Capital FC Timbers has been accepted as a new member of the US Soccer Development Academy for the U12 Boys Age. CFC joins an exclusive group of clubs who meet the strict standards of the Development Academy and will begin with the U12 Academy’s inaugural season in the Fall of 2016. There are currently less than 100 member clubs who meet these criteria in the US.
What is the U12 Development Academy Program?
The U-12 Academy will adopt all aspects of the new Player Development Initiatives, which were recently announced by U.S. Soccer in another step of its commitment to long-term player development after being a best practice for the last 10 years. U.S. Soccer standardized small-sided games based on player age groups, while also aligning birth-year registration calendars with the start of the calendar year to run from January to December. The development initiatives, which will be a best practice in 2016 and a mandate by August of 2017, are focused on advancing youth players’ individual skill and intelligence, and providing players with the best opportunity to improve.
“U.S. Soccer Development Academy Clubs have made a tremendous commitment to player development in the past 9 years and will serve as the example for clubs and leagues throughout the country to provide the best possible environment for young players,” said U.S. Soccer Development Academy Director Jared Micklos.
In addition, U.S. Soccer and the Academy will focus on improving the coaching environment through enhanced educational opportunities, license requirements and support from U.S. Soccer Technical Staff. In an effort to continue to increase the quality of coaching for younger players, Academy coaches will move away from a results-driven philosophy, apply consistent standards for training and games, and unify player development initiatives and standards across the county.
“The opportunity to provide a simplified development environment for players will have a direct impact on their advancement as players,” said Micklos. “U.S. Soccer will continue to invest resources and work together with our clubs to serve as the leaders in the community to collaborate with local clubs to provide players with an opportunity to grow.”
To review the direction and format of the Academy U-12 program, please see the new Player Development Initiatives (released in early September).
Development Academy Background
Following a comprehensive review of elite player development in the United States and around the world, U.S. Soccer created the Development Academy in 2007 for male players in the U-15 to U-18 age groups. In 2013, the Academy expanded to include the U-13/14 age group, which has continued to improve development by setting standards and improving the everyday environment for players and clubs. To date, the Academy has been the leader in developing players in the U.S. with the thousands of alumni moving on to play college soccer, 116 Academy graduates currently rostered in the MLS and 14 Academy players earning U.S. MNT caps.