As competitive soccer families wait to see what the future holds, the USL Academy League has moved ahead and opened up applications for clubs to join.
MLS details still unknown, 95 founding clubs nation-wide
Last month, Major League Soccer announced how they will be helping to fill the void left by the demise of the US Soccer Development Academy. With 95 founding member clubs, the new league will include MLS clubs and non-MLS clubs like City SC and Nomads.
USL Academy League is open to non-USL youth clubs
Another option has emerged for competitive squads to enter high-level competition. The USL Academy League announced that clubs outside the USL will be able to apply to be a part of the USL Academy League.
“In addition to accepting applications from Championship, League One and League Two sides, the USL Academy League will also accept applications from clubs outside the United Soccer League, under the provision they align their player development pathway with an existing USL Senior Team.”
Every submission received by the USL Academy League will be assessed on numerous key factors. Among those will be the strength of the club’s youth network and its connectivity to a senior team, as well as appropriate funding levels, market conditions, a club’s proximity to current or future USL professional clubs, and a club’s history of player development.
“Pre-Pro” youth teams for San Diego players?
For example, highly successful San Diego clubs like Oceanside Breakers, Surf Soccer Club, and Nomads could possibly form partnerships with San Diego Loyal Soccer Club. If such a bridge is built, SD Loyal could eventually form “Pre-Pro” squads of high school aged players who were developed in their local youth clubs and play their league soccer in the USL Academy league.