Commentary

Boys Development Academy expands again -- adds U-15 division

By Mike Woitalla

The U.S. Soccer Boys Development Academy, which launched in 2007 with two age groups, will be adding a single-age U-15 division in the 2017-18 season. That will give it six divisions, from U-12 to U-18/19.

“Over time, we have closely monitored the Development Academy combined groups to assess the impact on talent identification and development, especially at the ages during early adolescence where there can be significant physical differences, based on an individual’s maturation rate,” said Director of Scouting Tony Lepore. “From looking at the data and speaking with our Technical Advisors and club directors, we know that adding U-15 single age group to the program will not only expand the influence and player pool, but it will also help clubs streamline the learning environment and allow individual players to follow their own pathway.

"The expansion to U-15 single age will really help to provide a place for individuals born later in the year or talented late developers, similar to what we have seen with the addition of the DA U-13 single age group this season,” said Lepore.

Academy Timeline
2007 Founded -- U-15/16 and U-17/18 (64 clubs)
2011 Introduces 10-month season. (74 clubs).
2013 Adds U-13/14 age group (23 new clubs).
2014 Total number of clubs: 101.
2016 Adds U-12 age group; U-13 and U-14 split into single groups. (150 clubs)
2017 Adds U-15 age group

The addition of a single birth year U-15 age group will add about 1,500 players to DA clubs and will increase total number of DA players in all age groups to more than 12,000.

“The addition of the U-15 age group is another important step to ensure players have the opportunities they need to develop on and off the field,” U.S. Soccer Development Academy Director Jared Micklos said. “We have all seen the benefits of the increased opportunities this season with the split of last season’s U-13/14 division into single U-13 and U-14 age groups. We believe the U-15 age group will be another avenue for clubs to further their player development efforts.”

Age groups and number of clubs for 2017-18 season that kicks off in September 2017:

All 73 DA clubs that currently field U-15/16 and U-17/18 teams will expand their membership to field U-15 teams in 2017-18. The first clubs that have been fielding lower age DA teams only that have been promoted to field U-15 teams are: Albion SC (San Diego, Calif.), Armada FC Pro Academy (Jacksonville, Fla.), Ballistic United SC (Pleasanton, Calif.), Cedar Stars Academy-Bergen (Carlstadt, N.J.), New York SC (Chappaqua, N.Y.), Virginia Development Academy (Woodbridge, Va.).

The adoption of calendar-year registration for the 2017-18 creates a change in the age groups, for example, U-17/18 to U-18/19.

Age groups and number of clubs for the current season 2016-17:

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U.S. U-15 boys open 2017 with 24-player camp

The U.S. U-15 boys national team, coached by Dave van den Bergh, is in its first training camp of 2017 with a 24-player squad in Chula Vista, California. The team, comprised of players born in 2002, played to a 3-3 tie against Tijuana Xolos U-17 team on Monday. 

U.S. U-15 boys national team
GOALKEEPERS (2): Damian Las (Chicago Fire; Norridge, Ill.), Kash Oladapo (Portland Timbers; Happy Valley, Ore.).
DEFENDERS (8): Axel Alejandre (FC United; Chicago, Ill.), Sebastian Anderson (Real Colorado; Highlands Ranch, Colo.), George Bello (Atlanta United; Douglasville, Ga.), Owen Guske (Armada FC; Saint Johns, Fla.), Mason Judge (Chargers SC; Tampa, Fla.), Joshua Negrete (Cedar Stars Bergen; Clifton, N.J.), Kenny Nielsen (Pateadores; Irvine, Calif.), Joseph Scally (NYCFC; Lake Grove, N.Y.).
MIDFIELDERS (7): Nick Andersen (D.C. United; Washington D.C.), Julian Anderson (Philadelphia Union; Ocean, N.J.), Josh Atencio (Seattle Sounders FC; Seattle, Wash.), Gilbert Fuentes Perez (San Jose Earthquakes; Tracy, Calif.), Daniel Robles (Seattle Sounders FC; Burien, Wash.), Adam Saldana (Real So Cal; Panorama City, Calif.), Peter Stroud (New York Red Bulls; Chester, N.J.).
FORWARDS (7): Gianluca Busio (Sporting KC; Greensboro N.C.), Victor Cano (LA Galaxy; Santa Monica, Calif.), Julian Gaines (Lonestar SC; Austin, Texas), Andres Jasson (NYCFC; Greenwich, Conn.), Daniel Mangarov (Atlanta United; Duluth, Ga.), Alfonso Ocampo Chavez (Seattle Sounders FC; Graham, Wash.), Giovanni Reyna (NYCFC; Bedford, N.Y.).

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U.S. U-16 girls hold first 2017 camp

Coach Jaime Frias  has called up 24 players, all but one born in 2002, for the first U.S. U-16 girls national team camp of 2017 -- Jan. 16-22 at the Chula Vista Elite Athlete Training Center in San Diego.

The age group has graduated from the U-14 program and will spend two years in the U-16 program before moving on to U-18. They are all eligible for the 2018 U-17 Women’s World Cup, which has an age cut-off of Jan. 1, 2001, and will be the core age group for the team that aims to qualify for the U-20 Women’s World Cup in 2022.

Two of the players -- defender Makenna Morris and midfielder Talia DellaPeruta -- played on the U.S. team coached by Mark Carr that won the 2016 Concacaf U-15 Girls Championship last year in Florida.

U.S. U-15 girls national team
GOALKEEPERS (3): Ryan Campbell (So Cal Blues; Dana Point, Calif.), Taylor Fox (Orlando City; Titusville, Fla.), Mia Justus (PDA; North Brunswick, N.J.).
DEFENDERS (8): Devi Dudley (Utah Celtic FC; American Fork, Utah), Samar Guidry (FC Dallas; McKinney, Texas), Sydney Jones (Cincinnati United; Hamilton, Ohio), Lucy Mitchell (Concorde Fire; Alpharetta, Ga.), Makenna Morris (Bethesda SC; Germantown, Md.), Kayla Primm (Ohio Premier; Lewis Center, Ohio), Emily Royson (PDA; Toms River, N.J.), Dasia Torbert (Tophat; Buford, Ga.).
MIDFIELDERS (7): Josie Alicino (Michigan Hawks; Northville, Mich.), Aislynn Crowder (Hawaii Rush; Mililani, Hawaii), Talia DellaPeruta (Tophat; Cumming, Ga.), Alexa Gonzalez (Arsenal FC; Riverside, Calif.), Kayleen Gowers (De Anza Force; Los Altos, Calif.), Isabel Loza (Arsenal FC; La Mirada, Calif.), Michaela Rosenbaum (Santa Rosa United; Santa Rosa, Calif.).
FORWARDS (6): Trinity Byars (Soccer FC; Richardson, Texas), Kailyn Dudukovich (Cincinnati United; West Chester, Ohio), Sam Kroeger (World Class FC; West Milford, N.J.), Kacey Lawrence (Connecticut FC; Monroe, Conn.), Aryssa Mahrt (FC Wisconsin Eclipse; Wauwatosa, Wisc.), Trinity Rodman (So Cal Blues; Newport Beach, Calif.).

7 comments about "Boys Development Academy expands again -- adds U-15 division ".
  1. cony konstin, January 10, 2017 at 9:34 p.m.

    More money wasted. We need radical change. We need a soccer revolution in the US. We need a new vision. We need new leadership. We need a 21st century master plan. We are devoloping robots not football players. Our pay to play model is an abomination if your goal is to make talented players. But this model is good if your goal is to make nice kids. But before you start to make nice kids or talented players you must first focus on developing Passion. Passion is the most important component. Why? Because now you are not only developing players but also future fans, coaches, refs, administrators, money people, and other positions that are involve in the game. How do you become passionate in anything? You must do it everyday to the point that when you are not doing that it hurts you so bad that you want cry because you are not doing it. That is passion. How do we create this type of environment? By building 600,000 futsal courts so kids can play king of the court, 24/7/365/, for free and with no adult interference. You create this playground/streetball/sandlot environment then you will develop a world of passion and eventually world class talent. Mean while if we continue to sell gimmicks, smoke and mirrors, $400 cleats, coaching DVDs and nice pretty uniforms we will continue to be mediocre. You can't make chicken soup with chicken s$&t. You need a chicken......... It is time that we in the US stop focusing in our football selling and buying crap and start a revolution in developing our way the USONIAN way.

  2. Wolfgang Hoffman replied, February 3, 2017 at 2:22 p.m.

    Cony I love your passion in this post. I am really interested to hear what you are doing to drive change. You are the Director or Coaching for one of the clubs I would classify as the most entrenched in the current problematic US soccer infrastructure.

  3. Bob Ashpole, January 10, 2017 at 10:15 p.m.

    Pushing down the DA to U11, which includes some 10 year olds, is a mistake. It is pushing the critical identification and extension of elite training opportunities to an age that makes no sense. This will create a huge barrier for the kids not selected at age 10 to enter the program when they are older. It will also promote pay to play for the multitude of 10 year olds not selected. A supplemental training program for promising 10-12 year old players would reach far more players for the same effort. Forming them into teams and running elite competitions at that age is not going to promote player development any more than supplemental training and leaving the players with their existing clubs. If you find a 10 year old soccer-genius treat that case as an exception, but don't design a huge program to fit an exception. I cannot help but think that this change reflects an intention to teach team tactics to U11s and U12s instead of fundamentals. In all youth sports some people think you can create better athletes by teaching novices intermediate subjects. It doesn't work as well in the long term as teaching fundamentals first.

  4. Bob Ashpole replied, January 10, 2017 at 10:44 p.m.

    This is really no different than teaching 12 year old baseball pitchers to throw curve balls. It makes for a hot 12 year old pitcher but it is wrong on so many levels.

  5. K Michael, January 12, 2017 at 2:50 p.m.

    A step in the right direction, for sure. Say whatever you want of the DA, but it’s the only level that doesn’t play for cups/championships until u16. It’s the only level that is lowering fees (albeit slowly); it’s the only level that features refereeing that actually teaches kids the right way to defend by calling LOTG fouls more consistently. They also are slightly more patient with allowing skilled-but-late-blooming kids to train and play as opposed to being put on a B travel team because they “can’t help us win now.” Far from perfect, a bit too regimented for sure, but growing and evolving in the right direction.
    As for the elite player, that has very little to do with any training environment or level; its 99% touching the ball every day from age 4/5 onwards. Period.

  6. MA Soccer, January 13, 2017 at 8:45 a.m.

    Combined aged groups never made sense. I am sure in near future will separate U11,U12, U13 and U14 for same rationale stated above. Most of the clubs have other non-academy programs which they will quickly fill the U15 teams anyway. This is as much about the development pyramid (and marketing) at the individual clubs as the pyramid for the development academy

  7. ferdie Adoboe, January 26, 2017 at 12:50 p.m.

    So, to what degree do all these changes and realignments and moving kids around make a player better?

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