[DEVELOPMENT ACADEMY] MLS's Philadelphia Union has opened its own high school for its youth academy players.
“We’re the only ones [in MLS] that have started and deployed our own high school program,” Union CEO Nick Sakiewicz told MLSsoccer.com. “I think that’s going to be a game-changer for us.”
Real Salt Lake and FC Dallas have partnered with outside schools but the Union is launching the YSC Academy in an office complex across the street its youth development training center in Wayne, Pa.
“What the school allows us to do is really drive the cultural identity of the club,” Richie Graham, the owner of YSC Sports and a part owner of the Union, told MLSSoccer.com’s Dave Zeitlin. “We considered partnering with an outside school, but an outside school has its own culture.”
The school, which opens for class in September, welcomes 32 boys for the 2013-14 school year in grades 8th through 11th.
The curriculum includes training sessions in the morning and another one in the afternoon.
“This is not an inexpensive venture,” Sakiewicz said. “This is multiple millions of dollars over a long period of time. But our dream is to put as many starting-11 players as we can from our local area. And this is how we can do that.”