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US Soccer Development Academy program set to be terminated

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Reports indicate the DA is not coming back next season

Soccer: 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup-USA at Panama Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

According to an article by Paul Tenorio and Sam Stejskal of the Athletic and reports from Glenn Crooks of ProSoccerUSA, US Soccer is set to shut down the Development Academy program. The dissolution ends a program that had existed since 2007 involving players from U13 through U19.

The article notes that the ongoing COVID-19 crisis is one reason that US Soccer is ending the DA, but also points out that several MLS teams expressed desire to form their own youth league in search of better competition on the boys side. On the girls side, the DA was formed in 2017 in competition against another youth organization, the Elite Clubs National League.

At this point it’s not clear how the teams will now organize and operate schedules. Some MLS teams have wanted their own internal Development Academy so it may end up being a step forward for those teams. Overall, however, failing to live up to the promise of an organized structure for youth development seems like a step back for youth development by USSF.