In what is news to fans, but not necessarily to the teams and clubs active in the United States Soccer Development Academy system, US Soccer announced today that they adding the U13/14 age group to the competition for the 2013-14. United States National Team Coach Jurgen Klinsmann said in the announcement;
"I am very excited to see this important next step in the process of developing young players in this country. Just as with the players on the National Team, these young players need to get increased training and play in the most meaningful games they can. Being in the Academy also gives them more time to practice on their own, which gives them another chance to be creative and have fun. All these elements are critical for players at this age group."
Locally, the Seattle Sounders Academy already hosted players at a level they called the pre-Academy. while not part of the formal USSDA system, the pre-Academy did take part in tournaments in the past year. Sounders FC Director of Youth Development Darren Sawatzky is excited to work with the USSDA in expanding their ability to develop players.
"The more time you have training players in terms of sessions, days, weeks, months, and years, the more time you have giving them an environment with the best possible opportunities," Sawatzky explained via email to Sounder at Heart. "In short, this new age group is an incredible opportunity for the most committed, driven, and talented players to chase the dream of high level soccer"
The Sounders Academy season starts on September 8th against the LA Galaxy Academy. Home games at Starfire Sports Complex start on September 22nd facing off against the new to the USSDA Portland Timbers Academy.