U.S. Development Academy switches to 10-month format

U.S. Soccer Federation

U.S. Soccer has taken a giant step in altering the growth and development of the country's elite youth prospects by making a major change to the annual structure of the U.S. Development Academy.

Starting in September, the U.S. Development Academy will operate on a 10-month schedule, mimicking the development systems of nations around the world. The new system creates a situation where players will be training multiple times a week and playing games over an extended, stretched-out period of time as opposed to the current format that had a shorter, more compressed schedule that limited growth and development.

"If we want our players to someday compete against the best in the world, it is critical for their development that they train and play as much as possible and in the right environment," U.S. men's national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann said in a federation statement. 

Klinsmann, one of the bigger proponents of restucturing the youth system, is a major backer of the initiative, which has already begun with clubs in the Western Conference and Texas Division before becoming an all-encompassing venture this week.

"This is the model that the best countries around the world use for their programs, and I think it makes perfect sense that we do as well," Klinsmann said.

One of the byproducts of the new system is that high school-age players will have to decide between either playing for their schools or playing in the academy system, as taking part in both won't be an option under the new format.

U.S. Soccer's mission is to attract the elite youth prospects to the development academy system and cultivate them through the federation's technical personnel while having them accelerate their growth at the same rate as their counterparts around the world.

"Going to a 10-month season is an important step in the evolution of elite player development," U.S. Soccer youth technical director Claudio Reyna said. "The format provides the ideal platform to combine an increase in the amount of high value training on a regular basis with the opportunity to play in quality, competitive games throughout an extended season. This schedule puts our elite players in line with kids in their age group internationally and places the appropriate physical demands on them at this stage in their development.

"The addition of as many as 50 extra training sessions per year will greatly enhance the ability of players to work on individual skills and receive advice and instruction from coaches."

For more on U.S. Soccer's explanation of the new format, read on here.

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110 Responses to U.S. Development Academy switches to 10-month format

  1. Bob Bradley Apologist says:

    Clearly Bob Bradley is responsible for this, Jurgen is just taking credit for it.

  2. DeLarge says:

    So I guess high School games will suck from now on. Onward ho!

  3. Ted in MN says:

    Is it just me or does this leave the door open for people to fall through the cracks that decide to you know actually be a high school student? I mean, Tim Ream played high school soccer, college soccer, and went pro with no youth involvement. Doesn’t this really close the door to a lot of top youth talent?

  4. Dwyercd says:

    I’ve seen a fair bit of angst and gnashing of teeth on this decision among the soccer Twitterati. I don’t get it, personally. If you’re that good at 14 that you know you have a shot at playing pro ball, why would you even consider your highschool team? This can only be good for the long-term growth of American soccer. Our kids will learn how to be pros much earlier than they would otherwise. Simply the act of choosing the academy puts them in a different class of player. Good for the kids, great for the program.

  5. Vic says:

    Most MLS youth teams already practice 3 to 4 times a week. The rest of the PDA teams practice 1 to 2 times per week and they’re pay to play. Will the non-MLS PDA teams start practicing more and who will pay the extra money for coaches and field time?

    Also, its extremely cold in many parts of the country from Dec-March, thats why there’s no MLS games. How will the youth teams play in this weather?

  6. Bob Bradley Apologist says:

    Indoor?

  7. Bob Bradley Apologist says:

    Some could argue he’s also now behind his fellow 24 year olds in the Prem as a result of our archaic system, too.

  8. Michael Vann says:

    High school soccer is great for its intended purpose but many elite level players have already started to bypass high school soccer for club ball because it just doesn’t get the exposure from college, professional scouts. Other sports are slowly following suite. Basketball is moving more towards an AAU or club model simply because the college scouts put more weight on the AAU scene where the level of competition is higher. I like the fact the development academies are going to the 10-month schedule IF the infrastructure is there to yield positive results in terms of player development.

  9. betamale says:

    Awww, but I liked the status quo! I want comfort back!

  10. Tim F. says:

    I wish the hs experience could be accommodated along with the 10 month academy schedule. I think this would benefit the players and the clubs.

  11. Ricky B. Free says:

    Great news. Let the evolution begin.

  12. sean says:

    The cost for some of these clubs not affiliated with an MLS team is ridiculous. I’d also like to know how you justify this to players 15-20 who dont get a lot of playing time. Pay thousands of dollars to barely play. I get it, earn your playing time, but i think a lot of kids will slip through the cracks simply because of cost.

  13. Ricky B. Free says:

    I dont think clubs would like to be teaching a kid how to play soccer and then have an amateur high school coach telling the kid to punt the ball all game long.

  14. Spectra says:

    In Florida

  15. Dwyercd says:

    Other than missing the one superstar per team, how will they be that different? And if that one superstar is that transcendent, oughtn’t he play with kids on his/her level?

  16. mike says:

    I know there are scholarships, but i think it works out to one per club or something like that. Nothing significant. Theres a way to make high school soccer and academies coexist, but i’m sure people are too hard headed toake that work. Unfortunately, we”ll miss muptiple sport athletes like jay demerit but i’m sure ths atgument will be we wont need them with this system. Its unfortunate these kids have to give up a lot of their childhood for.these academies. Academy players this year couldnt even play in the high school all-american game at the college cup. They had to miss a once in a lifetime opportunity.

  17. Ricky B. Free says:

    And a lot of kids dont slip through the cracks already?

    Kids that have talent and want to go pro in the future will most likely join a MLS academy. Junior Flores will now have to pick, its either high school soccer, academy soccer or MLS.

  18. mike says:

    There are a ton of good high school coaches out there. I know of several morons who are academy coaches.

  19. Bob Bradley Apologist says:

    We, at the Bob Bradley Technical Institute call that “direct” passing.

  20. mike says:

    What about the kids living in florida, st louis, memphis, phoenix, detroit?

  21. Ricky B. Free says:

    Ever heard of scouting?

    RSL have an academy in Arizona kids from all over arizona go there. MLS will probably let teams to bring players from other states or they will do the same hting that RSL is doing.

  22. Ricky B. Free says:

    RSL brings kids from over Arizona to their academy. I believe that Phoenix is in Arizona.

  23. Hincha Tim says:

    It’s a superficial bandaid on a big wound. It’s not fixing the root of the problems which is most soccer players are largely formed by the time they are 14 as far as technical skill set goes. But at that age group it’s all about winning games more than the long term development of players. US Youth Soccer preaches long term development than crams 2 games per week for even the youngest age groups. Only when US soccer and youth coaches start developing players like they do in Spain and the Netherlands (concentration on technique, small sided games, long term development vs winning at all costs) and not using football/baseball methods of coaching will there be a significant change.

  24. sean says:

    You’re telling me a high level player from St. Louis would need to move to kansas city so they can afford the academy system? Or just make the kid (we”ll say 14 year old) drive 8 hours round trip several times a week. Its impractical. Until they consistently pay these players a higher salary its not worth it. Kevin Ellis played for the sporting kc academy team and now he’s with the senior team making $32,000. Thats ridiculous. yes,, i know top players make more but that works out to less than 1% of academy players who will be making that money.

  25. Ricky B. Free says:

    go to ussoccer and read the new youth program. They started to implement the european style of training when Reyna took over the youth program.

    There is a youth soccer curriculum that you can read.

  26. atletico man says:

    I think it will help the High School game to get that one superstar player off the field. the vast majority of HS players are in it for the fun and experience, and the one superstar distorts the play. Around here, also, there are a few private schools that attract/recruit talent with scholarships, cherry pick the other schools’ best, and so have long dominated the sport. If those few top players have a viable alternative that gets them out of the high school scene and levels the field a bit, I think it will be good for the high school players.

    The experience of playing is a big part of becoming a life-long fan for many of these kids who will never play anything but rec after high school. They are as much the future of the sport as the highly talented players this change is designed to directly serve. Anything that improves their experience of the game is also a good thing.

  27. Ricky B. Free says:

    Read the book WHO moved my cheese.

    An Amazing Way to Deal with Change in Your Work and in Your Life. It teaches people that change can be good, embrace it. Dont fear change.

  28. Kosh says:

    Wow. That’s one way to look at it. I certainly wouldn’t. We know what we have does not work and this effort (though not the full surgical blitz that you would like to see) is a step in the right position. The guys running the show have played the game and also come from backgrounds where they know that winning isn’t everything – so I don’t know how you see this as all about winning. They want the kids to touch the ball more, which is where our kids are lacking big time. This is a step in that direction. I like this move.

  29. steve says:

    The easy thing to do is blame high school soccer for why the national team is “behind” the rest of the world. I’m sure it has something to do.with it but there are larger problems than that. for instance, With a population of 300 million, why cant the u.s. Develop a big time goalscorer? One of the major problems i see (people can argue this point) is we coach individuality and creativity out of kids. teams are so worried about possession and playing klinsmans system that we forget to focus on scoring, or allowing kids to problem solve on their own, or allow them to go at players. i remember reading an article about joe gyau where his dad said a youth national team coach told him not to take players on. Could you imagine saying that to messi, ronaldo, ozil, zidane, etc? Who on the full national team excels at taking on players? Dempseys.the closest, no one else is very dynamic.

  30. mccul105 says:

    And it’s not extremely cold in England, Scotland, Holland, Denmark, or Germany during those same months???

  31. Kosh says:

    ^^^ Uh-huh! THIS – all of it! ^^^

    + 1

  32. James says:

    This is great news and it is exactly the kind of reason why people wanted Klinnsman here. It will be a slow steady process but this is yet another step.

  33. Turgid Jacobian says:

    Some very astute points. Thx for this post.

  34. jack says:

    Playing a ten month schedule would solve that problem.

  35. abc says:

    No, but “which has already begun with clubs in the Western Conference and Texas Division before becoming an all-encompassing venture this week.”

    Also, if “high school-age players will have to decide between either playing for their schools or playing in the academy system” does that mean those who would have done both will now spend less time playing soccer than before?

  36. abc says:

    How would Ream not be able to do any of that now?

  37. tom says:

    On the surfacd this is great but us soccer has to do something about cost. Some clubs are using this to their economical advantage and are making a killing. My son plays for one of these academy teams and theyve gotten freaking wierd about things. Parents cant watch practices, cant travel to games with their kids, cant stay in the same hotels, etc. they better be careful.

  38. chris says:

    I had 8 academy kids on my high school team this year and they were not the best 8. Kind of sad none will get to play next year nor experience national signing day at our school. And contrary to popular belief most of the high school coaches in my area are involved in the academy

  39. Ray says:

    Ives or anyone who can answer this: How will this effect the College coaches? It seems it is very common to be a College coach while doing club stuff also. I could imagine it would be one or the other now.

  40. tom says:

    Will U.S. Soccer soon tell academy players not to play in college? They dont play college soccer in Europe and we”re doing things just like them.

  41. chris says:

    This is really a dumb move. It greatly lowers the competition in high school soccer. We complain about the pay for play system yet we disregard free high school and college soccer. Maybe US Soccer could have funneled the 2.5 million dollars jurgen is going to get to allow teams to let players play for free. I have a lot of friends that play academy and I played 1 season myself and high school was a big help. Practicing every day, free access to the weight room kept me in shape and I can honestly say I improved because I was playing with good players. Just because europe doesnt do it doesnt mean it cant work. You want to play in a “professional environment” but why cant high school soccer become a professional environment? We played the IMG academy all my four years and we won every time. I really dont get this decision at all, reminds me of the Bradenton Academy where if you dont accept the invite you are alienated from the U-17 team

  42. chris says:

    There is a misconception that the best players play academy

  43. chris says:

    We, at the Jurgen Culinary Institue call that the 3 man defensive mid traingle isolating the lone striker up top

  44. chris says:

    this post really shows how out of touch most people are with our youth system. ALREADY HAPPENING BUDDY!!!

  45. hogatroge says:

    +1

    Very interesting take!

  46. chris says:

    Every sport in the US is pay to play

  47. clevelandfc says:

    I agree. In the end the sport needs more viewers which equals more money so we can attract better athletes to the sport. Also it is too expensive for many kids. Why not play other sports for free that are more popular. I think they are missing the deal issues

  48. clevelandfc says:

    Soccer is the most if you want to play at high level

  49. Bob Bradley Apologist says:

    you’re suggesting Jurgen give up his salary for the betterment of US soccer development…..WOW (must see).

    too bad you did it so early on in your lengthy post because I disregarded the rest after that.

  50. tom says:

    This decision is based on whats best for the future of the national team, not whats best for the individuals. They better be careful or this could blow up in their faces.

  51. Ricky B. Free says:

    Are you seriously asking why high school soccer cant become a professional environment?

    You are talking about the present when they are trying to change the future. This change is for kids that actually have talent.

    Right now clubs dont have all the good players, but that will change in the future. Sure there will be talented kids that will not be signed.

    But even diamonds get lost in the dirt.

  52. clevelandfc says:

    Example. A kid wanted do play on my kids travel team. The cost will be 600 for 4 months. We have a great coach but the kids family cant afford it. All the parents are chipping I to help. But these cost keep a lot of kids out.

  53. chris says:

    hahah good one. No im suggesting if US Soccer wanted to improve they could have signed a coach for a lower salary and gave the money Jurgen gets for losing games and give it to clubs since Claudio Reyna is the brains behind the youth developement

  54. Kojo says:

    Being a former club coach from the U-12 level up to U-17 this is great news. Kids in the US just don’t practice much by themselves. Some of it is societal such as Mom and Dad don’t want their kids outside by themselves. The ever present fear that something bad is going to happen to my kid if I don’t keep an eye on him. That societal fear that something evil is lurking around the corner if I as a parent am not being attentive to my child’s whereabouts their activities and who are they associating with. And if something were to happen then I am branded as an inattentive and bad parent. Another reason is that kids just aren’t motivated enough to practice by themselves in this day and age of instant results and gratification. smartphones, texting with friends (some kids I know text over 200 times on average a day), video games, cable television with on demand and DVR and the ever present internet. So does having organized practice as a team over 10 months lead to a loss of individuality and creativity? Perhaps but I never saw many players take it upon themselves to practice on their own time. In an effort to get them better technically I would agree to pay for a third day of practice provided that enough parents would agree to get their kids to practice. Some teams the parents agreed others teams wouldn’t. I know none of my kids would make it professionally since they were so behind the curve technically and tactically but it is a great feeling when you see a kid blossom into a good competitive club player. So until soccer is more widely accepted and played by all ages parents and kids and parents are interested in playing in the park or front lawn, or in the street with their kids this is probably as good as it’s going to get for a while. Oh and by the way when I travel abroad in Europe I am not seeing many kids playing pick-up games by themselves much anymore and the coaches I talk to over there agree that this is a problem Unstructured play just doesn’t seem to happen much anymore.

  55. James says:

    Honestly? I hope they do right now. Hell, I would help them draft the letter. College is the #1 problem with Youth Development in this country and the sooner it dies out (as a serious pipeline for our professional talent) the better off we will all be.

  56. Andy says:

    YESSS!!!

  57. Rlw2020 says:

    True that

  58. Spencer says:

    It does, a lot of great soccer players with tons of potential fall through the cracks, the country is too big and not enough people scouting talent. Also it is very hard to get yourself recognized unless you have the money to do so.

  59. charles says:

    i like the idea, develop them earlier.

    just comparison…in argentina, brazil, mexico. kids are rookies when they’re 17-18. here in the US they’re rookies at age 20-22. we need to bridge the gap

  60. Cmills says:

    I order to develop true confidence with the ball, creativity and ability to take someone on, players need to play without fear of failure. You need to fail and fail often, without fear of being benched, until you “figure it out”. in a controlled, coached environment, it is hard achieve that. Player will often play not to make a mistake (and loose their spot int he next game). The over emphasis on winning (from coaches and parents) is starting at U9. Rather than worry if Billy is technically capable, we worry if Billy score 3 times today or if FC Raving Manic won the gold bracket in the Fullofbluff Cup. C’mon.

    In contrast, playing unsupervised games breeds confidence on the ball, creativity, and attacking skills that are nearly impossible to coach. The US dominated in basketball because city players honed their skills playground and were made a team tactically by a skilled coach who taught strategy and execution. Perhaps the rise of AAU basketball versus the street game is where the US lost its edge.

    Hoping that additional practice sessions allows player at the academy level to develop those skills is just not the answer. If kids do not have that on the ball confidence, attacking skills and creativity before they get to the Academy’s I fear it is too late. Lets fix our approach at the earliest youth level and let Academy’s bring a new level of fitness, strategy and tactics to bear later.

  61. GW says:

    In other words you want to have it both ways, you want to have your cake and eat it too, you want to have champagne on a beer budget and my favorite you want to get to heaven but you don”t want to die.

    You really do think you can get something for nothing don”t you?

  62. GW says:

    That is the nature of competition.

    Soccer Academies are not like Vo-Tech.

    Do you think Dempsey had it easy growing up?

  63. Ricky B. Free says:

    Guess what? You develop first tocuh and passing skills by practicing, even if you play all day outside and no one shows you how to control the ball, it wont matter. Kids in Netherlands start going to academies when they are 5 years old.

    I believe that Arjen Robben is from Netherlands and he is one of the best at going at people.

    If you dont believe what I am saying search for THE AJAX WAY.

  64. Geeps says:

    RIP High School soccer, at least for top talent. Next up: college soccer! And for those who say elite players don’t all play Academy — aaah, ok, if you say so. They surely won’t be elite if they skip the Academy train.

    Blowing up traditions suck, but USSF is pushing us in right direction. Soccer is different than other sports in that we need to compete on world stage. USA model for other sports isn’t and won’t work!

  65. Gmills@gmail.com says:

    “traditions”…hyperbole much?

  66. jonathan s says:

    I keep hearing of these cost. So I’m curious, how much does a typical academy cost anyway???

  67. Grubbsbl says:

    Tim Ream played club for Scott Gallagher FC in St. Louis, which is now part of the academy set up. And while St. Dominic probably played at a decent level, his development came from the fine coaches at Gallagher not high school. So I don’t see how this move runs the risk of losing players like Ream.

  68. GSScasual says:

    if high school and university soccer worked, England, Spain, and Italy would use it.

  69. Martin Blank says:

    Can be upwards of $1000 per month. One of the advantages of having MLS involved, though, is that none of those players pay to participate. MLS Academies are free. Other non-MLS academies are starting to use this model as well, paying for programs through sponsorship money.

    The current academy system is way more inclusive that the previous “premier” system used to be.

  70. H2Oman says:

    Life is about choices and yes compromises. If High School Soccer is a greater priority for a kid, no one is stopping them from quitting Academy and playing high school soccer… they just can’t do both. Welcome to life. Clearly the current system is not working to make us competitive with top level countries. Change is hard but… different results will require different actions. I think this is a very good start.

  71. Ted in MN says:

    Mate that is exactly my point. Going forward, guys like Ream won’t be able to do both. They’ll pick one or the other. With many of the top athletes deciding to pick a normal, healthy, social role, isn’t there a large potential for those people to fall through the cracks> By placing an inherent emphasis on what will in all likelihood be the less appealing option for many of the most talented, we leave the door open for many to drop through the system. To a decent extent, we’re giving up on the highschool system and yet the United States isn’t like most countries. Education and sports are inherently tied here. Suppose Ream decides to play just high school and doesn’t get the academy play, never develops cause US soccer ain’t looking in that area and never reaches his full talent.
    You’ve actually captured my point in a nutshell.

  72. Ted in MN says:

    I was defending the current system

  73. Ted in MN says:

    Now that is the one thing that gets completely dropped out. Soccer in the United States is a rich man’s. Want to play academy? Pay for it. That’s why at times the education/sports system is good: public funding.

  74. tom says:

    And Robben has a great right foot. Can we thank the academies that? Did they not think that was something to work on?

  75. Sam says:

    You could argue that this is actually creating more opportunities for players–those who are talented before high school go to academies, and then you have more opportunities for late bloomers to develop in high school.

    Also, some players who know they don’t have a shot of playing pro or college will still be allowed to participate, and doing so is one of the more valuable experiences in high school

  76. r says:

    This is the biggest problem we have. ODP and acadamy is for good players with parents that can afford it. there are great players that CANT afford it.

  77. r says:

    I agree with Ted…..if you have to choose between being a normal high school kid or devoting every second of your time to the Acadamy a lot of kids will (and should) choose the normal high school experience.

  78. Tim F. says:

    I don’t think they are innately mutually exclusive. I think they co-exist over a 12 month period and that the academy clubs would benefits from its players doing both.

  79. LA G says:

    I lost two of my best players to academies this year. My team was infinitely better them on it. I hate this rule. They just need to break for january-february so they can play a few games for their high schools. They don’t have to play the whole season, just allow them to get the HS experience.

  80. allouez86 says:

    No, it means that they will constantly be practicing and playing in an environment that’s more capable of providing the correct training to improve our youth players. While there are some great highschool programs out there, the majority of them don’t really compete with the DA when it comes to proper coaching and training techniques.

  81. Ricky B. Free says:

    Most idiotic statement. If you want to argue for the sake of arguing well.

    Messi doesnt have a great right foot, now what?

    Roger clemens couldnt throw with his left hand, Eli Manning can only throw with his right hand.

    Whats the point? Some people cant always use both feet or hands to play sports.

  82. Lee from Madison says:

    +1 Very well said.

  83. smokeminside says:

    I don’t think this is unlike the club and/or country question. For many kids, high school is their country. It’s not as easy a choice as it might seem. It is a distinctly European model, where they slot kids into specific educational/sports tracks much earlier than we do.

    This forces the choice making to come earlier, and in the long run may lead to stronger players/teams, but at the cost of a “normal” high school experience for those talented enough to join the academies.
    One could argue that’s already been happening with year-round participation in almost all sports (save American football). At my son’s school, a three-sport athlete is practically extinct.

    And, no matter what system is used, kids will be missed because of lack of financial or geographic access.

  84. smokeminside says:

    +1

  85. smokeminside says:

    You’re right, but there’s a difference between the $2000/ year I pay for my kids to play club soccer and the $500 I pay for them to play equally competitive club baseball. Same amount of practices/games/quality of instruction for each sport. Same upsides and downsides. Interestingly enough, roughly the same opportunities for college scholarships, on a pure numbers basis.

  86. H2Oman says:

    I can’t lie… I am honestly perplexed by the number of folks that see this as a negative… particularly bemoaning the detriment to high school soccer.

    Does ANYONE really think a 17 year old playing high school soccer is getting training anywhere near comparable their counterparts in foreign academies… many of the top already in prof. development? We aren’t talking about good players… we are talking about a place to nurture the best of the best. I played HS Soccer in a nice program in CA, I loved it… but I would never dream of saying it was adequate preparation to be top notch.

    Some will slip through the crack? Certainly… no system is perfect, but our past system has seen virtually ALL our potential talent slip through the cracks when it comes to getting what they need to develop at a level competitive to other nations.

    Cliche for a reason: “The definition of Insanity is repeating the same actions expecting different results.” Unless ya’ll are content with mediocrity, it’s high time we considered a different approach. Personally, I am very pleased with recent trends w/i US Soccer. It will take some time to bear fruit, so the sooner we get started, the better!!!!

  87. Vic says:

    We shouldn’t be so sure that this will be the end of high school soccer. Currently, PDA plays during the high school season anyway. I know for example Red Bull Academy always practiced 3 to 4 times a week with games on weekends. Although a couple of players didn’t play high school soccer, most did. High School practices were right after school while RBA are at night.

  88. Alex F. says:

    H2Oman, what recent trends in US Soccer are you so pleased with? The US Academy? This program is defintely a step up from what we had but it is soooo far away from competing with the rest of the world it isn’t funny. What the top European countries have in place stacked up to what the US has is like Joan Rivers facing up against Beyonce in a beauty contest.

    Go to a US Academy showcase and take a good hard look at the level of play and even more frightening take a look at the level of coaching/training.

    The US Academy still places WAY too much emphasis on winning, the coaching is substandard (still a good job for a lot of English carpetbagger coaches) and what is even more alarming the top brass at US Soccer think that this is some great program.

    It is very sad to say the least.

  89. mario says:

    lol and what about the world cup, dont you think these kids would also like to work for that once and in a lifetime event?

  90. Northzax says:

    Yes. This. How dare kids get an education! You want to produce eleven world class players? You have to be willing to wash out eleven thousand great 14 year olds. Price of doing business. Go ask the guy behind the bar at your average pub who he played for.

  91. Northzax says:

    A million kids have talent. Fifty of them will make a living at it. That’s a lot of collateral damage.

  92. crazyj says:

    We are a middle class society that values education, if we create a system that forces talented players to pick between education or professional soccer we could actually end up losing players. Also, high school soccer has provided a lot of exposure for the sport, is this the right time to remove soccer from the mainstream of american sports?

  93. Futbol4a says:

    Academy = 1% of HS students. Now, if we can just get college on a 10 month schedule and HS/College to use FIFA rules (including substitution) then we will be talking.

  94. Ricky B. Free says:

    Thats life.

  95. Ricky B. Free says:

    lol Where does it say that kids should drop out of high school?

    Where does it say that high school soccer programs will close.

    Its almost as if people dont really want to have better players and a better national team.

  96. Bakasama says:

    Going with the Wynalda argument?

    By the way Denmark’s league runs almost concurrently with MLS and ends December 4th or so. England gets about as cold as the Pacific Northwest and Scotland is about the same. Also it isn’t that hard to travel around those countries when a snow storm hits because everything is so close but here in the USA try and grab a connecting flight through Denver in the middle of the winter….

  97. Dennis says:

    You re right if you mean that Bradley has advocated longer seasons for players and that the best players play with and against one-another. He has advocated that since the first time I met him nearly 30 years ago. Advocating for something and actually making it happen are different things, so in that respect, you are probably wrong.

  98. Dennis says:

    I think the biggest problem with both HS and college soccer is not either the quality of coaching, or the level of talent, it is that both have seasons that are so short that no meaningful individual development can take place. In college, the best players play on some PDL or summer league to extend their training time, in HS, the best players compete on some combination of Travel, Premier, SuperY-League, or Academy teams outside the HS season. (Some states have rules that forbid HS players from playing on teams outside their school at all, some forbid such play only during the season, and nearly all states prohibit the coach from holding practices outside the 3 month HS season.) The NCAA has very strict rules about the number of training sessions, number of players who may participate and their duration for practices overseen by college staff. That said, simply removing these season limiting rules would not make HS sports all better.

  99. CheckUrFacts says:

    Not true; most MLS academies are free to participants; there’s also a fully residential (all expenses paid, I think) academy in Phoenix.

  100. OneMatchAtATime says:

    Sorry, Hincha Tim is right, at least partially. The so-called curriculum is nowhere to be seen at the AYSO level or even at the competitive level. Anytime you have W/L tables posted, I’d argue that the cause of development is lost. This is a pervasive phenomenon, unfortunately, from U-8 leagues to the Development Academy; if the Academy is truly about development, there would not be any play-offs, championship etc. And spare me the b.c. about play-offs being “American’. Don’t get me wrong, winning is extremely important; if I pick a roster of 18 kids for a match, I absolutely want them to win THAT game, but develop OVER the season. Keeping W/L records, goals-scored statistics, etc. only help lazy college coaches, and put unnecessary pressure on coaches to make the play-offs. After all, all the academy matches are watched by USSF personnel, and there should be no reason to keep a table online.

    And the pressure to win often translates into how the games are played — typically with two defensive midfielders, ultra-cautious, too many back passes… not teaching the kids to take calculated risks at the right points in the game.

  101. JustTheFacts says:

    About $400 a month averaged over the year (incl coaching fees, equipment, travel); I’m paying (non-MLS club in a high-cost metro) so I should know.

  102. LastPostForTheDay says:

    HS and College are important to US soccer, but not for the reasons many people think. They are an integral part of the modern educational experience. From a purely soccer perspective, their value is not to develop players, but they (intended or not) serve an excellent purpose: players who don’t turn pro or who don’t wish to turn pro can still enjoy playing college soccer, likewise players who don’t turn the academy route still get to enjoy HS soccer. The money in college scholarships is still a great draw, which means that there is going to be increased competition at the HS/Academy level, which improves the level of overall play. If college and HS opportunities serve to broaden the base of the pyramid, the quality at the top can only get better.

    So I wish people stop moaning about college soccer not following FIFA rules or HS season being just 3 months or whatever. The reason why HS soccer is not a good development vehicle (unlike the case of American football or basketball) is that there isn’t a pool of great coaches at this level to enable scaling development to all high schools; with A. Football and basketball, those sports are very much part of our culture, so there are decent coaches at virtually every part of the country. Heck, not all 70-odd academies play watchable soccer, so there’s a serious lack of coaching talent in this country.

  103. This is great news. Kids in the US need more opportunities to develop their level of play. Kids in the US need go get out and moving. It does not take much to throw a pick up game together all you really need is a few players and an open field. Kids in the US meet all the time to shoot baskets or play touch football, but rarely do you see them doing a pick up soccer game or just play. Kids soccer gear can be bought through the US, but when looking to play the games, there are just not enough kids taking advantage of being able to just get out and moving. I think the more soccer is encouraged through means of the league and the federation the more kids will come together. Other countries all over the world play soccer as though it is just part of their lives, and in the US kids do not play unless it is a schedule event. I think by developing more schedule events and coaches of those schedule events encouraging kids to get out and get pick up games will also help in bring soccer to the US. I have two daughters that would play soccer everyday of the week, anytime of the day, but their friends and teammates just do not have that desire to do so. I am not sure why that is but if you have the love for the game then you should be out there putting picks together. My girls have had to join the international groups a colleges and university to get pick up games or just to get touches on the ball. It is amazing to me how these international players welcome them in to play, but they are hindered because most of the time it is guys playing not girls so they do struggle with that gender aspect. Overall with this new 10 month session, it will get US kids more involved and more on the thought process of playing soccer on a regular bases. I would love to see more kids playing in the park, in their yards, or in the streets, but until that happens the 10 month session will be a great way for US to enter the world of soccer.

  104. MicahK says:

    If this was a comment on FB I would give it a like. :D But very good point.

  105. I believe there are many talented kids that fall through the cracks because they do not have the mean to get notice, but as far as playing for their high school does not mean they will fall through the cracks. I do not think high school is that great of an opportunity for kids to be noticed anyways because some high schools do not have a well developed program themselves. I believe you have to play at a high level of soccer to be seen anyways and that takes money. It is that simple.

  106. H2Oman says:

    Well Alex… you said it yourself… is not a step up something to be pleased about over the same ol’ same ol’ anemic approach we have seen for…. ever? MLS development league and academies, US Academy, integrated philosophy throughout system, longer season… all good things. Notice I said pleased with trends, not satisfied with where we are. There is a huge distinction. Unfortunately, there are no magic pills, no button to push to immediately put the US at the top level. Profound change is incremental, a process. First you need the desire to change, then the will, then the resources devoted and the structure has to be put in place. Then… lots of hard work and patience to stay the course. Until recently, I didn’t see many signs of any of the above in a sustained manner. I think we are just now to the point where we are putting the structure in place, so really, the work has only begun, but at least now I can have hope. Placing too much emphasis on winning. I agree… until a few years ago, this was rarely addressed. You now hear it from the mouths of everyone in the game right on down to AYSO coaches, so… although not yet entirely fixed, the fact that it has been identified is a very good sign. Course we have a long way to go… bottom line, I am glad we seem to be taking the first steps. OUT!

  107. Cmillls says:

    You missed my point. I am saying if you don’t have great touch by u16, extra academy practices is not th e answer.

  108. Think Outside the Box says:

    You are in correct. The academy program cannot pay for travel, food, and or training because this would violate the athlete’s NCAA eligibility.

  109. Think Outside the Box says:

    Dempsy and McBride both played high school soccer and are considedered two of the best U.S. players to play in the Prem. Because of the money involved the number of players who would even consider the Academy program will decrease. That is not the solution. The United States has turned a poor man’s sport into a rich man’s sport. The claims that this is what Europe does is not accurate. In Europe the Academies are free. All that matters is the player’s ability. We are a different culture and need to figure out a system that fits our culture.