U.S. Soccer has announced a number of youth-related initiatives as it expands its development program. They included adding under-16 and under-19 national teams with full-time coaches on both the boys
and girls sides.
The decision to add two more national teams will give both the men and women teams at every age from under-14 to under-20. It will help fill the gaps that develop because
the cycles for the two FIFA World Cups at the youth level target different birth years: even years for the boys as U-17s and odd years for the boys as U-20s and vice versa for the girls.
Another U.S. Soccer player initiative on the boys side will be expand its Development Academy down to the under-12 level in 2016. It is in its second season of an under-14 program in which teams play
regionally against Development Academy programs and select programs invited to participate. The Development Academy was founded in 2007 for two age groups: under-17/18 and under-15/16.
The federation will expand its coaching program to launch licensing courses for the certification of youth technical director and pro licenses and will start an online digital coaching center. It
wants to make these courses affordable and available to coaches so they can fit them in their schedules. Earlier this year, U.S. Soccer announced it was partnering with Sporting Kansas City on the
National Coaching Education Center.
U.S. Soccer is in the process of hiring an outside organization to evaluate its youth national teams and the Development Academy program.
U.S. Soccer will move to standardize the elements of youth soccer from how many players will play to the size of the fields at each age group.