KICKERS ANNOUNCE COST-FREE ACADEMY
Historic Milestone in Virginia Youth Soccer Begins 2012 Season
RICHMOND, VA – (Monday, February 20, 2012) – The Richmond Kickers are pleased to announce their U.S. Soccer Development Academy will be a cost-free program for the 2012-13 season. The historic milestone in Virginia youth soccer development is reached through the support of partnerships with The Computer Solution Company, Proseal America, Inc, and multiple donors, allowing dedicated and talented players to reach the highest level of youth soccer, playing, training and traveling free of charge.
U.S. Soccer Technical Advisor, Chris Brewer, will be hosting a Town Hall meeting on Saturday, February 25 at 5 p.m. at the Richmond Kickers office, located at 2001 Maywill Street, Suite 203 Richmond, VA. The informational meeting is open to anyone who wishes to learn more about this exciting initiative as well as U.S. Soccer Federation’s plans to move to a 10-month season beginning Fall 2012.
"I wish to thank everyone who had the vision, passion and commitment to make this historic moment in youth player development a reality,” commented Leigh Cowlishaw, Richmond Kickers Director of Soccer. “It is our hope that this significant commitment to youth soccer development will ignite community interest in establishing one neutral Academy program for Central Virginia that all clubs, players and parents can unite behind to share resources to best serve the most talented and dedicated players in the region.”
ABOUT THE U.S. SOCCER DEVELOPMENT ACADEMY
Developing the Next Generation
U.S. Soccer’s Development Academy program is driven by the game and its players, coaches and referees. This game-centric approach allows for long-term development to occur through a deep understanding of what makes players successful around the world. As the sport of soccer grows in the United States, young players in our country need the proper environment to compete against the world’s elite. The U.S. Soccer Development Academy program provides the optimum developmental environment for the nation’s top youth soccer players, coaches and referees by emphasizing development through quality training and limited, meaningful competition.
Academy teams spend a greater amount of time focused on training to improve as individuals and as a team. The teams and players receive direct feedback and evaluations from national Team Staff and ProZone video analysis. To round-out the complete training environment, Academy teams are tested in their physical capabilities using the SPARQ testing methodology and their hydration levels by Gatorade. They also receive a SPARQ training curriculum for soccer-specific athletic training and Nutrition and Hydration recommendations from Gatorade’s Sports Science Institute. Each athlete then gains a greater understanding of how they compare physically against their peers and what they need to do to achieve their optimal performance levels.
The Academy program features teams from the top youth clubs from around the country. Each Academy team plays approximately 30 regular season games to ensure all games are meaningful. Games are also played according to FIFA’s Laws of the Game and officiated by a pool of the nation’s top young referees in order to prepare players for the next level of competition. National Team Scouts regularly attend Academy games, so players are evaluated over the course of the season and in their natural positions allowing for better player assessment.
As the program enters its second year, it has already dramatically impacted the player development process in the United States. In 2008, more than 100 players from academy clubs were included in the U.S. Youth national Teams and almost 800 graduates from the inaugural Academy class participated in college soccer the following fall. Virtually all college programs use the Academy program as a scouting vehicle and the program has received increased attention from professional scouts representing domestic and international clubs. Visit ussoccer.com to view the top Academy teams in action.