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Club vs. Academy Argument in American Youth Soccer

The club vs. academy argument being had in youth soccer circles from the D.C. and northern Virginia area is, at least for now, being won by the side backed by the U.S. Soccer, as D.C. United's Under-17 team recently won its second SUM Cup in three years and made the U.S. Soccer Development Academy finals.

For those unfamiliar with the dilemma at the U.S. youth level, it was one in which, according to reporter Paul Tenorio, it was becoming "focused too much on winning tournaments and participating in college showcases and not enough on individual development."

Having conducted its own cross-country review, U.S. Soccer and President Sunil Gulati stated that in order for the further maturation of the U.S. national team program, "it is the right time for U.S. Soccer to lead a change in the sport at the youth level" and that "we need to shift the focus of our young elite players from an 'overburdened, game emphasis' model to a 'meaningful training and competition' model" in order to "allow players to develop to their full potential.'

While the academy has its detractors, mostly club coaches who are losing their best players to what they perceive is no better value in individuals' preparation to be a pro, D.C. United General Manager Dave Kasper provides perhaps the best argument for it, which is to follow "what's done around the rest of the world" and "have a proper academy system that can one day feed players into the first team."


Read the whole story at Washington Post »

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