December 8, 2014
FOCUSING ON YOUTH
U.S. Soccer adding teams, expanding Academy
U.S. Soccer is adding to the number of youth national teams as well as expanding the U.S. Soccer Development Academy Program. Youth national teams for both girls and boys will be added at the U-16 and U-19 levels.
The additional age levels will give U.S. Soccer a total of eight Youth National Teams for both Men's and Women's programs: U-14, U-15, U-16, U-17, U-18, U-19, U-20 and U-23. The new programs at the U-16 and U-19 level will be staffed with full-time head coaches.
U.S. Soccer will announce a number of plans specific to Women's National Team programming in January.
U.S. Soccer will also add an Under-12 age group to the Development Academy program beginning in the Fall of 2016, and will also expand the Development Academy Scholarship Program, allowing more players to play for a lower cost.
"This is a huge step forward in our efforts to improve the development process for player and coaches across the country," said U.S. Soccer Technical Director and Men's National Team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann in a statement. "As we have done with the senior National Team, our goal is to make sure we are able to provide the best possible environment and opportunity for players to reach their highest level."
Part of U.S. Soccer's plans also includes undertaking an independent assessment of its Youth National Teams, the Development Academy program and Development Academy clubs. U.S. Soccer has not yet selected the organization that will conduct the evaluation.