About The Washington Spirit’s U.S. Soccer Development Academy
The Washington Spirit operates the only two U.S. Soccer Girls’ Development Academy programs in the greater Baltimore / Washington Metropolitan areas that are connected directly to a professional women’s soccer club in the National Women’s Soccer League.
Some of the most talented players throughout the region – including several U.S. Youth National Team members – compete on our teams in both the Northern Virginia and Maryland areas.
Players and parents interested in joining the Spirit Academy should contact Virginia Director Tom Torres (TTorres@WashSpirit.com) or Maryland Director Santino Quaranta (SQuaranta@WashSpirit.com).
Two Clubs – One Philosophy
While our Maryland and Virginia clubs operate separately as two competitive members of U.S. Soccer’s Northeast Division, the over-arching philosophy on how to develop elite youth players into successful professionals and national team members is the same.
Overall Washington Spirit Club Mission
Play Great Soccer. Empower Women
Youth Academy Focus
To develop, support, challenge, and inspire world-class players and coaches in a professional environment
Focus On Development
The Spirit Academy provides players with an unmatched opportunity for development and a direct pathway to professional soccer. Our professional staff is committed to providing players with the highest level of soccer education by combining a dynamic training methodology within a competitive environment. We believe you possess the talent and intelligence we are looking for to represent our club. The Development Academy is a year-long program that will bring with it a primary emphasis on training. Our goal is to teach the game in a way that will maximize each player’s future options to continue playing soccer at the highest levels beyond their youth career and to help them be prepared to succeed when they select one of those future opportunities. We believe far too many youth clubs with good intentions, but without a connection to the professional game, simply don’t focus on the areas of player development that will give players the best chance of success in the game long-term. With the Spirit, you will not only be prepared to play college soccer, but you’ll also be prepared if future international and professional opportunities come knocking. As has been said often. It’s not about winning as a kid, it’s about long-term success in the game and in life.
As members of the Spirit Academy, players will receive an unprecedented playing experience. Last year, Head Coach, Jim Gabarra, called up 16 Spirit Academy players to participate in Reserve Team and Pro Team training sessions. Players that literally got to train with and against top Division I college players as well as professionals like Mallory Pugh and Tori Huster. The aim for every season will be to increase the number of players who are selected, based on merit, for these extraordinary opportunities that no other club can offer. One of our main goals with the Academy players will always be to continue to build on the connection to the pro team and provide each player with a unique youth development experience. Our other aim is that in the near future, our Reserve team will be comprised of only possible NWSL draft picks and college players that have spent time in our Development Academy. [+ Read: Washington Spirit Reserves 2015 W-League Champion squad leaves lasting legacy]
The club fields teams in what will become the most competitive league in North America, the United States Soccer Development Academy (USSDA). Through the USSDA program, we will provide an environment that focuses on players receiving call-ups to youth national team events and emphasize the college recruitment process to give players an opportunity to realize their athletic and academic goals. We will create opportunities to participate in unique competitions, both domestically and internationally, and build the Washington Spirit as the premier destination for talent development.
The Washington Spirit field two clubs in the U.S. Soccer Girls Development Academy. Virginia, which trains and plays games primarily in Reston, Va. and Baltimore, which trains primarily in Columbia, Md., and plays primarily at the Maryland SoccerPlex in Germantown. For 2018/19 both Academies will field teams as follows, with roster sizes of 18-20 players, but also with the ability to move players “up” as needed to maximize their development:
Birth Years – Age Group Label
2007/2006 – U13
2006/2005 – U14
2005/2004 – U15
2004/2003 – U16 (EDP Team in Virginia Only, players eligible to play limited DA games)
2003/2002 – U17
2001/2000 – U19
The costs for the 2018/19 Academy year are as follows:
- Commitment / GAP Fee – $500
Due at the time of offer acceptance in order to hold the player’s roster spot. Includes – U.S. Soccer registration fees and spring/summer training prior to starting of official DA training in August. This training includes at least two sessions where the players will get to watch pro training, eat lunch with the players, then train themselves at the Maryland SoccerPlex. New players joining after August 31st will only have to pay $250.
- Club Dues – $3000
This can be paid-in-full, in 2 payments, or on an 8-month payment plan (8-month plan will include a $200 finance charge). Payments can begin as early as July 5, or will begin upon joining the program if that is after July 5. Finance charges and any payment finance charges will be included in the first payment. The Club Dues covers all official DA seasonal expenses for training and games as well as equipment, trainers, video, coaches, and administration. For the payment plan, in addition to the initial payment, monthly payment due dates will be Aug. 5, Sep. 5, Oct. 5, Nov. 5, Jan. 5, Feb. 5, Mar. 5, Apr. 5 (note no payment due in December). If you are registering after the scheduled payment plans begin, those missed payment amounts will be charged up front.
- Winter Fee – Not to Exceed $750*
As the fall competitive season progresses, the club’s technical staff will determine what level of winter programming is needed to prepare the teams for the 2nd half of the DA season on March 1. This could include futsal, strength & conditioning, outdoor training, or all the above. *The exact invoice amount will be determined and communicated no later than November 1, 2018, but will not be more than $750. Payment plans will also be offered.
- Player Uniforms and Gear – $350
New for this season, the players will wear the same NIKE uniforms as our NWSL professional team, as well as a full set of training gear, pants, pull-over, training tops and shorts, socks, a
rain jacket[Edited: During pre-season planning, it was decided to add game-day shirts and warm up tops, as well as additional game shorts in substitute to the rain jacket in budgets. This change was reflected in the FAQ and the registration process, but was not immediately edited here.], and a backpack. This invoice will be issued as players sign up. Players will receive their practice gear before the first summer session, but the will not receive their uniforms until this bill is paid in full and remain in good standing for their Commitment Fee and Club Dues.
- Travel Costs – TBD
Players will be invoiced well in advance for club-organized travel events that involve a bus, air, hotels, and/or group meals. This will include costs incurred for the coaching staff to attend these same events averaged across all attending players. If we do any non-DA events that require an entry fee, those will also be included in the travel invoice for that event. Invoices must be satisfied prior to departure for an event. Any difference between the invoiced amount and the actual costs of the trip will be applied to the next invoice, which includes the full trip amount if a player ends up not being rostered for an away trip. At the end of the season, any credit balance in this “Travel Fund” can either be carried over to the following season or refunded. If a player does not use team arranged air, that must be communicated in advance. However, all players who participate in an event will be responsible for bus, hotel, meal, and coaches’ travel as those costs cannot be avoided on a per-player basis even if that player does not use the bus, stay in a team hotel, or eat with the team. Each family must also maintain a $100 Travel Fund security deposit, which will be carried over for returning players or will be included in the first travel invoice of the 2018/19 season. If a player leaves the program, any credit balance for travel will be refunded as long as all club that player is in good financial standing with the club in all other areas.
Players with a demonstrated need for financial assistance will have the opportunity to request reductions in costs outlined above, as well as an opportunity to apply and receive support from U.S. Soccer to help with personal travel expenses. Not all requests are likely to be granted, but we will work with everyone to the best of our ability within available budgets and based on the success of several planned fundraising events intended to support scholarship funds. Pending any award decisions, players will need to move forward with the full registration process and should select the payment plan option. Any awards will then be applied to the end of the payment plan, or if needed, we will terminate their payment plan and issues a new one that spreads the award amount across all remaining payments.
Pro Team Ticket Benefits
All Development Academy players receive a complimentary General Admission Season Ticket to each NWSL season during their DA participation. In addition, family members receive 25% off additional season tickets. And, if your family decides to purchase season tickets at a higher level (assigned seats such as Field Side or VIP levels for example), the player’s tickets are automatically upgraded to that same level at no additional costs. Players are also invited to several private “meet and greet” opportunities with the professional players each year and are recognized on the field during one of our home games. (Note: Neither the face value of tickets or the discounts provided are included in our cost structure that determines player fees. We provide these tickets at no cost – because they don’t cost us anything – because we believe players should watch live professional soccer as frequently as possible as part of their personal development as players)
Current Coaching Staffs
Director Santino Quaranta
Adam Wrede – U13/U14 Head Coach
Santino Quaranta – U14 Head Coach
Danny Skelton – U15/U19 Head Coach
John Shipley – Strength/Fitness & Assistant Coach
Morgan Ruhl – Director of Goalkeeping and Assistant Coach
Director Tom Torres
George Hales – U17 Head Coach
Spencer Henderson – U13/U15 Head Coach
Tom Torres – U14/U19 Head Coach
Lyndse Hokanson – Goalkeepers Coach
Jane Dawber – Assistant Coach / GFR Zone 1 Director
Holly Wiles – Assistant Coach
Lori Lindsey – Strength & Conditioning
How To Join
If you are interested in joining, and have not already been in contact with one of our Directors or attended an ID session, please contact us here.