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YOUTH SOCCER

August 30, 2012
NEW AGE GROUP
Development Academy to add U13/14s


CHICAGO - The U.S. Soccer Development Academy, will be getting younger, with the launch of and Under 13/14 division starting in the fall of 2013.

The U-13/14 division will consist of current Academy clubs and will possibly add a limited amount of clubs from outside the current Academy structure from some markets throughout the U.S. Details regarding the start of the application process, the format of the schedule and other logistics will be announced at a later date.

"We started the Development Academy to improve player development on all levels, and adding a competitive structure to the U-13/14 age group is an important next step in this long-term process," said Development Academy Director of Scouting Tony Lepore. "The U-13/14 age group is at a very crucial stage in their development. Applying the overall philosophy of the Academy to the U-13/14 age group will allow us to continue to shift the focus of the young elite player to meaningful training and competition."

U.S. Soccer says the clubs selected for the U-13/14 age group will follow a model that increases training to four times a week, with fewer but meaningful matches, and the schedule structure will be regionalized to limit the amount of travel.

"I am very excited to see this important next step in the process of developing young players in this country," said U.S. Men's National Team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann. "Just as with the players on the National Team, these young players need to get increased training and play in the most meaningful games they can. Being in the Academy also gives them more time to practice on their own, which gives them another chance to be creative and have fun. All these elements are critical for players at this age group."

The Academy 2012-13 season kicks off during the weekend of Sept. 8-9. The Academy enters its sixth season with 80 teams among three conferences and seven divisions at the U-15/16 and U-17/18 levels. This campaign marks the first across-the-board implementation of the 10-month season, which provides elite players with an opportunity to train and compete in an environment consistent with international standards of player development.

   
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