U-12 Academy Program to Launch Fall 2016

NEWS Sept. 29, 2015

CHICAGO (Sept. 29, 2015) - U.S. Soccer will expand the influence of a player development philosophy to younger players beginning in the fall of 2016. The Development Academy will post a narrated video presentation on Friday, October 2 to discuss the expansions and plans for the U-12 age group.

Following a comprehensive review of elite player development in the United States and around the world, U.S. Soccer created the Development Academy in 2007 for male players in the U-15/16 to U-17/18 age groups. In 2013, the Academy expanded to include the U-13/14 age group, which has continued to improve development by benchmarking with international standards. The Academy will now focus on the player environment and coach environment at critical younger ages in Zone 1 by introducing a U-12 age group. The U-12 Academy will adopt all aspects of the new Player Development Initiatives and serve as the example for clubs and leagues throughout the country to achieve U.S. Soccer uniform standards.

The Academy expansion will focus on improving the player and coach environments at the younger ages in Zone 1 and early Zone 2. Specifically, the Academy program will address the following areas for players:

  • Create an age appropriate competitive environment
  • Streamline individual players' learning pathway
  • Focus on individual player development within team
  • Focus on local environments to reduce and limit travel
  • Offer a safe and enjoyable soccer environment

In addition, U.S. Soccer and the Academy will focus on improving the coaching environment through license requirements and education opportunities for Academy clubs to:

  • Increase quality of coaching for younger players
  • Shift focus away from a results-driven philosophy
  • Apply international standards for training and games
  • Unify player development initiatives and standards across the country

"The ambition from our Academy member clubs to develop younger players is tremendous," said U.S. Soccer Development Academy Director Jared Micklos. "U.S. Soccer will continue to invest resources and will work together with our clubs to serve as the leaders in adopting the new player development initiatives and realigning the focus on individual player development."

For clubs interested in becoming a member of the Development Academy, please view the video release on October 2 to learn about opportunities to apply for membership. The video will be posted on www.ussoccerda.com and also available to download via the Box link HERE. To best understand the direction and format of the Academy U-12 program, please review the new Player Development Initiatives (released in early September) in advance of the announcement.

For more information on the Development Academy, please visit www.ussoccerda.com and the Academy Resource Center.