For years U.S. soccer pundits and college coaches have called for NCAA D1 Men’s soccer to play a full season not only in the fall, but in the spring as well. In response to these demands U.S. Soccer recently announced its 2018 Men’s Spring College Program. Six teams: Duke, North Carolina, Clemson, Wake Forest, Virginia, and Georgetown will participate in the program.
Beginning in the first week of March, teams will play each other once over the course of seven weeks. Each team will host two home games at their respective campuses. On April 21st, the six teams will travel to Wake Forest University for their final matches.
According to U.S. Soccer:
the program will see international standards implemented during each of the 15 games played. The rules for each game played will function similarly to U.S. Soccer Developmental Academy standards. Games will be played with traditional time keeping, a maximum game day roster of 18 players and no re-entry.
The team with the most points (according to the traditional points system; 3 for a win, 1 for a draw, 0 for a loss) will be champion.
The Spring Men’s College Soccer program will also seek to further coaching development by having the coaching staffs from each school take part in a coaching education assignment and workshop, game analysis, and video review. Additionally, coaches will be provided with data analysis of players’ performances.
U.S. Soccer scouts will attend matches (its unclear how many matches will be scouted) in search of potential Olympic and Senior National team players. U-20 Men’s National Team Head Coach and U.S. Soccer Youth Technical Director Tab Ramos had glowing praise for the initiative stating:
We are excited about this program and the role it will play in helping college soccer become more connected to the player development pathway. It provides us with additional opportunities to identify more players for Youth National Teams and for the Olympic Team in an environment that mirrors the international game.
At the end of the 2018 Spring Program, U.S. Soccer will begin accepting applications for the 2019 Spring Men’s College Program.