USL creates Academy League with single youth entrants

The USL, which has launched an academy cup competition, plans to start the USL Academy League in which clubs will field a single youth team, geared toward top U-15 to U-19 players.

The USL will mandate caps on the number of players at each age who comprise the team in an effort to facilitate the integration of younger players into the program. USL teams will be encouraged to add affiliate programs with local clubs to bring high-level players into the mix. (The USL might allow youth affiliates of USL pro clubs to field a team in the USL Academy League.)

“We formally presented this model to the Championship and League One Board of Governors this past week and have already begun the implementation process with our clubs," said USL CEO Alec Papadakis in a statement. "As we move closer to launching the USL Academy League -- the country’s first pre-professional youth league -- we look forward to helping more players than ever pursue their dream of playing professionally for their local club.”
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