For the second time since the Washington Spirit were awarded two U.S. Soccer Development programs, the region’s top female youth players will try to catch the eyes of our professional team and youth academy staff. Following a successful first ID Day held last month in Leesburg, Va., nearly 100 players are expected to attend the Tyson’s Corner Virginia location to run though the paces and test their skills under the watchful eyes of Washington Spirit professional team head coach Jim Gabarra, assistant coach Denise Reddy, and other pro and academy staff.
Players will be evaluated for offer considerations for either the Baltimore/Maryland or Northern Virginia Academy programs. Teams will be made up of the most elite players available born between 1999 and 2005 to fill out rosters in under-14, under-15, under-17 and under-19 teams in both Maryland and Virginia.
The Spirit recently named professional team 1st Assistant Coach Denise Reddy as Technical Director for the Baltimore/Maryland Academy, and are nearing the announcement of a Technical Director for the Northern Virginia program. Coaching hires will be announced in the coming weeks for both programs. Play begins in the Fall of 2017 and will run into June of 2018, with a small break in the winter.
The Girls’ Development Academy is part of U.S. Soccer’s global leadership position in women’s soccer and connects with its long-term plan to improve player and coach development. The mission of the program is to provide education, resources and support to directly impact the everyday environment for clubs to develop world-class female players.
Creating the Girls’ Development Academy provides the elite female player with an improved player development model in which players can focus solely on training with the appropriate number and level of games. This model focuses on the developing the individual player within the club environment, which allows for additional training sessions per season to enhance player development.
Eight of the 10 National Women’s Soccer League professional teams will field a total of nine Development Academy programs. With U.S. Soccer and the NWSL teams leading the way, no other program in the country will provide female players more direct access to U.S. Youth National Teams, NWSL teams, and eventually the full U.S. Women’s National Team for the select few. The Spirit are the only NWSL club to field two Academies, which was necessary in order to provide equal opportunity to top players on both sides of the Potomac River in one of the nation’s most congested commuter regions.