The United States Soccer Federation released an update regarding the Application Process for acceptance into the forthcoming Girls’ Development Academy. Originally announced in February, the Girls’ DA is due to begin play in Fall 2017.
U.S. Soccer has revealed that there will initially be three combined age groups in the new Girls’ Academy: Under-14/15, Under-16/17 and Under-18/19. Conceivably, this means that any girl born in birth years 1998-2002 will be available to compete in the Girls’ DA. Players interested in playing in the Girls’ DA are encouraged to reach out directly to clubs who have been awarded a place in the Academy. Registration for the new league opens May 2 at 8:00 a.m. PT, and will remain open until July 1.
Once the application window has closed, submissions will be evaluated by U.S. Soccer’s Women’s Youth National Team technical staff and Development Academy staff, who will review applications and accept clubs that meet the Girls’ Development Academy criteria.
The exact number of clubs accepted into the academy has yet to be confirmed, but per U.S. Soccer’s FAQ page, clubs’ submissions will be evaluated on the following criteria:
- Leadership of the club and quality of the coaching staff.
- Desire to embrace and promote the core values of the program.
- U.S. Soccer license levels of coaching staff.
- Infrastructure of the club and the resources currently being invested in development (facilities, scholarships, staff to player ratio, etc.).
- History of player production for youth National Teams, the Women’s National Team, and professional leagues.
- Market with player depth, geographic location, proximity to other elite clubs and travel implications.
Additionally, U.S. Soccer will host a series of informational webinars in the coming weeks to supply interested clubs with details regarding the application process. The webinars will focus on the initiatives of the Academy and will specifically touch on the following areas:
- Player Pool and Market
- Player Development Effectiveness (YNT, WNT and Pro Player Production)
- Staff Leadership, Structure and Qualifications
- Style of Play and Philosophy
- Training Environment and Personal Development
- Facilities and Infrastructure
- Resources, Fees, Scholarship and Financial Assistance
The statement from U.S. Soccer describes the Girls’ Development Academy as “part of U.S. Soccer’s global leadership position in women’s soccer and connects with its long-term plan to improve player and coach development. The mission of the program is to provide education, resources and support to directly impact the everyday environment for clubs to develop world-class female players.”