The DA launched in 2007 with U-15/16 and U-17/18 leagues (now U-16/17 and U-18/19). It added U-13/14 in 2013, then split the U-13s and U-14s in 2016 when it added U-12s, and added U-15s for the 2017-18 season.
During the current 2018-19 season, 153 clubs field U-12 teams in the DA.
Late last month, U.S. Soccer informed its clubs of the change:
“The U-12 program expanded the Academy influence to players and Clubs at younger ages. Now, we believe that the time is right to empower and support Clubs and Members across the country to operate standards-based programming. …
“In the fall of 2019, the Development Academy will no longer operate U-12 programming, and we will begin the transition to a decentralized U-12 initiative led by Clubs and Members.
“Beginning in 2019-20, it will no longer be an option for U-12-only Clubs to participate in DA programming. However, U-12 Clubs remain an integral part of the player development pathway. Your efforts to develop and identify individual Zone 1 players are critically important to ensuring they can reach their full potential. Developing affiliations and partnerships with full Academy Clubs or Professional Clubs will help us achieve our collective goal of creating the best possible environments for the development of world-class players.”