BOYDS, Md (July 1, 2016) – The Washington Spirit will become one of the first 25 member clubs of the U.S. Soccer Girls’ Development Academy.
Since 2007, U.S. Soccer’s Boys’ Development Academy has served as the elite male youth player development model for the country and has significantly improved the everyday environment for players, coaches, referees, and clubs. The Girls’ Development Academy will be structured with many of the same principles and will begin play in the fall of 2017.
“Launching a Girls’ Development Academy is part of an unprecedented commitment to elevating the women’s game,” said U.S. Soccer Women’s Technical Director April Heinrichs in the news release from U.S. Soccer on Thursday. “The Development Academy program will offer clubs support and education to positively impact the development of players and coaches throughout the country.”
Club applications were evaluated and accepted by U.S. Soccer’s technical staff based on leadership of the club and quality of the coaching staff, desire to embrace and promote the core values of the program, U.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 travel implications and proximity to other elite clubs.
In order to provide similar pathways to the professional game for all players in the metropolitan Washington, DC region, the Spirit also has plans for an Academy on the northern side of the Potomac River to be detailed at a later date.
U.S. Soccer will officially launch the Girls’ Development Academy Program in the fall of 2017. For additional information about the program, please visit the U.S. Soccer Girls’ Development Academy website. To contact the Spirit about interest in this program, email SpiritGDA@WashingtonSpirit.com.