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Development Academy Fees and FAQ

UPDATE (February 28, 2018): For the 2018/19 seasonal year, we will be re-structuring our fees to go from an “All-Inclusive” approach (where the club fee covered EVERYTHING except personal travel to games) to a structure that better aligns with how the DMV’s other elite clubs structure their fees.

While we cannot announce the exact base fee that will be charged for 2018/19 until we have fully prepared the budget, it is safe to say that it will be significantly below the $5,000 fee from our inaugural year. The addition of the U13 age group will also help spread out our coaching and operations overhead, the main component of running the program. That said, families will still be charged for additional items as they arise, including uniforms and covering the travel costs for coaches to attend showcases. We anticipate the total cost of participation will be similar overall, but hope the new flexibility and more detailed itemization will help member families spread out their costs more, while the new structure will help prospective families have a more like-to-like comparison of our costs as compared to other programs.

A few things that won’t be changing is the fact that we are not making any profits on the operation of our DAs, the fact that we’re working every day to find ways to reduce cost, the fact that it simply costs more to run a DA program due to higher standards and field needs; and the fact that only professional team operated DAs offer the complete pathway for every player.

2017/18 Seasonal Costs Explained

While The Washington Spirit Development Academy is not a profit center for the club. All of the player fees collected go into funding the program. Plus, we are very committed to lower these fees over time through several mechanisms uniquely available to a professional club. Some have said our $5,000 annual fee is higher than other area elite programs, but when considered as a Total Cost of Participation as compared to other clubs, the fee shouldn’t seem out of line considering we include so many things that other clubs charge for incrementally outside of their official “fee” structures.


  • All Coaching and Specialty Training
  • All Game Fields and Training Space
  • All Required Uniforms and Practice Apparel and Equipment / Travel bag
  • Facilities rentals for classrooms, video sessions, meetings, and gatherings
  • Dedicated Athletic Trainer at every game, at least one practice per week, and typically a second to lead sessions for players recovering from injury.
  • Any required supplemental training such as futsal, speed, strength and agility
  • Medical / Fitness screenings and testing
  • Season Tickets and special access to the professional team
  • Numerous sponsor-provided services and items


  • Personal Travel Expenses
  • Entry fees to any showcase tournaments outside the DA structure

While we will always work overall to limit operational costs and raising additional funds to support the Academy outside of the player fee structure, there are a couple ways fees may be reduced to individual players:

  1. U.S. Soccer Scholarships: U.S. Soccer offers a financial needs based scholarship program, which families may apply for directly. The applications process for this is scheduled to open August 1.
  2. Spirit Scholarships: We also plan to have a limited number of scholarships in the form of fee relief for players who can submit evidence of financial hardship. The amount of fee relief available overall will depend on several factors, many of which are yet to be determined. We will do what we can when we can for those in need.
  3. Partner Club Support: If you are a player from one of our official Development Academy Partner Clubs, those clubs may be in a position to provide support.
  4. Fundraising: The Spirit will support campaigns undertaken by our member families by marketing, donating autographed memorabilia, and providing a space at our professional games among others.
  5. Sponsorships: As a professional club we are always seeking sponsorship partners, and with the additional of Development Academy teams, our overall story to potential sponsors only gets better. If you are, or know, a decision maker with an organization interested in sponsoring some aspect of the club, we would certainly be willing to discuss how to do so in a way that reduces Development Academy operating costs for all to benefit.
  6. Travel Coordination: While the club is not paying for player or family travel to games directly, we will centralize all planning for trips requiring bus or air travel with the same travel administration we use for the professional team. This provides measurable cost savings and other benefits over going directly through retail travel options.

The following cover other policies related to the financial areas of our Development Academy. If you have additional questions not answered here, please email youth@washspirit.com or consult with your coach or Academy Director.

  • High School Waivers: If you receive a waiver from the Academy Director to participate in high school play, you will still be responsible for the full seasonal fees.
  • Voluntary Resignation: If you voluntarily leave the club, any amounts already paid will be forfeited unless your resignation is due to a family move outside of the greater Baltimore / Washington metro areas, or due to medical reasons, outside of injuries sustained playing soccer, that prevent your ability to physically participate. If the resignation is for one of these reasons, and occurs prior to March 1, a $1,000 refund will be issues if your account had already been paid in full, or a $1,000 credit applied on account if you still owe on your account.
  • Team Dismissal: If the player is removed from the club involuntarily for any reasons, such as but not limited to; discipline, excessive unexcused absences, or code of conduct violations; no refunds will be offered and any outstanding monies owed up to that point in time will still be owed.
  • Commitment Fee: Any player joining the club following the last competitive game of a season and before the first competitive game of the following season, must pay a $250 commitment fee. This fee is not part of the annual seasonal participation fees and is not refundable unless it is the club’s decision to dismiss the player prior to the competitive season beginning. Players joining during the competitive DA season do not have to pay a commitment fee. This fee was $500 for all new players for the inaugural season, and is not included as part of the full seasonal fee owed.
  • In-Season Additions: Players joining following the first official day of training for an upcoming season will have their overall seasonal training fee reduced by $12 for each day missed since the first official game of the season, and then have the opportunity to select payment plan 1 or 2, with credits applied to the initial payment schedule.