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Friedel academy changes focus
by Paul Kennedy, January 9th, 2009 2:45PM
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Brad Friedel's Premier Soccer Academies, the nation's only soccer-only private residency program, has teamed up with Ohio's Cleveland Alliance Soccer Association to form two U.S. Soccer Development Academy teams (U-16 and U-18) in a move that signals the end of its ambitious residency program.

PSA, whose facilities in Lorain, Ohio, near where Friedel grew up, include a state-of-the-art $11 million soccer complex, will instead put more training emphasis on Ohio youth. Under this new formula, the PSA-CASA Academy Team would include players from the Great Lakes Region. 

"We need to get back to focusing on the talent within our community, Ohio and our region," said Friedel, the PSA founder. "When we first put the building blocks together on our desire to improve the way players are developed in this country my intent was and still is focusing on the players nearest to where I grew up in northeast Ohio. CASA has proven over the years to develop local talented players and with us combining our coaches and using our facilities we will be able to develop greater numbers of local/regional players more efficiently."
 
As of Feb. 1, players selected for the PSA-CASA academy teams will pay nothing.

PSA is also creating an in-house training program for boys and girls ages 6-12 and an early player development class each week for players ages 3-6. It will continue to operate camp programs.

The residency program had attracted players from across the country, as well as from Brazil, Chile, Venezuela, Zambia, Mexico and Canada.

Victor Garza from Texas and Joel Nash from Alabama entered U.S. Soccer's U-17 Residency Program in the fall after spending time at PSA. Venezuelan Visnu Maharaj, 16, is reportedly heading to preseason camp with MLS's Colorado Rapids.



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