U.S. Soccer Girls' Development Academy FAQ's


Why did U.S. Soccer create a Girls' Development Academy?

U.S. Soccer wanted to provide a player centered program that is focused on the development of the individual without bias, distractions, self-interests and financial gains that compromise the optimal everyday environment. This is needed to continue to set the standard for world-class players.


What are some of the benefits of playing in the Girls' Development Academy?

The Academy's elite training environment promotes increased technical standards and allows for greater accountability for players and coaches. Coaches can devote more time to these areas in training. Both players and coaches must learn to deal with and manage the challenges of playing in games using international rules, which is what players will experience at the highest levels.

The Academy program provides an improved environment with the proper training-to-game ratio that supports year round periodization for development.

How does playing in the Girls' Development Academy help a player accelerate their development?

By participating in the Academy, a player will have substantially more hours on the training field focused on refining technique and tactical understanding. With a minimum of four training sessions per week, there is significant opportunity to work on technique and receive instruction from coaches and U.S. Soccer Technical Advisors as part of a continuous seasonal plan for the players' development.

What age groups participate in the Girls' Development Academy?

The Girls' Development Academy is for 14U, 15U, 16U, 17U, and 18/19U age groups.


How many days per week will the teams train?

Teams will train a total of 4 days per week. Players are expected to attend all practices to be considered for competition in games.

How many games are played and how long is the Academy season? 

Each Academy club plays between 16 and 30 league games, including 6 to 9 games played at Showcases. The season begins in September and commences with Championships in July.

Minimum Start Requirement:

All 14U though 18/19U full-time Academy players, including goalkeepers, are required to start at least 25% of the Academy’s games during the season.

How do Development Academy players get exposure to U.S. National teams?

U.S. Soccer scouts attend the majority of development academy games and showcases to identify players for National team camps & U.S. Training centers.

What about College exposure?

Development Academy players undoubtedly receive the best college exposure of any club in the country, two USSF Development Academy Showcase events and attendance of college coaches at development academy games and showcases.  The USSF Development Academy program will certainly help players to pursue their college dreams and make them a reality.

How much are Academy clubs required to travel? 

Academy clubs can expect 12-20 away matches in a given season, some of which will require overnight travel. Exact travel distances will vary depending on their geographic proximity to their opponents and Academy events.

Can Academy players participate with non-Academy teams during the season? 

In order to develop players of the highest quality, the top players must be training and playing with each other regularly. High school soccer has assisted in helping some players to grow and it does encourage community spirit. Often times, however, the best players are not challenged sufficiently in training or in games because they excel above the level of their teammates and opponents.

U.S. Soccer mandates that all Girls’ Development Academy players forgo high school seasons to aid in their development. U.S. Soccer schedules Academy games over a 10-month league period, allowing for some blackout periods and down time. This is done mainly to help prevent injuries, spread games out, increase training opportunities, and improve the overall development of young players.  

There are benefits to playing high school soccer. Salvo Soccer Club does have programming that allows our players to play high school soccer. If you are interested in playing both high school and club soccer, please find information on our Performance Teams here

Please access U.S. Soccer's Development Academy FAQ Page here.


For more information on the Girls' Development Academy, contact GirlsDA@salvosoccer.org