It seems a simple idea, but the USL Academy’s alignment with the professional calendar in North America is one of the key innovations to its overall structure. While previously the summer months – primarily June and July – would be considered the offseason. Now, young players will align their seasons with the professionals they are aiming to join.
By beginning preseason in February, USL Academy signings and other potential additions can join teams in the Championship and League One that are beginning preparations for their season. The season then begins in earnest in March, with three-month windows spanning March to May, June to August, and September to November dividing up the remainder of the schedule.
In addition to potentially competing as part of an organization’s First Team in the Championship, League One and League Two, the teams will also be competing in the USL Academy League. And just as the USL Championship Final is traditionally held in November, so too will the USL Academy League Playoffs.
This strategic alignment, which allows players the ability to compete for not only their youth club, but in the USL Academy League, for their high school, and even potentially at the USL Senior Level, will be beneficial to clubs, coaches, and most importantly players as they look to take the next steps in their development path.