Program FAQs

Quick Links

Please visit What is the Development Academy? for information about who we are and what we do.

Please visit Academy Structure for information about: 

  • Competition structure
  • Events and competitions
  • Club membership
  • Game structure
  • Competitions operations
  • Club evaluations

Please visit Program Benefits for information about:

  • Our Philosophy
    • Age Groups
    • Consistent Training Environment
    • Fewer, More Meaningful Games
    • No Outside Activity/Competitions
    • International Standards
    • Top Instruction
  • U.S. Soccer Resources available to both players and clubs
  • Club Costs

Please visit Join the Academy for information about:

  • How to join as a player
  • How to apply and join as a club
    • Current application details
    • Selection into the Academy
    • Club Yearly Evaluations

Please visit Expansion for information about:

Please visit our Resource Center tab above for information about:


Club FAQs

How many clubs are in the Development Academy and where are they located? 

There are currently 135 clubs that participate at the U-12 age group, 90 clubs that participate at the U-13 age group, 91 clubs that participate at the U-14 age group, 73 clubs at U-15/16 and and 72 clubs that participate in the program at the U-17/18 age levels for 2016-17. Academy clubs are located throughout the country from markets with a history of National Team player production, and for the younger age group the clubs are based in key markets that minimize the amount of travel and costs for play in regular season competition.

What fees are associated with being an Academy club? 

There are no fees for a club to participate in any of the age groups (U-12 through U-18/19) in the Academy program, aside from $50 per player and $50 per coach registration fee. U.S. Soccer covers all referee fees and event fees for the U-13 through U-17/18 age groups. The Academy does have a referee fee for the U-12 age group, this fee covers all regualr season games and futsal events. Clubs are responsible for all of their travel and administrative expenses. 

Can Academy clubs participate in non-Academy competitions?

To maintain a focus on training, Academy teams do not play in any other leagues, tournaments, State Cup competitions, ODP or All-Star events without written permission from the U.S. Soccer Development Academy staff. Full-time Academy players can only participate on their designated Academy team, with only one exception: National Team duty. Development Academy players for all teams must choose to participate in the Academy full-time and forgo playing for his high school team.


Competition Structure FAQs

What is the model of the Academy competition structure? 

The Academy has 197 total clubs, comprised of teams across six age groups in the boys' program: U-12, U-13, U-14, U-15, U-16/17, and U-18/19 and four age groups in the girls' program: U-14, U-15, U-16/17 and U-18/19. These clubs are all located within geographically-based divisions across gender and age group levels. Each team plays home and away games against the other teams in their division, plus games against non-division opponents from across the country during the 10-month season.

For a breakdown of club membership and age group divisions, please refer to the Academy Club Directory.

How many games are played and how long is the Academy season? 

Each Academy team plays approximately 30 games, including 6-9 games played at Showcases. Teams that advance from the Academy Playoffs could expect to play up to additional 3 games. The season begins in September and concludes with Championships in July. Clubs will break from regular season competition for periods of inactivity due to weather or the end of the season.

How much are Academy clubs required to travel? 

Academy clubs can expect 15-20 away matches in a given season, some of which will require overnight travel. Exact travel distances will vary between clubs depending on their geographic proximity to their conference opponents and Academy events.

Who pays for travel expenses? 

Clubs are responsible for all team travel expenses. U.S. Soccer will cover all travel expenses to Championships for Academy teams that qualify for the event.

Can Academy clubs schedule 'friendly' games during the Academy season? 

Academy clubs can schedule such games to provide players with a heightened development experiences. The games must not be part of an organized competition, i.e. tournament, league or camp, as defined in the non-participation regulations and all Academy standards and guidelines must be adhered to during competition.

Who assigns referees for Academy games? 

U.S. Soccer assigns referees for Academy games and subsidizes the costs associated.


Participation FAQs

How does someone tryout for an Academy club? 

Anyone interested in playing for one our member Academy clubs will need to contact the club directly regarding the player selection process. The Academy firmly believes that the traditional open tryout is a highly flawed and ineffective model for player identification and evaluation. The expectation is that Academy clubs move to using a more systematic scouting model to identify and recruit new talents and invite these players to trial for an extended period with the current player pool. Clubs may not charge a registration fee for tryouts, which includes fees for equipment, apparel or etc.

Which age groups compete in the Development Academy? 

The program currently utilizes five (5) age groups for competition, 3 single age groups and 2 mixed age groups: U-12, U-13, U-14, U-15/16 and U-17/18 age groups. Clubs competing in the U-15/16 and U-17/18 age groups must field teams at both age levels.

Can Academy clubs have younger players complete in older age groups? 

U.S. Soccer Technical Staff encourages players to "play up" when appropriate. For example, the U-17/18 team should include a balanced mixture of 17-year-olds, 16-year-olds and a few exceptional 15-year-olds.

Are there any rules specific to rosters? 

Each roster shall be published on the official U.S. Soccer Development Academy registration website, and shall be considered the official roster of the Academy club. There is a minimum of 32 full-time (FT) players per Academy club combined in the U-15/16 and U-17/18 age group and 16 full-time players each in both the U-13 & U-14 age groups. There is a maximum of 20 full-time players at both the U-13 & U-14 age groups and 46 full-time players combined between the U-15/16 and U-17/18 age groups. At the U-12 age group, there may be between 24-26 full-time players. There is no limit to the number of rostered players that do not have United States citizenship.

Can Academy players participate with non-Academy teams during the season? 

Full-time Academy players are only permitted to participate on their Academy team, and National Team duty.

Which teams participate in 10-month programming and do not allow high school participation? 

The Boys’ Development Academy program does not participate in high school programming.

The Girls’ Development Academy program was designed by Academy and U.S. Soccer technical staff, and offers the best development model for long-term, elite female player development. The Academy firmly believes that the best situation for the development of a Girls player is to be in their everyday Academy club environment. However, clubs and players are able to make individual decisions for what is best for girls who have already started their high school careers in 2016 or earlier. Players born in 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002 can – with club approval – leave the Academy mid-season to play high school soccer, but must fully leave the Academy environment during the high school season. Players cannot play in both the Academy and high school simultaneously. This policy will be reviewed in future seasons.


How does participating in the Academy affect players being seen by elite coaches? 

Academy competitions provide ideal opportunities for coaches to scout players in their natural environment. Over half of all Academy matches are observed by a member of the National Team scouting network. During the 2015-16 Development Academy season, for example, over 1,849 games were scouted by our expansive network of technical staff and scouts.

Does an Academy Club have to field a team in the U-15/16 and U-17/18 division to participate in the Academy?

Yes. Clubs must field a team in both Academy age groups.

Will the playing calendar be the same for all conferences? 

No. Each conference calendar will vary depending on climate

Who will select fields for Academy Competitions? 

The home club will make facility arrangements for their Academy Conference matches. U.S. Soccer will make facility arrangements for Academy Showcases, Academy Playoffs and the Academy Championships. Academy Clubs are expected to secure the best possible playing environment for their Academy matches.

Additional Questions

How can I apply for a job with U.S. Soccer and/or the Development Academy? 

From time to time, the United States Soccer Federation seeks motivated individuals to fill full-time staff, as well as, part-time, temporary, internship, and volunteer staff positions. These challenging opportunities will be posted here when the need arises. To apply for an available positon, please click here.



Please email any additional questions to or or call (312) 528-7041.




What is the Development Academy? | Academy Structure | Program Benefits | Join the Academy | Expansion | FAQ