U.S. Soccer terminates Development Academy for boys and girls
Tuesday’s report is now confirmed: The U.S. Soccer Federation has terminated its Development Academy after 13 years, calling it “a difficult financial decision.”
The federation says the decision is an effect of the coronavirus pandemic, which has “resulted in a financial situation that does not allow for the continuation of the Development Academy program into the future.”
It affects both the boys and girls sides of the aisle. So what does that mean for the future?
It reads like a strictly financial decision in which the federation could not justify keeping staff on the payroll with the DA season canceled for the summer and the Fall restart still in question.
The letter was signed by USSF CEO Will Wilson, sporting director Earnie Stewart, and fed president Cindy Parlow Cone.
Two of three have extensive background in the current youth climate (and Stewart certainly knows plenty).
Parlow Cone was director of coaching for NCFC Youth before ascending to USSF president. Wilson served on the board of directors for North Carolina FC along with USSF board member Steve Malik, who owns the USL side NCFC and NWSL side NC Courage, so there’s youth soccer experience at the DA and ECNL levels amongst others.
An interesting side note is that the rival Elite Clubs National League announced the addition of NCFC Youth before the federation released its statement. The boys side of the ECNL has been building in recent years and the girls side is already considered superior to the DA.
Major League Soccer academies are likely to form their own league, while others will race to join other professional leagues. Surely there will be start-ups as well, and hopefully U.S. Soccer will take steps to lower the sometimes exorbitant costs of putting a young player on a top soccer team.