectators allowed.