Ahead of the 2020/21 youth soccer cycle, USL has unveiled a model for future USL Academies and their participation in the USL Academy League, a first-of-its-kind competition designed to create the clearest path possible to professional soccer.
Each USL club will look to field one elite youth team, geared primarily towards top local U15-U19 players. This cost-effective development model provides our clubs the opportunity to share resources of the overall club, while building a direct link to the USL senior team.
By moving forward with this model for future USL Academies, we feel our clubs can deliver a new player development platform that collectively bridges the gap between our pro clubs & their local youth soccer community.
USL will mandate a minimum and maximum number of players rostered at each age, to ensure focus remains on long-term development over short-term results in youth competitions (18-23 total full time players, with option for part time players in rotation)
USL clubs will be required to have a youth network supporting their USL Academy team. In an effort to standardize those youth programs & to ensure mutually-beneficial partnerships are put in place with local clubs, the USL League Office has developed a set of best practices & template agreements for these programs to follow.
USL will be implementing a set of minimum standards with which our clubs must meet in order to field a USL Academy team. These will focus on areas that directly impact the development of the club’s pre-professional youth players, including but not limited to: staffing requirements; use of technology & analytics; integration of sport science, nutrition & peak performance drivers; access to appropriate training facilities; use of individual development plans; etc.