As summer draws to a close and the second season approaches for the US Soccer Developmental Academy for Girls (USSDA), there have been a few important changes since I wrote my post-2018 Soccer Leagues for Girls. So read on for a USSDA update and my opinions on a few of them. There’s never a dull moment!
Update #1- Clubs leaving USSDA and going “all in” ECNL and vice versa
After the dust settled from all the end of the year Championships a few very interesting announcements were made in Southern California. The first was that LAFC Slammers, a very successful DA team in the inaugural season, would drop DA and be an “all-in” ECNL club. Instead of having a DA team, they now have two ECNL teams- LAFC Slammers ECNL and Slammers ECNL. This one took many people by surprise but sounded like it had been in the works for a while.
Conversely, both OC Surf (formerly West Coast FC) and later San Diego Surf announced that their ECNL teams would now become Developmental Player League (DPL) teams instead. This was news to many…especially those youngers who had tried out and already signed to be on an ECNL team at those clubs.
Update #2- U16 Pilot Teams
Originally, the Southwest conference U16 2003 Pilot Teams were announced as an exciting part of the DPL. They would adhere to the
At the beginning of August, the Southwest U16 Pilot teams became official U16 USSDA teams and are no longer part of the DPL. Does this change a lot? Yes and no, but most importantly it gives the players DA status so that they can move freely between DA age groups. The girls now also get the DA patch… as we all know is the most important thing! wink 🙂
Also of note, in the Spring, So Cal Blues announced and signed girls to play on their U16 Pilot team. In early summer, the Blues logo disappeared from the DPL website. Supposedly the pilot team was rejected by the DPL because it would not be the top 03 team at the club. (Blues is now the only So Cal club with both ECNL and USSDA for girls) Blues tried to appeal to US Soccer, but they were told that the decision was up to DPL. Or… at least that’s what I heard! Six weeks or so later, US Soccer announced that the Pilot teams would be an official part of the USSDA…but it was too late for Blues as most of the girls had already left and joined other teams. What?!?
Update #3- Change to the DP Rule
Last year, players were allowed to be “Developmental Players” or “DPs” and play on another team in the club and play in six DA games. Officially I think they were supposed to train with the DA team, but I don’t know if that was something that was enforced. These players could play high school etc…
This year, the “Part-Time” player is replacing the DP. The Part-time player can play up to 12 games with the DA team… but… they can’t play high school?!? This is potentially a big disappointment for players who committed to DPL teams with the desire to play high school as well as have the opportunity to play with the DA team. I’ve heard this from numerous places, but I can’t find it yet in the official DA rules so who knows, this one could change too!
Update #4- Change to Subbing Rules… for U14
One of the consistent complaints about the DA (along with no high school) is the restrictive subbing rules. DA allows no re-entry for players with limited subbing moments. For this year, the rules are changing for the youngest group of girls (2005s or u14s). I think this is an excellent change and would love to see this for all the age groups.
-All Players are permitted to re-enter the game. (This is a major change!) There will be a maximum of 3 substitution moments and half-time does not count as a moment.
So now what??
In my opinion, all these things point to the on-going battle between ECNL and USSDA. For more on this topic
Remember, I’m not an expert so please do your own research if this information potentially pertains to your daughter. Anyone have any additional information or insights to share??