With the recent closing of the U.S. Soccer Development Academy, this leaves a lot of soccer athletes, parents, and coaches wondering how this will affect their future. We've gained helpful insight from top college soccer coaches and club directors from around the nation including U.S. Women's National U17 & U20 team coach and scout, Manny Martins. Manny is also the Associate Head coach for the University of Oregon Women's Soccer team.
We've also interviewed coaches and directors Brandon Bianco from Denison University, Matt Correia from Salem State University, Jeff Oleck from Colorado Rapids YSC Club, Dwight Hornibrook from Halifax County United, and Rod Laufurie from the LA Surf Club. They shed great light on the situation and what to expect going forward.
Can You Play College Sports?
Take the 4 minute quiz to see if you have what it takes for NCAA sports.
Manny Martins: Associate Head Women's Soccer Coach at The University of Oregon. As well as U.S. Women's National U17 & U20 team coach and scout.
Development Academy Closing:
Manny shared an optimistic take on the Development Academy termination and how at the end of the day, the league was simply a platform for players and eventually another one will emerge.
Brandon Bianco: Head Men’s Soccer Coach at Denison University in Granville, OH.
Thoughts on the Development Academy Disbanding:
Brandon talks about the divide between the MLS soccer clubs and the non-MLS clubs and how there were lots of talks for the Development Academy to make some changes and let the MLS go their own way.
How will the DA announcement affect current DA clubs and players?
Brandon talks about how this could affect DA clubs and players and how there should be a place for them to land even if there is some uncertainty at this time. He gives his insights and positive spin on the announcement and what he can mean for the soccer market.
Will Recruiting be Affected by the Lack of DA programs?
Coach Bianco talks about the changes that might happen with recruiting with DA events no longer being available and where coaches might find recruiting events.
Thoughts on Youth Soccer Landscape and What MLS Does Next:
Coach Bianco talks about having less competition when it comes to new leagues/club levels and gives his thoughts on what the MLS programs might be.
Matt Correia: Head Men’s Soccer Coach with Salem State University.
What do you Make of the Closing of the Development Academy?
Coach Correia shares his thoughts on the DA closing and how this could affect the athletes and why it was an interesting time to close down. He mentions that it’s been talked about throughout his coaching connections but that everyone is still holding out to hear more on the situation.
Tips for both DA Athletes and Non-DA Athletes on the Recruiting Trail:
Matt talks recruiting with me here and his tips for athletes during this shutdown. He explains that there are many ways to stay in contact with coaches, even some new ways like video calls that can help athletes build a relationship with coaches. He mentions that we can keep things positive for the athletes and have them do their research on what is the best fit for them and then talk with coaches to see if that program is the right fit. Matt also offers up some Dos and Don’ts especially when it comes to videos and emails to coaches.
Jeff Oleck: Associate Director of GK for the Colorado Rapids YSC.
Jeff talks about his connection to the DA and how he has been involved with it since its inauguration in 2007. He expressed his disappointment in seeing the league go and concern for some clubs that do not have MLS parent clubs.
The challenge now falls into the hands of individual clubs to provide a route to achieve their goals, whether that be at the collegiate level or professionally.
Dwight Hornibrook: Director of Soccer of Halifax County United.
Development Academy Closing & Canada's System:
Dwight talks about some of the disadvantages of the structure of DA, particularly with the amount of travel required for some of the teams and expenses required to participate. He also mentions how this will reemphasize the fact that great talent can still come from non-major talent markets, and slimming down the elite pool will bring out better competition.
Rod Laufurie: Elite Program Director for LA Surf (formerly LA Premier FC), the largest club in greater Los Angeles.
DA Closing and What to Expect Going Forward:
Rod talked about how the expansion of the DA in recent years has made competition less competitive. He talks about the importance of regional competition, and how US Soccer needs to go back to its roots. Rod also mentions how we should not try and model our system off of other countries.
He also gives advice to players for players on DA clubs (that do not have MLS parent clubs), and how to not worry about trying to find that highest level of soccer. Having the right coach and right competition, should be all a player needs (as long as they put in the effort off the field).
Enter The Nation's Largest Prospect Database
Connect with thousands of college coaches across the U.S. and get evaluated for collegiate athletics!