12U Development Academy Programming Announcement
Posted by: Rapids Youth Soccer
In the fall of 2019, the U.S. Soccer Development Academy will no longer operate programming at the 12U level. The DA has elected to decentralize the 12U age group, eliminating it beginning the fall of 2019. This move allows for more direct management of the player needs. In this transition, each club will be entrusted to meet Academy philosophy and standards, limit travel and costs for players and parents, and give players more time on the field.
In accordance with CRYSC and U.S. Soccer standards, the 12U program will continue to uphold the following Zone 1 programming principles and initiatives:
- Adopt and commit to the Player Development Initiative philosophy, focusing on the individual development of players
- Be the example in our community—establishing partner and affiliate Clubs for cooperation and collaboration
- Emphasize training and positive learning environments
- Provide all players with meaningful minutes, focusing on development, not results
- Ensure every player plays in at least 50% of game minutes each game
- Longer periods of playing time and less frequent interruptions to benefit player development
- Accelerate learning by allowing teams to move players up or down based on physical needs and/or relative age to appropriately challenge a player
Since U.S. Soccer created the Development Academy in 2007, it has expanded to directly influence the 13U/14U age group and Zone 1 of the 12U group. U.S. Soccer introduced the Player Development Initiatives (PDI) in 2016, alongside the 12U Academy launch, to help spread uniform, age-appropriate standards to impact player development nationwide. Together, they have set the benchmark and provided an example for all clubs and leagues countrywide to achieve U.S. Soccer’s uniform standards.
Clubs around the nation quickly adapted to the new standards, leading to more cohesion and visibility for the 12U age groups. This added value came at the cost of more travel and time-commitment from players and families. With over two years of practicing within these standards, U.S. Soccer now believes clubs are prepared to continue operations without direct programming from U.S. Soccer or the Development Academy.
This transition limits time spent traveling and allows for more direct management of Zone 1 player needs maximizing time developing on the pitch. By bringing these players into the Academy-standards based environment, they will continue to grow within one of the United State’s premier youth programs while elevating competition and player development in the state of Colorado.
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