Commentary

So far, 53 clubs join Girls Development Academy

By Mike Woitalla

U.S. Soccer, which on June 30 announced the first 25 clubs that will play in the inaugural Girls Development Academy season of 2017-18, last weekend named another 28 participants, and has indicated that more clubs will be announced in the near future.

So far, California is the best represented state, with eight Southern California and five Northern California clubs. Seven Florida clubs, so far, have been accepted.

CALIFORNIA-SOUTH (8): Beach FC, Eagles SC, LA Galaxy San Diego, LA Premier, Legends FC, LAFC-Slammers, San Diego Surf, So Cal Blues.
FLORIDA (7): Boca United, Clay County SC, IMG Academy, Jacksonville Armada Youth Academy (JFC), Orlando Pride/City SC, West Florida Flames, Weston FC.
CALIFORNIA-NORTH (5): Davis Legacy, De Anza Force, Lamorinda, Mustang, San Juan SC.
TEXAS-NORTH (4): Dallas Texans, Sting Soccer Club, FC Dallas, Solar Chelsea SC.
VIRGINIA (3): FC Virginia, Virginia Development Academy, Washington Spirit-Virginia.
WASHINGTON (3): Eastside FC, Crossfire, Seattle Reign.
COLORADO (2): Colorado Rush, Real Colorado.
GEORGIA (2): Concorde Fire, Tophat NTH.
ILLINOIS (2): Eclipse Select, Sockers FC.
MASSACHUSETTS (2): FC Stars, Boston Breakers.
MICHIGAN (2): Michigan Hawks, Midwest United.
NEW JERSEY (2): Match Fit Academy, Sky Blue FC-PDA.
NEW YORK (2): East Meadow SC, World Class FC.
NORTH CAROLINA (2): CASL, Charlotte Soccer Academy.
MARYLAND (1): Washington Spirit-Maryland.
MINNESOTA (1): Shattuck-St. Mary's.
OHIO (1): Cincinnati Development Academy/Kings Hammer/CUP.
OKLAHOMA (1): TSC Hurricane.
OREGON (1): Portland Thorns.
PENNSYLANIA (1): Penn Fusion SA.
TEXAS-SOUTH (1): Lonestar SC.

U.S. Soccer indicated upon the Girls DA launch that it expects 60-80 clubs to compete in the first season, which kicks of in fall of 2017, fielding teams in U-14/15, U-16/17 and U-18/19 age groups.

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Semis set for Boys Development Academy national championships

FC Dallas has reached the semifinals in both U-15/16 and U-17/18 divisions of the U.S. Soccer Boys Development Academy 2015-16 national championships.

U-15/16 Quarterfinals
FC Dallas 3 (Ferreira, Ferreira, Ferreira) Real Salt Lake AZ 1 (Zarris)
Weston FC 0 Chicago Fire 3 (Akindele, Cepeda, Takawira) (OT)
LA Galaxy 1 (Estrada) Real So Cal 0
Real Colorado 1 (De Soto) FC Golden State 0

U-17/18 Quarterfinals
FC Dallas 1 (Montesdeoca) Sporting Kansas City 0 (OT)
Vancouver Whitecaps 5 (Sagno, Gardner, Amanda, Campbell, Baires) Sacramento Republic 3 (Kraft, Avoce, Aguilar)
Philadelphia Union 1 (Samuel) PDA 3 (Burnett, Burnett, Young)
Real Salt Lake AZ 1 (Fourcand) Nomads SC 2 (Castellanos, Vargas)

U-15/16 Semifinals
July 14 in Carson, Calif.
FC Dallas-Chicago Fire 4 pm ET
LA Galaxy-Real Colorado 6:30 pm ET
U-17/18 Semifinals
July 14 in Carson, Calif.
PDA-Vancouver Whitecaps 9 pm ET
FC Dallas-Nomads 11:30 pm ET

FC Dallas’ U-15/16s are aiming to become the first repeat champions in Development Academy history. Semifinal games (July 14) and finals (July 16) will be streamed live at U.S. Soccer's YouTube channel.

Development Academy Champions U-15/16
2015 FC Dallas
2014 LA Galaxy
2013 Real Salt Lake AZ
2012 New York Red Bulls
2011 LA Galaxy
2010 Chicago Fire
2009 Derby County Wolves
2008 Carmel United

Development Academy Champions U-17/18
2015 Chicago Fire
2014 PDA
2013 New York Red Bulls
2012 FC Dallas
2011 Pateadores
2010 Vardar SC
2009 Carmel United
2008 Baltimore Bays

7 comments about "So far, 53 clubs join Girls Development Academy ".
  1. Ric Fonseca, July 11, 2016 at 4:45 p.m.

    Re: First a hearty congratulations to the Girls DA Teams! While I am in support of the - about time!!! - inclusion of the ladies into the overall Developmental Academy structure, I've what some would consider this a cynical question: Can/could someone tell me if any of the teams are from the inner cities?

  2. Scott Johnson replied, July 11, 2016 at 7:37 p.m.

    Probably depends on what you mean. Unlike neighborhood clubs, which may focus on one town or 'hood or whatnot, DA clubs generally operate on a statewide or a region-wide scale. Portland Thorns DA, for instance, is intended to serve girls all throughout the Portland area (if not all of Oregon and SW Washington), not just the "burbs". (Note that Portland's Latino population is mainly found in the suburbs--particularly Washington County and East Portland/Gresham--and in the agricultural heartland of the Willamette Valley; not in Portland's "inner city" which in these parts is thoroughly gentrified, and mainly filled with hipsters and yuppies :P). Some cities/regions are big enough for more than one DA club, but whether they will be demographically sorted, I don't know. A bigger hurdle for low-income youth (whether in inner cities or agricultural areas) is money--if it costs thousands of dollars out of pocket to play, that will be a major problem if some sort of subsidy is not available. (A common complaint about ECNL on the girls' side is that it's expensive, though how it will compare to the DA, I don't know). Other issues to consider: 1) how good is outreach into minority communities, with Spanish-speaking communities a particular concern; 2) does the club culture make certain demographics uncomfortable? 3) How easy it is for players--particularly those without ready access to Mom's minivan--to reaching training, games, etc.?

  3. SRH IAM replied, July 12, 2016 at 2:52 p.m.

    Great inference on the income issue. My quick read shares Scott's cynicism in that I have to imagine costs to go up because these Clubs have to keep their players busy with multiple leagues and tournaments over a 10+ month period or fear losing players to other Clubs, sports, or personal interests. Not to mention the existing tournaments that are good to fill up a calendar, which already require more out of pocket costs. Unless a Club subsidizes or receives sponsorship funding I find it difficult to see how lower income families could afford such development initiatives.

  4. Ric Fonseca replied, July 12, 2016 at 4:37 p.m.

    Scott, re Your last three points in your first comment above, the answers are all too self evident. As an "aside" I've just seen a photo of the USWN Olympic Team and not one is a player of color. So in a nutshell, I can categorically tell you without a shadow of a doubt that the "powers that be" are making ANY effort to go into the inner cities, and to satisfy some of you: the barrios, the hoods, and "low-income" communities. So, que pasa aqui???

  5. Scott Johnson replied, July 12, 2016 at 5:02 p.m.

    ¿Que pasa aqui! ¡Dinero insuficiente!

  6. Gambrel AddOne, July 13, 2016 at 7:03 p.m.

    34 of these 53 teams are current ECNL clubs, already more than half the ECNL. The quality of play in ECNL is going to take a serious hit, if it survives at all.

  7. Chris Kovalcik, July 15, 2016 at 6:37 p.m.

    Isn't this what we wanted instead of the historically fractured environment? A real feeder system of top-level player development to college and pros. As All American mentions, DA is that feeder system and in 10 years, it will certainly be recognized as such. ECNL and non-DA clubs, will be recognized as a 2nd and/or 3rd tier system. They will have good players and some will be good enough to play college or go pro. These other clubs will also serve as a pipeline to the DA clubs.

    For the ECNL and non-DA clubs, I think we will see more and more parents tire of the fee structure if there are less of the college opportunities, including prime DI or good academics they are paying for upfront.

    As I always tell my team's parents, don't play soccer hoping for college scholarship as you are better off focusing on academics.

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