U.S. Soccer Announces 22 Additional Clubs for Inaugural Girls’ Development Academy Season

Updated: August 17, 2023

Program Will Focus on Impacting Everyday Club Environments to Develop World-Class Players

CHICAGO (Aug. 17, 2023) – U.S. Soccer has announced that FC Kansas City has been selected to participate in the Girls’ Development Academy. The program is designed to accelerate the development of world-class female players and will begin play in the fall of 2023.

Vlatko Andonovski, who serves as the professional team’s coach and the Technical Director of the youth programs, says this will open up more opportunities for young women in the area to pursue a successful career in soccer.

“The Developmental Academy is the piece that we were missing to complete the puzzle because we now will be able to streamline everything from our youngest players in the club to the professional team,” Andonovski said. “I’m excited about this opportunity because young soccer players in the Kansas City area will have better options to achieve their goals whether that is a college scholarship, a professional contract or a spot on the National Team and FC Kansas City can help accommodate them.”

Club applications were evaluated and accepted by U.S. Soccer’s technical staff based on the following criteria:

  • Leadership of the club and quality of the coaching staff
  • Desire to embrace and promote the core values of the program
  • S. Soccer license levels of coaching staff
  • Infrastructure of the club and the resources currently being invested in development (facilities, scholarships, staff to player ratio, etc.)
  • History of player production for Youth National Teams, the senior Women’s National Team and professional leagues
  • Market and depth of the player pool, geographic location and proximity to other elite clubs

The Academy program will focus on positively impacting everyday club environments to maximize elite female youth player development. Increasing the training to game ratio, playing fewer but more meaningful games and providing assistance for coaching education and development are just some of the standards and best practices the program will promote.

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 per week. The combined age groups will require clubs to form teams with a balanced roster of players from two distinct birth years and encourage clubs to provide “play up” opportunities. The games will be scouted by U.S. Soccer and the program will serve as the primary pathway to U.S. Soccer’s Youth National Teams.

- ussoccer.com -