MLDA Academy Expansion

Join the Academy

For Players

For players to join the Academy, they must first join one of our member clubs. Anyone interested in joining an Academy club will need to contact the club directly for specific information regarding the player identification process. To see which clubs are in your area, please visit our club maps based on your age group: U-12, U-13 & U-14, U-15/16 & U-17/18.

After selecting a club in your area, click on "Club Staff" for the club's contact information. We encourage interested players to contact the manager and/or administrator of the club.

For Clubs

Current Applications

The Boys' and Girls' Development Academy Membership Applications for the 2017-2018 season are now closed. The application process for both programs will re-open in late Fall 2017 for expansion toward the 2018-2019 season. Academy applications are open to any clubs that are not currently members of the Development Academy as well as any existing members wishing to expand to additional age groups.

Boys' Applications: New clubs can apply for one of three options: U-12 only, U-12 to U-14, and full Academy. Existing Academy clubs can apply for one of three expansion options depending upon their current status: U-13 & U-14, U-13 to U-18/19, and U-16/17 & U-18/19. Existing Academy members are encouraged to contact their Technical Advisor to discuss the plans for the market.

Girls' Applications: New clubs can apply for full Academy at the following age groups: U-14, U-15, U-16/17 & U-18/19.
Application Process:

The Development Academy Membership Application is broken into seven sections:

    Section I: Application Procedure
    Section II: Club Information
    Section III: Resources
    Section IV: Facilities
    Section V: Staffing and Leadership
    Section VI: Player Development History
    Section VII: Academy Requirements

In order to complete the online application, clubs must send all supporting documents, including the following, to

    Club Philosophy (mission, vision, identity, style, etc.)
    Annual Training Plan (this includes a detailed plan for activity, training and games)
    Club Budget for the Academy programs (this includes all revenue and expenses to operate Academy age groups)
    Additional Player Production (YNT/MNT/WNT players, foreign and/or domestic professional players) *if applicable
    Additional Staff Listing *if applicable

Application Timeline:

    October 12, 2016 - Application Opens
    December 4, 2016 - Final Day to Submit Applications
    January 23, 2017 - Application Decisions Announced
    February 6, 2017 - New Clubs Confirm Participation
    September 1, 2017 - Start of the 2017-18 Academy Season

U.S. Soccer's Technical Advisors and staff will evaluate the applications using the following Key Performance Categories:

    Leadership of the club and quality of the coaching staff
    Desire to embrace and promote the core values of the program
    U.S. Soccer license levels of coaching staff
    Infrastructure of the club and the resources currently being invested in development (facilities, scholarships, staff to player ratio, etc.)
    History of player production for Youth National Teams, the National Team (Men's or Women's program where applicable) and professional leagues
    Market player depth, geographic location, proximity to other elite clubs and travel implications

Upon acceptance to the U.S. Soccer Development Academy Program, clubs will receive an email with detailed Rules and Regulations, as well as a Membership Agreement Form. The club must return the Membership Agreement Form and Performance Bond by February 6, 2017 to confirm its membership in the Academy Program.

U.S. Soccer will retain membership applications for future consideration. Clubs that previously applied can submit updated documents and additional materials regarding the club and player pool each year.

If you have any questions about the application process, please email the Development Academy at

Initial Selection to Join the Academy

Any club is welcome to apply, but admission is very selective. Applications will be evaluated holistically using the following measures:

    National Team Coach Analysis based on U.S. Soccer's Development Philosophy
    History of Youth National Team and professional player production
    History of success in elite competitions
    Impact on existing Academy members
    8 Key Performance Categories

        Player Development Effectiveness
        Philosophy and Style of Play
        Training Environment and Personal Development
        Administration & Management

Annual Evaluations

U.S. Soccer provides two yearly evaluations to clubs participating in the Development Academy to provide feedback on the quality of the club's developmental environment for elite players. Clubs are graded on a five-star system in comparison to the top international developmental environments. The evaluation criteria consists of eight key components necessary for a club to provide elite everyday environments for world-class player development with technical components based on the U.S. Soccer Development Philosophy. Development Academy Key Performance Categories can be found above under "8 Key Performance Categories."

Evaluation FAQ

    How should this information best be used?

        The information has a few different purposes. First and foremost, this feedback increases the accountability for Academy clubs to reach international standards and expectations set by U.S. Soccer. The information empowers individuals to make the most informed decisions to help choose the right long-term fit for an elite player. U.S. Soccer encourages families, players and clubs to use all the information available as the current holistic view of each Academy club. Second, the evaluation system helps U.S. Soccer to evaluate the progress and deficiencies in order to continue improving the impact of the Academy Program on world-class player development. (Please note: This evaluation process identifies strengths and areas of improvement and uses a ratings scale consistent with international standards. These ratings should not be used to draw comparisons between Academy club programs and other domestic programs or teams associated with other organizations).

    How often are clubs evaluated?

        Clubs are evaluated twice a year - once during the midpoint of the Academy season and once at the end of the season. Only the end-of-season evaluation rating is shared and applied to their membership status for the following season.

    How does U.S. Soccer determine the ratings?

        U.S. Soccer conducts live evaluations and video analysis at Academy clubs' training and games and collects administrative information on the club throughout the year.

    Are all criteria weighted the same?

        The criteria receive different weights based on their importance to providing an environment to develop world-class players. The technical components carry the greatest weight.

    Who is involved in the evaluation process?

        U.S. Soccer Technical Advisors, National Team Scouts and U.S. Soccer Development Academy staff all participate in live evaluations, observations, video analysis and data collection that lead to mid-season and end-of-season ratings.