USSDA Academy FAQ
What is the Development Academy?
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 to provide education, resources and support to impact everyday club environments that will develop world-class players. The Academy’s programming philosophy is based on increased training, less total games, and more competitive games.
The Academy also connects National Team coaches directly with the Academy clubs to develop and identify players and coaches for future Youth National Teams. Each Academy club is evaluated by a member of the Men’s Scouting Network at least ten (10) times each year, and each Academy club receives, at minimum, two (2) formal evaluations that provide feedback in 100 categories each year from U.S. Soccer Technical Staff.
U.S. Soccer’s Coaching Education department works closely with the Development Academy clubs to ensure all technical staff meet the minimum requirements set by the Development Academy. All club directors must have of a USSF ‘A’ License and must complete the Academy Director’s Course. All Academy club technical staff will be required to hold a minimum of USSF ‘B’ license.
How many clubs are in the Development Academy and where are they located?
Silicon Valley Soccer Academy is one of only 72 full academy programs in the US. 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, 72 clubs at U-15, U-17 and and U-19 age levels. 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 league play.
Which age groups compete in the Development Academy?
The program will field (6) age groups for competition, 4 single age groups and 2 mixed age groups: U-12, U-13, U-14, U-15, U-17 and U-19 age groups.
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-19 team should include a balanced mixture of 18-year-olds, 17-year-olds and a few exceptional 16-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.
US Soccer sets a minimum and maximum roster size based on each age group
Each Academy player must start a minimum of 25% of regular season games
There is no limit to the number of rostered players that do not have United States citizenship
Development Players (DPs): DPs are players within your club structure who require additional training before being considered as full-time players on the Academy team. DPs must come from within your club and play a maximum of 6 Academy matches. DP opportunities are available within Juventus and PASC club level teams.
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. DP players are not limited from competition outside of the Academy league and can participate in high school, State Cup, tournaments, etc.
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.
Academy Team Competition:
U-12 & U-13 Age Groups:
Local league play, Fall Regional Showcase, Winter Futsal showcase, no post season play
U-14 Age Group:
Local league play, Fall Regional Showcase, Summer National Showcase, no post season play
U-15, U-17, U-19 Age Groups:
Western Region league play, Winter National Showcase, Summer Showcase and Playoffs, post-season Academy Championships
How many games are played and how long is the Academy season?
Each Academy team plays approximately 30 league 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 league play 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 for the older teams. Exact travel distances will vary between clubs depending on their geographic proximity to their conference opponents and Academy events. The U12-U14 Academy teams remain mostly in the Bay Area while the U15-U19 teams will have a more demanding schedule.
Are Scholarships Possible to help cover fees?
Although expenses are as high as $7500 per player for older teams, SVSA subsidizes the programs and provides scholarships to help make Academy participation more accessible. Academy players pay a reduced program fee that includes: 3-4 practices per week, travel, field expenses, baseline player tests, video archiving, field coaching, dedicated training for fitness and goalkeeping, academic support for subjects and SAT tutoring, assistance with college recruitment.
SVSA Scholarship Program:
SVSA offers financial assistance and depends on player eligibility and availability of funds. Please submit our online application or ask your coach for an application.
USSDA Scholarship Program:
U.S. Soccer is pleased to announce the ninth year of the Development Academy Scholarship Program supported by the U.S. Soccer Federation. The scholarships are designed to provide opportunities for full-time Academy players who require financial assistance to participate in the Development Academy Program. In 2016-17, over 280 players received assistance with the average awards about $1300.
This program is designed to assist in travel-related expenses for full-time players registered to U-13 through U-19 teams within the Development Academy during the 2017-18 season. Applications for the 2017-2018 Academy season will open in the Fall of 2017. You will need the following information to complete the scholarship application as applicants need to verify their financial need:
• 2016 Federal Tax Returns for you and your parent/guardian(s). If you have not yet filed a 2016 income tax return, you can still submit your application with 2015 tax information.
• Information on what you or your family files for in terms of government aid: social security benefits, welfare benefits, etc.
• Information about your and your parent/guardian(s) savings, assets and financial health.
• An electronic file of the tax returns associated with your application.
All information submitted is confidential and used for the sole purpose of determining you or your parent/guardian(s)' ability to fund participation in the Development Academy. Failure to submit the required information may result in non-participation.