U.S. Soccer ends Development Academy citing 'financial situation'

As the U.S. Soccer Development Academy clubs were defecting to the ECNL on both the girls and the boys side, the Federation finally announced on April 15 that it was ending "the operation of the U.S. Soccer Development Academy, effective immediately." A letter signed by U.S. Soccer's Secretary General and CEO Will Wilson, Sporting Director Earnie Stewart, and President Cindy Parlow Cone said the decision was forced upon U.S. Soccer by the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Before COVID-19, Girls DA clubs were defecting to the ECNL and there was plenty of discontent with how the Federation handled the Boys DA. While rumors swirled that U.S. Soccer, which did not communicate with directors of the DA's non-MLS clubs, was considering terminating the DA, boys club directors began weighing options. In the hours before U.S. Soccer's announcements, the ECNL announced a dozen DA clubs joining its Boys ECNL.
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In February, Lonestar SC of Austin, Texas, which fielded teams at each Boys DA age group, announced its DA departure to join the Boys ECNL, which launched in 2017. The Boys ECNL also in February announced its launch of a Northern California Conference that prompted moves from the DA of several clubs at lower age groups. A similar migration had already occurred in Washington State, which as of this 2019-20 season no longer has U-13 or U-14 DA teams.

Minutes after U.S. Soccer made its decision public, MLS announced plans for a youth league. MLS is expected to connect with boys club directors on Thursday.

Also before the the coronavirus outbreak, U.S. Soccer faced financially uncertainty because of several lawsuits, including the U.S. women's gender discrimination suit.

U.S. Soccer launched the Boys DA in 2007 and the Girls DA in 2017.

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All-time Boys Development Academy Champions

2019 Toronto FC

2019 Solar SC
Seattle Sounders
Atlanta United
FC Dallas
FC Dallas
LA Galaxy
Real Salt Lake AZ
New York Red Bulls
LA Galaxy
Chicago Fire
Derby County Wolves**
Carmel United*

New York City FC
New York City FC

2017 Texans SC Houston
FC Dallas
2015 Chicago Fire
2014 PDA
2013 New York Red Bulls
2012 FC Dallas
2011 Pateadores
2010 Vardar SC
2009 Carmel United*
2008 Baltimore Bays
* Now Indiana Fire. ** Now Crew Soccer Academy Wolves.

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All-time Girls Development Academy Champions

2019 San Jose Earthquakes
2018 FC Dallas

2019 Solar SC
Real Colorado

2019 Midwest United
2018 LAFC Slammers

5 comments about "U.S. Soccer ends Development Academy citing 'financial situation'".
  1. R2 Dad, April 16, 2020 at 2:12 a.m.


    It is with profound disappointment that we have made the determination to pack it in. Turns out pissing off our voting members isn’t a great solution to improving the quality of soccer in this country nor improving relations with amateur youth clubs. Our bad. 

    This was an incredibly difficult decision to make, but the coronavirus situation was the perfect distraction to blame for this 180.  And, we can avoid publicly fingering past administrations for their poor decision-making, so no one gets too butthurt. 

    We are proud of the tremendous amount of hard work and dedication that we have spent over the past 10 years—too bad we don’t have many homegrown professional players to show for it.

    We know you will have a lot of questions about what this means for the future of your club, but truthfully we were tired of all your whining so this announcement is designed primarily to shut you up.

    In the absence of the Development Academy, we can all still take the lessons we have learned over the years and apply them to the college game—now you can complain how their development sucks instead of the DA.

    In spite of this difficult financial decision, we are committed to getting ready for the Olympics and hosting the world cup in 2026, and stuff like that.

    Please stay healthy and safe—you’re on your own.

  2. Bob Ashpole, April 16, 2020 at 6:36 a.m.

    Didn't see that coming.

  3. Wallace Wade, April 16, 2020 at 8:49 a.m.

    Most US Soccer Clubs and players have "been on their own" for quite sometime Bob. My Club is 3.5 hours away from any official "DA". My Technical Director is a UEFA PRO licensed Coach and ex professional player from Barcelona Spain. I have another 3 Coaches that have "A" license's. I have Coaches from Spain, England, Scotland, USA and Brazil. The Federation hasn't help us achieve any of this. My players get the same level of training or better than any DA offered in this Country. I have teams from U10 through Adult. Our Adult team qualified for the First Round Proper of the US Open Cup this year. All this without a "DA" designation and ZERO help from the Federation. It can be done! 

  4. frank schoon, April 16, 2020 at 9:52 a.m.

    So much for AD programs which was a joke to me as far as player development goes. All the AD programs did was to provide  A-licensed coaches jobs that were paid for by naive parents who don't know any better... 

     Having been involved since soccer began in the sixties and throughout, before Soccer Academies were around , one always saw talented kids, come through the system, just like today. We always had talented kids coming out of the St.Louis area, DC area, NJ, etc. Looking at the, 70's 80's and 90's all those years before the AD programs there were always talented players coming out of various soccer associations and the through the old club methods. And even in those days we had kids going over to Europe and play.

    As soccer continued to grow, there were those who came up with a brilliant idea of creating not only Soccer Acadamies but also at the same time a job market for licensed coaches. In other words  the USSF Coaching School and DA programs were making buckos. By naming it a Developmental Academy would impress those parents shoving out the buckos thinking their kids are now finally receiving the "real" deal in youth soccer development.

    In other words, before the DA programs kids weren't getting developed. But with the DA programs one really notices the great difference between the talented kids of yesteryear and today's for they are so much better. Well if you believe that ,then I got bridge that I can sell you. 
    NEXT POST....

  5. frank schoon, April 16, 2020 at 10:15 a.m.

    The same people, as far as types go, were working with the youth before the DA programs and after. You would assume that with the new DA instituted, one would expect a great impetus of old retired players from Europe or from South America, for example individuals from the Ajax youth program have come over here and really developed and train our youth. In other words, the course in our youth development took a quadruple improvement  because we brought in players from Europe and Sout America( retired) to teach,train and develop our kids. BUT THAT ISN'T THE CASE. The case is that we have the same type personnel as before running the show ,pre or post AD. The only thing that has changed is the flow of money going towards the coaches who are in the DA program. THAT ,I SEE, IS THE ONLY MAJOR IN OUR YOUTH SOCCER DEVELOPMENT.  Our skill level and style  has not changed in the past 50 years, and if you don't believe that I can sell you the same bridge a second time.

    If you coaches are interested in developing your players, then I pose how many of you have told your players that during the Corona virus period, you should WORK, an hour or more with the ball using your left foot or weak foot ONLY. Can you imagine if the USSF , SA, and other soccer institutions make a concerted efforted press, coach to institute a period for all soccer youth for those who are really interested, to work on your left foot only..... Can you imagine that after 2months what an improvement in development our youth would gain. I can guarantee you that working a month or two with left, quantitatively, the youth development would be so far beyond what a youth would learn 2 years in of those DA programs......

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