The time for the inaugural season of the US Soccer Development Academy for Girls is drawing near with a final list of 74 clubs in six regional divisions published. If you want more information about the Academy please visit the US Soccer website. If you’d like, you can also read my past posts US Soccer Development Academy for Girls and Development Academy for Girls- Clubs Announced. I am by no means an expert so please do your own research!
Official tryouts are starting to be announced and more details are becoming clear. I’m not sure if I originally misunderstood some of the initial information or if things have changed, but here’s what I’m hearing at the moment…
- There will be three Academy teams per Academy club for 2017-18 (2003 (u14/15), 2001 (u16/17), 1999 (u18/19)
- The teams may say they are mixed ages (for example 2004/2003) but are not required to have girls in the younger age group on the roster
- US Soccer is not yet mandating that girls can not participate in High School sports, but the Academy season runs through the High School season and girls may not participate in both due to CIF rules. (Read between the lines- if a girl decides to take a break from her academy team to play high school soccer, her spot would not be guaranteed when she returns)
- LA Galaxy has announced that their Academy teams will be fully funded (including travel) and I have heard that several other clubs will have funded academy teams as well
- Girls will not be allowed to play with any other teams (no guesting etc)
- Training will be 4 days a week (although I’ve heard 3-4 as well)
- A certain amount of playtime will be mandated for all rostered players, but I don’t know the exact details
- Roster sizes for the younger ages will be around 18 instead of 23
- There is a lot of coach movement- much of which hasn’t been announced yet
- ECNL clubs with Academy will continue playing ECNL, but it will become their second team at the Academy age levels. Academy non-ECNL clubs are starting to make “reserve” academy teams as second teams.
Of course lots of discussion is happening on sidelines everywhere… Who will make the teams? Who wants to play High School and play on an ECNL team instead? Will girls miss out socially by skipping HS soccer? Will the Development Academy be as well run as ECNL? Where will college coaches visit? Why have some clubs that were initially announced as members decided to withdraw? Who are the coaches? What will it cost? Will it impact my daughter academically? If you don’t play Academy, it seems like ECNL is still a great option…or is it? Do you try and play at a club that has Academy even if you aren’t on an Academy team? What happens on your off birth year when you have a lower chance of making an academy team- do you play High School and ECNL one year and then Academy the next?
As for me, I’ve been trying not to think about it too much. It’s a lot to think about- especially after the age group change this year. BSG is definitely not interested in playing on an Academy team and is having a lot of fun playing High School soccer. She’s a sophomore now and it’s been a great experience for her so far. As for LSG, as an 8th grader she hasn’t had any High School experience so she’s not sure if she wants to play or not. We will explore several options for her including Academy and see what feels right. Ugh- right now she is really loving her team and the ECNL experience, but next year it’s a whole different ball game. Whatever the future holds, I want to enjoy every minute with my girls- they are growing up so fast!
What are you thinking about for your daughters? What about boys who already play in the academy? Do you think it’s a shame for girls to miss out on High School soccer? Seems like there are a lot more questions than answers at this point.
click the picture to go to the US Soccer site
Albion SC | San Diego
Beach Futbol Club | Long Beach
Eagles Soccer Club | Camarillo
LA Galaxy | Carson
LA Galaxy San Diego | Carlsbad
LAFC Slammers | Costa Mesa
Legends FC | Chino
LA Premier Futbol Club | La Canada Flintridge
Pateadores | Costa Mesa
Real So Cal | Woodland Hills
San Diego Surf Soccer Club | Del Mar
SC Del Sol | Phoenix, AZ
So Cal Blues | Laguna Hills
West Coast Futbol Club | Laguna Hills