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Youth Boys Jun 12, 2012

United Soccer Leagues, IMG Academy unveil “Next Generation Series” youth league

United Soccer Leagues and IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. have joined forces to create the Next Generation Series, a new youth soccer league that it says will be an innovative, cutting-edge and comprehensive approach to developing the complete elite player – the Next Generation Series.

NGS will kick off for Under-12 and U-14 boys and girls in August 2012. Youth clubs that meet league criteria and embrace the philosophy of NGS will receive an invitation to participate in the league. Teams will be comprised of elite southeastern U.S. clubs, separated in Southeast and Florida divisions.

Technical skill and tactical development, complemented by off-the-pitch performance disciplines, are central to the NGS model. At the core of NGS are:

• C360 Athletic Assessment

• Technical Skill Development

• Tactical Development

• Physical Conditioning

• Mental Conditioning

• Nutrition & Wellness

• Vision Development

• On-Field Communication

• Injury Prevention/Athletic Regeneration

• Leadership and Life Skills

“The Next Generation Series is without a doubt the most exciting and most encapsulating program for developing the elite U12 and U14 soccer player,” USL CEO Alec Papadakis said in a press release. “With USL’s unparalleled 25 years of youth soccer experience and IMG Academy’s unmatched 35 years of producing world-class athletes through its unique sports performance curriculum in its state-of-the-art training facilities, this union will create a platform to transform youth soccer players into ‘complete elite players.’

“Our unique approach will incorporate advanced technologies and athletic assessments, renowned performance experts, top-notch competition, professional-grade facilities, and, perhaps most importantly, encourage parental and coach collaboration.”

The inaugural NGS season will be divided into five phases:

• Phase I: Initial C360 Athletic Assessment at IMG Academy, August 23-26, 2012

• Phases II & III: Competitive Season – Home/Away Games, September 1-December 1, 2012; resumes January 1-April 1, 2013

• Phase IV: NGS ID Training Camp at IMG Academy, January 25-29, 2013

• Phase V: NGS Championship and Final C360 Athletic Assessment at IMG Academy, April 11-14, 2013

The initial C360 athletic assessment will provide a baseline of each player’s athletic ability that enables for measured progress; the final evaluation will indicate that player’s level of progression.

The assessment periods bookend a two-part, six-month league competition and a special NGS ID Training Camp. The NGS ID Program is designed specifically to scout and track the top male and female players; identified players will have the opportunity to showcase their talents for U.S. National staff coaches, college coaches and international academy directors at the NGS ID Training Camp in January 2013. The pinnacle event in the NGS calendar is the NGS Championship to take place at IMG Academy, April 11-14, 2013.

“We couldn’t be more excited about the formation of the NGS, as it represents the deepening of a relationship with USL that we began late last year with the hosting of several events, and look forward to continuing to develop in the coming months,” said Scott Dean, director of IMG Academy’s soccer program. “The NGS embodies the comprehensive approach to player development we take with our student-athletes at IMG Academy, as well as the importance we place on ongoing coaches’ education and parent involvement early in a child’s development,” he continued.

Coaches’ education and parental engagement, both cornerstones of NGS, will feature coaching webinars and parent education sessions to provide resources and insight about the important roles these individuals play in the development of the athletes as players and young adults.

For the 2012-13 season NGS will focus on the South Conference containing the Southeast and Florida divisions in U12 and U14 boys and girls age groups, resulting in a total of 64 teams. Elite-level clubs from Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee will comprise the Southeast Division, with elite Florida clubs comprising the Florida Division.

This latest joint venture between the USL and IMG follows an earlier announcement that IMG will host the USL’s Super-20 and Super-Y League North American Finals for the next three years. Earlier this year, IMG also hosted the USL Super-Y League Olympic Development Program national camps for boys and girls, as well as the USL PRO combine.

IMG Academies, home to the U.S. U-17 Men’s National Team Residency Program, has hosted myriad soccer team training camps in 2012, including the Seattle Sounders, D.C. United, Columbus Crew, Sweden’s Malmö FF, the U.S. Women’s National Team preparing for the London Olympic Games and, most recently, the Antigua Men’s National Team, preparing for their World Cup Qualifier this month.

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