[DEVELOPMENT ACADEMY] U.S. Soccer will add a U-13/14 division to its Development Academy program in the fall of 2013, further drilling down in the world of youth soccer.
The U-13/14 division will consist of current Development Academy clubs and possibly add clubs from outside the current Academy structure to help meet the regionalized format with less emphasis on travel.
The U-13/14 clubs increase training to four times a week and play fewer but more meaningful matches.
The Development Academy's ban on players playing high school soccer means that freshmen entering high school will never get a chance to play high school soccer. And the long season means these players will probably have to choose soccer as their only sport at a younger age than they previously did.
"We started the Development Academy to improve player development on all levels, and adding a competitive structure to the U-13/14 age group is an important next step in this long-term process," said Development Academy Director of Scouting Tony Lepore in a statement. "The U-13/14 age group is at a very crucial stage in their development. Applying the overall philosophy of the Academy to the U-13/14 age group will allow us to continue to shift the focus of the young elite player to meaningful training and competition."
The application process, format of the schedule and other matters will be announced later.
The Development Academy kicks off its sixth season the weekend of Sept. 8-9 with 80 teams among three conferences and seven divisions at the U-15/16 and U-17/18 levels.