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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 improve the everyday environment for the elite youth player.
The Development Academy is a partnership between U.S. Soccer and the top youth clubs around the country to provide the best youth players in the U.S. with an every day environment designed to produce the next generation of National Team players. The Academy’s programming philosophy of increased training, less total games and more competitive games is based on U.S. Soccer’s Best Practices utilized by the U-17 U.S. National Team Residency program.
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 team is evaluated by a National Team coach at least ten times each year and each Academy club receives two formal evaluations in over 100 categories each year from National Team staff.
The Development Academy is also focused on identifying and developing the next generation of elite referees. U.S. Soccer assigns up-and-coming officials to participate in Academy games at the local level and at national events.