U.S. Soccer is ending U-17 Bradenton Residency program

Launched in 1999, the U.S. Soccer U-17 national team Residency Program in Bradenton, Florida, will end after the current semester.

“One of our main hopes when establishing the U.S. Soccer Residency Program was that at some point advancements in youth player development would make its existence no longer necessary -- we believe that point has been reached.” U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati said. “Not only did the program develop a number of key players for our national teams, it served as a model for academies across the country to follow. With the U.S. Development Academy having achieved high standards in preparing our young athletes, we are now able to impact future American professionals on a much larger scale.”

The inaugural Residency Program class in 1999 included Landon Donovan and DaMarcus Beasley, the Golden Ball and Silver Ball winners at the 1999 U-17 World Cup, at which the USA under Coach John Ellinger finished fourth, which remains the USA’s best finish.

The current Residency Program players are preparing for the Concacaf qualifying tournament (April 21-May 7 in Panama) for the 2017 U-17 World Cup.

“It’s a bittersweet moment because the program has been invaluable for almost two decades as a critical piece of the development process for U.S. Soccer,” said U-17 national team head coach John Hackworth. “The end of the Residency Program signals the next step in the evolution of player development in this country.”

The U.S. Soccer Development Academy, a nationwide league launched in 2007, was designed to take the Residency Program model to the club level and has grown from 63 clubs to 150 with more than 10,000 registered players.

“We will maintain robust U-17 programming to accomplish our goals of providing players with international experience, and qualifying and competing in FIFA U-17 World Cups,” said Hackworth. “We will expand on our work with Development Academy coaches and clubs in order to evaluate players in their home environments on a regular basis. We owe a huge thanks to IMG for being amazing hosts, and we fully expect to continue to utilize their fantastic facilities and build on the relationship of the last 18 years.”

More than 450 players have been through the Residency Program, and more than 150 of those players have moved on to MLS or professional leagues in Europe.

The 33 Residency alums who have appeared for the full U.S. national team are:

Kellyn Acosta, Freddy Adu, Gale Agbossoumonde, Juan Agudelo, Jozy Altidore, Paul Arriola, DaMarcus Beasley, Kyle Beckerman, Michael Bradley, Bobby Convey, Landon Donovan, Greg Garza, Eddie Gaven, Luis Gil, Omar Gonzalez, Joe Gyau, Eddie Johnson, Perry Kitchen, Eric Lichaj, Justin Mapp, Chad Marshall, Dax McCarty, Oguchi Onyewu, Heath Pearce, Christian Pulisic, Santino Quaranta, Robbie Rogers, Rubio Rubin, Brek Shea, Jonathan Spector, Danny Szetela, Anthony Wallace.

24 comments about "U.S. Soccer is ending U-17 Bradenton Residency program".
  1. don Lamb, March 18, 2017 at 8:45 p.m.

    Another sign of progress...

  2. Fire Paul Gardner Now replied, March 19, 2017 at 11:28 a.m.

    Exactly. Others will try to find fault but picking 20 16 year olds and shipping them down to Florida for a few months is far from ideal. What we have now is infinitely better, though obviously still not perfect.

  3. Bob Ashpole, March 19, 2017 at 4:37 a.m.

    To me USSF's attitude in the story (not the writer) is disturbing. USSF says it will "expand" its focus on DA clubs and coaches, but instead I am hearing "narrow" its focus. This plan depends on the DA clubs to identify talent. The vast majority of the DA clubs are "pay to play" and all DA clubs are USSF clubs. My fear is that player identification and selection decisions by these clubs at 10-12 years old will be creating barriers that exclude better talent from playing at elite levels in later years. The fallacy is that the system assumes that the clubs are selecting the best talent, when in fact at best coaches are selecting only some of the best talent. As for talent identification, the DA does not follow the Bradenton model as the DA U17 teams are selected from players in the DA clubs.

  4. Liane Sims replied, March 19, 2017 at 9:45 a.m.

    Your fear is dead on. I've heard some DA clubs, MLS and Non Mls, tell their young non DA members they will only hold tryouts internally for their DA selections for many reasons that are complete BS like loyalty/$$ or because they have followed the development system/$$$. This is the power given to these clubs by the Ussf even though it is very clear these clubs will use this power mainly to generate more income from parents and to better manipulate the situation and yield everyone to their will. I've seen these U12 games and they are boring uncreative and no real talents on these teams which you should see more of at a younger age. Usa National teams picked strictly from DA clubs and promoted that. Whoever questions that is blacklisted. Same will be with DA. Power.

  5. Quarterback TD replied, March 20, 2017 at 9:45 a.m.

    The problem most likely right now is literally two folds.. the first is USSF being a monoloply over soccer when it come to unbiased decisions in selecting players for National teams.. this may be a money issue to get out of the central residency program. It's very expensive to pay IMG rent and gave 50 kids flying in 4 plus times a year all fully paid for. Secondly we have allowed the USSF DA to destroyed the basic fabric that build youth soccer in the US by creating a poison environment from U12 and allowing that to be the sole source of youth selection and with hundreds of millions spent we don't even have a bronze FIFA medal to show for it.. This USSF poison even try to make it seems like the USSF is the way to go to get college scholarships and stop 99.99% of kids who will never be pro from playing HS so they can support a few kids in the Nationals team.. Watch how the women team gets destroyed under this umbrella..
    There are very very few kids who has developed from a grassroots level in USDA and most of the times is some kid who is related to someone on the club. Most players who developed do so under non-academy coaches, father figures who understand the game and send their kids overseas for summer training or hook up with a really good private coach that guides them-- we need to stop giving organizations props for things they don't do..

  6. Fire Paul Gardner Now replied, March 20, 2017 at 10:29 a.m.

    Huh? The national associations in every country have "monopolies" over selecting national team players. That's how it works. In any event, non-DA players are selected for youth national teams. Just look at any youth roster. Sure, most are DA players, but not all. HS soccer is a waste of time for good players. I know from my girls' experience that the worst coaches they played under were HS coaches. Combine the terrible coaches with the insanely packed schedule for HS soccer and it's a bad combination. Much better to have top players playing at a high level for their club year round.

  7. Fire Paul Gardner Now replied, March 20, 2017 at 10:30 a.m.

    Also, terribly naive to think that with the DA less than ten years old, it will be on par with the development systems that have been in place in Europe in SA for decades. It takes time but some people are very impatient.

  8. Quarterback TD replied, March 20, 2017 at 11:54 a.m.

    Fire, what countries that handles their nation team selection runs their program for U12 to U18 ? We never did this nonsense for women and had the most success.. This is monopoly that only damages soccer development.. there should be separation between national team selection, DA clubs and all the other nonsense.. This will allow organization to run programs that is specific for environments e.g. Clubs in Mid West needs are different than those in North East and global rules like not playing HS does more damage than good..

  9. Fire Paul Gardner Now replied, March 20, 2017 at 12:27 p.m.

    Other countries might not have the equivalent of the DA but non-DA players are in fact selected for youth national teams. Take a look at any recent youth roster. Comparing mens and womens games is comparing apples and oranges. Other countries historically have made little effort to developing female players. What we were doing was, at one point, miles ahead of what other countries were doing. That's why we had success in the past, not because ECNL wasn't under the auspices of US Soccer.

  10. frank schoon replied, March 20, 2017 at 12:29 p.m.

    Bob, I"m not amazed that discussions about talent and talent seeking comes down to organization ,structure, methodology, but nothing about real development, skills, the techniques and what is missing and what should be improved on because this system is run by untalented "paper poopers". And I"m not impressed by Bradenton. Looking at this group who are probably the more talented players, but professionally have become "water carriers", boring types ,with a few who that went to Europe and have come back to the MLS for obvious reasons. The DAs are not developing or grooming creative talent, and if there is a creative talent it is due to the individual himself, but unfortunately will be neutered ,like so many Hispanics, to fit a certain style of play and that is also why our Hispanics style of play is nowhere what we see in the rest of Latin America...geez, I wonder why. Knowing many of who are involved and the types who teach, I wouldn't let them touch my kid with a 10ft. pole. If we are going to develop better and creative talent then US soccer, FIRST needs to change their style of play in manner where creative play becomes more in focus. In other words you can talk all you want about developing but it has to have a direction a certain focus ,towards a style of play. In other words, for example, by building up an attack ,which the US soccer doesn't have in their style of play, forces players to be more technical,like in the way of receiving and passing the ball, the timing, the combinations, the positions off the ball, creating a certain space to further the attack,etc: All of which are necessary to learn but not needed if the goalie just booms the ball upfield. So first the US has got to figure what style are going to play before learning in what direction the player development needs to be taken. But I assume this goes a little above the heads of the paper poopers ,for after all we can't even make a decent throw in at the U20 men's level, for that hasn't been taught properly...

  11. Bob Ashpole replied, March 20, 2017 at 2:10 p.m.

    Frank, in my view the critical ages for player development are between 8 and 12, and there are no national team coaches involved there. If we start producing large numbers of really good 12-year-old players (measured by adeptness at fundamentals) across the country, then 6 six later we will see the impact in 18 year old players regardless of what the National youth team coaches do with the relatively few they see. The National team coaches typically see less than 40-50 players. The DA reportedly has about 10k male players, while according to the NCAA there are 440k male high school players and 28k male players at NCAA schools. Our target should be to improve play of over 500k youth players not just the National team pools. That is why Bradenton was never more than a temporary strategy.

  12. frank schoon replied, March 20, 2017 at 3:14 p.m.

    BOB, It is true that 8-12 are crucial years, I would rather say 8-14 and from 14-17 it is more about skills that fit in to the type of player he is becoming and reflected in how he plays. At 18 years it is no longer about teaching technical skills but perhaps improve upon areas of skill as related to the position . There are no national coaches with 8-12, TRUE,but the coaches who train and coach the 8-12 at these soccer associations are hired by a technical director of coaching, licensed, and hires these licensed coaches. Looking at it, the national coaches and the 8-12 licensed coaches all have received their training , the coaching philosophy of training, methodology of thinking all from the same source, the national coaching school. Again it is the pedantic structure, methodology of training that runs throughout the ages 8-20.
    True, the more players the better, but my problem is the training for after 50years of youth soccer we have yet to produce a great player with talent where teams like Barcelona , Real Madrid, etc stand in line to get. Obviously something is wrong somewhere in how we develop our youth. People are raving about Pulisic, but when I watch Vanenburg at 17 years old from almost 40years ago then I'd think if only Pulisic could do half of what Vanenburg is capable of....

  13. frank schoon replied, March 20, 2017 at 3:37 p.m.

    TD, I agree with what you say, but disagree with how the women achieved their success in soccer , which had to do more with playing much weaker opponents, Title 1X, and the US cultural affinity toward athletics for women in soccer that other countries were playing catch up to and still are to some extent. In Europe women's soccer is still a novelty, and not respected by the main media for after all how can it compete with the ManUtds, Ajax, Real Madrid, Bayern, Barcelona,etc

  14. Quarterback TD replied, March 20, 2017 at 7:34 p.m.

    Frank, you are right in terms of quality of players/countries however women World Cup is 27 years old and one can only play with the competition that's in front of them. In terms of anology one can say the USA should have won about 5 world cups as they had the USSF soccer federation before Brazil and Just as long as Italy.. correct ?? As a matter of fact we were playing soccer before Brazil and Argentina in mid 1850's on Ellis Island and we still don't have a men's World Cup or even a stinking men's bronze medal-- Bottom line is we cannot take something at face value-- We have failed to capatilize on soccer at all levels for men and that's the truth.. the women has not failed...an until 4 Women Senior World Cup passes without bringing home the trophy our women is a success.. ageee ??

  15. Fire Paul Gardner Now replied, March 21, 2017 at 11:04 a.m.

    Some dudes allegedly played soccer on Ellis Island so that means we should win the world cup? Do you remember how little soccer was around 20 years ago? Look how much it has permeated the culture since then. It still has a long way to go and it takes time and patience.

  16. James Rose replied, March 22, 2017 at 5:22 p.m.

    I think this will hurt in the next few years due to the lack of playing familiarity by our players to create a winning team formula.

    That said, it is MLS that is now showing that it has more influence over US Soccer development with Klinsmann gone. LA Galaxy, Real Salt Lake, San Jose Earthquakes and Philadelphia Union already having residency programs for their academy players. Two clubs, Galaxy and Union had waivers from sending their players to Bradenton this past cycle.

    This will now a create a larger division between MLS and non-MLS DAs that before US Soccer tried to protect.

  17. Liane Sims, March 19, 2017 at 9:46 a.m.

    What does Doublepass say about all this? They have been evaluating DA for over a year and we have heard very little about them.

  18. Goal Goal, March 20, 2017 at 11:53 a.m.

    Trust me the problem isn't in identifying quality talent it is what the coaching does to them after they receive them. Our coaches in this country particularly at the younger boys national team level have ruined more players technically and psychologically than we can count. They stifle thinking and creativity on the players part. Period

  19. R2 Dad replied, March 20, 2017 at 12:12 p.m.

    That's because so few of them have actually played the game professionally. Me, I's take the pro training over any of this A/B/C License nonsense that most DOCs have in order to get top pay.

  20. frank schoon replied, March 20, 2017 at 12:32 p.m.

    R2Dad, my sentiment EXACTLY....

  21. Goal Goal, March 20, 2017 at 2:19 p.m.

    That is part of the problem. However at the U15's, 16's and 17's we have coaches who have played professionally even though not at the top. There is something lost in the handoff between the clubs and the national teams. If in fact the clubs and I know that some are teaching a game whereby the ball doesn't spend half the time in the air being launched to the brute in the middle in front of the goal these coaches seem to totally disregard players who have technical skills and are creative. They don't know how to coach the game or maybe they just wont to accommodate players like this. You cant stand on the sidelines screaming at your players telling them when and where to pass the ball. It eliminates decision making on the part of the player and when they get to international play they are skunked. In our national team play taking someone one of one is frowned upon and if you lose the ball pick up your shorts and go home. US Soccer cant see it. If they do see it then we have bigger problems.

  22. Ric Fonseca, March 20, 2017 at 8:04 p.m.

    The Bradenton-residency experiment was just that: an experiment that really did not work out very well, except for a handful. BTW. how much did it cost US Soccer per player, was it for a semester or 18 weeks, or per month, what? Did the players also benefit academically/scholastic in addition to hopefully athletically (read: soccer knowledge/ability)? Or just a very failed experiment not withstanding what US Soccer honchos say....?

  23. Goal Goal, March 20, 2017 at 9:46 p.m.

    Ric, I know two youngsters that participated in this program at separate times and they both basically had the same experience/comments. Like being confined without bars. Little activity other than soccer. Scholastically much to be desired.

    In my mind US Soccer doesn't even consider the school part. Pulling kids out of school for these national team camps. When school is out there is little or no national team activity. School commences and they call a camp or an extended trip. We know in Europe the emphasis is not placed on studies in their academies but at least they are up front with it. If your a multi million dollar a year player you can survive with a limited education but we all know the chance is limited.

  24. Ric Fonseca, March 21, 2017 at 1:15 p.m.

    Thanks fanfor! This soccer bradenton experiment was simply a sort of carbon copy for what the US Tennis national honchos dreamed up. I remember it too well when it was set up for soccer, and when I learned about the "curriculum", as you say it was soccer heavy and more akin to living in a military-private school. As far as I am concerned, it was a failed experiment - an expensive failed experiment! BTW, was/is the Bradenton place fully scholastically accredited in Florida and recognized by colleges/universities for potential student-athlete admissions?

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