OL Reign has announced that the club’s academy will be playing in a newly-founded Girls Academy league beginning in the 2020/21 season. Previously known as the Reign Academy, the club also debuted a new name for the academy as the announcement marked the first usage of the name OL Reign Academy. The future of the OL Reign Academy was unclear following the closure of the Development Academy, as the team had participated in the DA since its founding in 2016.
The Girls Academy is currently comprised of 59 clubs, including 45 former DA clubs, throughout the United States. With many former DA sides choosing to join or return to the Elite Clubs National League (ECNL), often regarded as the top girls academy league, the Reign had a difficult choice in determining their future. As OL Reign Academy Technical Director Amy Griffin explained, though, “We believe the Girls Academy is the best possible platform to support the future growth of our club, as the GA blends the key attributes of U.S. Soccer’s Girls’ DA and ECNL, while providing each club the freedom to shape their programs in the manner best suited to their philosophy and mission.”
Along with the club joining the new league, Griffin has also been elected to serve on the board of the Girls Academy.
The OL Reign Academy will field five teams in the GA, ranging from the 2007 age group up through the 2003/2002 age groups, under the name OL Reign Academy Bleue. Those teams will compete in the GA Northwest Conference against teams from five other clubs based out of Washington and Northern California, with additional clubs expected to join in the near future. In addition to the teams competing in the GA, the OL Reign Academy will also field additional OL Reign Academy Bleue teams in the 2008, 2009, and 2010 age groups, as well as OL Reign Academy Rouge teams in the 2003/2004 through 2009 age groups, which will all compete in the Puget Sound Premier League.
“Our objective is to enable girls of all ages, aptitudes, and abilities to achieve their full potential as players and people. For us it starts with a training environment that is both competitive and compassionate, led by coaches of extraordinary quality and commitment, from which the conditions emerge where players achieve their individual objectives while retaining their joy for the game,” explained OL Reign Academy President Teresa Predmore.
OL Reign Academy is one of a select few clubs built by women for female soccer players exclusively. The academy is led by women and boasts a coaching staff comprised mostly of women. That staff includes current and former players, and coaches with experience ranging from D1 college soccer to the professional and international levels of the game.
The Reign Academy has already to this date produced plenty of D1 college players and sent several players to various US youth national teams. With OL Groupe’s investment, especially considering the resources the French club has invested in the academies on the men’s and women’s sides, it seems like only a matter of time before OL Reign sign their first academy player to a professional contract.