June 30, 2016
MAKING THE GRADE
Pride among 25 in Girls Development Academy
CHICAGO - The Orlando Pride are among six National Women's Soccer League teams that will field one of the 25 clubs admitted to U.S. Soccer's Girls' Development Academy.
The program will be modeled after the U.S. Soccer Development Academy, which began play in 2007. The Girls Academy will start in the fall of 2017.
"Launching a Girls' Development Academy is part of an unprecedented commitment to elevating the women's game," said U.S. Soccer Women's Technical Director April Heinrichs. "The Development Academy program will offer clubs support and education to positively impact the development of players and coaches throughout the country."
"We all know how important it is to create the correct environment and expectations for elite player development, something that was highlighted for me during my time as Development Director for our youth Women's National Teams," said U.S. Women's National Team head coach Jill Ellis. "The Development Academy is an important step forward to continue the growth of the women's game in the United States, and to create the best pathway for players to reach their full potential."
“It's a privilege to be joining the Girls' Development Academy, especially to be a part of the initial 25 clubs. That's a pretty big statement for us as an organization,” said Girls Academy Director Alan Hough. “The Development Academy structure and philosophy regarding player development falls in line with Orlando City’s ideas, as an organization, and I'm excited to be able to provide players in Central Florida access to a year-round program and a pathway to our National Women's Soccer League team and youth national teams.”
The following 25 clubs are the first being admitted to the Girls' Development Academy with more announcements expected in the near future.
Beach SC (Torrance, Calif.)
Boston Breakers (Watertown, Mass.)
CASL (Raleigh, N.C.)
Cincinnati Development Academy (Kings Hammer/CUP) (Cincinnati, Ohio)
Colorado Rush (Littleton, Co.)
Concorde Fire (Atlanta, Ga.)
Crossfire (Redmond, Wash.)
De Anza Force (Saratoga, Calif.)
FC Dallas (Frisco, Texas)
LAFC-Slammers (Los Angeles, Calif.)
Lamorinda (Moraga, Calif.)
Michigan Hawks (Livonia, Mich.)
Mustang (Danville, Calif.)
Orlando Pride/City SC (Orlando, Fla.)
Penn Fusion SA (Westtown, Pa.)
Portland Thorns (Portland, Ore.)
Real Colorado (Highlands Ranch, Co.)
San Diego Surf (San Diego, Calif.)
Seattle Reign (Seattle, Wash.)
Sky Blue FC-PDA (Bernardsville, N.J.)
So Cal Blues (Rancho Capistrano, Calif.)
Sockers FC (Palatine, Ill.)
Solar Chelsea SC (Dallas, Texas)
Washington Spirit (Boyds, Md.)
Tophat NTH (Atlanta, Ga.)
The program will feature three combined age groups: U-14/15, U-16/17 and U-18/19. Clubs will be expected to train a minimum of four times a week. The use of combined age groups will require clubs to form teams with a balanced roster of players from two distinct birth years. The games will be scouted by U.S. Soccer and the program will serve as the primary pathway to the Youth National Teams.