SISTERS OF BOYS' ACADEMY PRODUCTS LOOK FOR SIMILAR SUCCESS

Last week, goalkeeper Bill Hamid trained with the U.S. Men's National Team during a camp in North Carolina. He's begun to earn regular MNT call-ups after a career that included nine standout years with D.C. United before an off-season move to Danish club FC Midtjylland. A Development Academy product, Hamid signed professionally as D.C.'s first-ever M.L.S. Homegrown player in 2009.

Hamid has faced off with many formidable forwards throughout his career, but he's also had time to take shots from a striker that shares his last name: his younger sister, Jasmine Hamid. The younger Hamid plays for the Washington Spirit Academy (Virginia) in the Girls' Development Academy's inaugural season. A week after Bill left the Tar Heel State, she's in North Carolina for Spring Showcase, the Academy's first-ever event exclusively for girls.

"I've scored maybe once against Bill," Jasmine said. "He's a very good goalkeeper. Shooting against Bill, he pushes me. When he pushes me, it helps me. He taught me to stay strong because he's a very strong person."

Bill always inspired Jasmine. Now, with the launch of the Girls' Academy, she has the opportunity to follow in the footsteps of his player pathway from the Academy to the professional ranks.

Jasmine (center) and Bill Hamid (right)

The Academy is focused on the individual development of players, and the first 10 years of the Boys' Academy successfully produced legions of M.L.S. Homegrown and National Team talent. Last year, over 90 percent of Youth National Team call-ups came from Academy clubs and recent MNT Starting XI's have included a majority of Academy alumni. Some of those players' sisters now have the same opportunities afforded by the nation's highest level of youth soccer.

"The talent level is super high," said Erin Carleton, Concorde Fire midfielder. Her brother, Andrew Carleton, played in last fall's FIFA U-17 World Cup in India and became Atlanta United FC's first-ever Homegrown signing in June 2016.

"It's really competitive. It's really cool to be a part of it and bring what you can to the table. The talent level is elevated. It's exciting."

Andrew has come up through the Academy and Youth National Team program. That experience has seen him bring back lessons for the whole family, from nutrition practices to his fearlessness to try new skills on the field. His two younger brothers also play in the Development Academy. Alan competes for Atlanta's U-13 side and John for Southern Soccer Academy's U-12 team. Now, Erin has the same chance to become the best player she can in a player-focused, world-class environment.

Andrew (second from left) and Erin Carleton (third from left)

The Development Academy brings player development standards of the program to female youth players across the country. This season, Erin, like her brothers, goes through at least four training sessions a week and plays fewer, but more meaningful and competitive matches.

Shelby Craft has become a hard-nosed defender for FC Dallas thanks to playing in the backyard with her older brothers. Sibling Coy helped the U-20 MNT win its first-ever CONCACAF U-20 Championship last spring, and signed as a professional with FC Dallas in August 2014. Now, Shelby is a key part of the club's first-ever Girls' Academy campaign, starting every game for the Frisco-based squad.

"I got beat up because I was the little sister," Craft said. "That was one of the main reasons how I developed as a defender. I was always fighting back. I was always standing my ground. Having two brothers really developed me in the defensive area for sure.

Coy and Shelby Craft

"Coy was always out on the soccer field, trying to get better every single day. If someone's challenging him, he was going to beat them. He was always encouraging me to be my best as well."

As the Girls' Academy continues its inaugural campaign, it hopes to mirror the success of the Boys' Academy in its efforts to further American youth development. Things are already moving in the right direction, as 17 players with Academy ties were just named to the U-17 WNT World Cup qualifying roster. After the Academy launched the male Carleton, Craft and Hamid to the professional ranks and National Team program, their sisters hope they can achieve similar success.

"I watched Bill's growth path to become a professional soccer player," Hamid said. "It teaches me how to become a professional soccer player in the future. Along my player development pathway, I strive to play for the National Team. I really want to be able to play a match with the U.S., for my country."