Developmental League to help Future US National Teams?

Discussion in 'Youth National Teams' started by Edwin Thorne, Sep 2, 2007.

  1. Edwin Thorne

    Edwin Thorne New Member

    Jun 4, 2004
    Kalamazoo, MI
    With the new developmental league and quality academies evolving within the country, what is the likelihood that future US Youth National Teams will be more competitive in the selection process. It seems the constant competition between the 64 development clubs should provide opportunities to see individuals playing competitive matches and grow preofessionally as an athlete. The residency program should not be exclusive to making the Youth National teams.

    The arguement by the coaching staff is that the players would have played together and have chemistry. It seems to me that the US should be about picking the best players at the time of competitions and not simply by the fact they were in residency as in the past. (This year's U-17 had 2 players not from residency if I recall correctly.)

    So the the questions I have for every one are:

    (1) Do you see a more "open" audition for youth national teams in the future through the development league?

    (2) What is the role of the residency program in this new era? Is it elitist and thus obsolete? Or still good idea to take the best as identified by some coaches?
  2. sidefootsitter

    sidefootsitter Member+

    Oct 14, 2004
    Perhaps it's better to isolate the 15 (with the exception of the very best) from the 17 year old kids. In other words, make Bradention two one-year programs rather than a one two-year program.

    But the key is still the coaching, not minor administrative changes (although those could be helpful independently of other things).
  3. matador11

    matador11 Member

    Jun 21, 2000
    South Florida
    I think this raises some interesting points.

    For starters, I do believe the development league will be a huge step in the right direction. Simply having 63 other Bradentons, or at least 63 other youth clubs that would be given similar consideration and supervision will only help in terms of youth scouting and coaching.

    Competition has and always will be the great equalizer in sports. If you simply give more kids and teams a chance to compete against the "elite", more often than not you will find some of the "lesser" kids are truly elite whereas some of the "elite" kids are not that good. The same is true in coaching.

    However, I do have some major concerns/questions.

    First, from a practical standpoint, how will the club teams be able to fund their participation? Having a team from Weston, FL play a Miami or Boca team is one thing, but now having them play some Georgia teams adds a pretty large expense. I fear this will make these clubs even more exclusive in terms of financial requirements.

    Which leads to the second concern. The old travel club concept needs to change. To wit, where the best local clubs are also, not coincidentally, based in the upper class suburbs to the exclusion of middle and lower class kids. If kids and their parents are forced to make financial contributions, then this gap and exclusion will become even worse. In turn a huge and highly athletic portion of our population will be excluded.

    Finally, how will talented and promising players be identified and handled? That is, will they be immediately plucked from their respective club teams and placed in more elite academies or perhaps the Bradenton academy? And how will the MLS clubs factor into this part? Will there be some type of bidding war or priority system among MLS clubs as to who gets, say, the talented midfielder from Miami? And by virtue of joining the local academy (e.g. Kendall FC) does the talented Miami player give up some rights in terms of negotiating a pass to, say, some European or Latin American team?

    The idea of the development academy is long overdue. Still, there are lots of questions that remain to be answered. It will certainly be interesting to see just how this works.
  4. drdi

    drdi Member

    Jun 6, 2002
    FC Porto
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    my dear friends, the simple fact is that it is impossible to concentrate the best players in a single place, like bradenton. i really do not believe that we sent all of our best players to the u-17 wc- there must be hundreds or thousands exceptional players around.
    of course this new developmental league will expose 64 times the talent we have, and we can easily improve our junior teams globally and individually.
    in the u-20 wc i had the perfectnotion that we possessed 4 great players-adu, altidore, seitz, and the left back (sturgis, i think) but all the other players did not have the same quality ( the centrals, szetela,zizzo were good but not exceptional).Why? because our coaches give an exagerated atention to bradenton players and forget the others. with a team only with players with adu, altidore quality we would be major contenders and probably we could reach, at least, the final.
    i always read in this forum a series of defeats on our juniors teams in every state or local competition( texas, california, the list is big)against mainly local teams that often are made with local minority players.and they are not selectioned? there are not , in those "local" teams that beat regularly our national teams, excellent players?
    the developmental league is a natural, logical process that will improve vastly our nationl teams. but i only will be satisfied with a developmental league of 640 teams.then we will be great.
  5. Kevin8833

    Kevin8833 Member

    Jun 18, 2007
    Estero, FL
    It's a good idea and will be very effective but it still doesn't cover all of the talent, they need to find a way to scout the kids who can't afford development academies or kids who just don't know about them. Regular travel teams will be scouted even less than they were which was hardly at all in the first place. Hopefully high school is scouted more to make up the difference considering pretty much every highly talented kid plays in high school so that should cover pretty much all the best talent.
  6. Elninho

    Elninho Member+

    Sacramento Republic FC
    United States
    Oct 30, 2000
    Sacramento, CA
    Los Angeles Galaxy
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    One of my big concerns with any kind of developmental league structure is: will the emphasis really change? One of the big problems facing youth development in the US is the youth clubs' emphasis on winning now, over developing players for the future. I'm not really seeing this change by virtue of simply having a national structure.
  7. Gooner_for_Life

    Oct 26, 2005
    Portland, OR
    Portland Timbers
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    In theory i think this will help. This is based upon my assumption that i think it is better then the status quo, Brandenton. In the past i think Brandenton was the best answer probably because the level of coaching in this nation just wasnt up to scratch. Soccer in this country has boomed recently thus raising the level of play thus raising the level of coaching. In the past people could run around and probably do an adequate job of picking out a few promising players and plopping them into a residency program. So with the given level of rising talent and coaching it is naturally applicable that we expand beyond having a single academy, especially for a country with our size and given population. Basically to me we are just expanding, we went from 1 academy to 64. However what is better is it helps to take the commitment off of the players as well. Kids can stay closer to home now and possibly not live in. Looking back i couldnt have imagined being 14/15 and being shipped off to some far away place clear across the country. Obviously with this expansion it will open up more opportunities to kids. Also i think it will help aid in the scouting of this nations youth players. I think it will help to shift some of the work load off the national system and onto these local clubs. The coaches and staff at these 64 clubs can travel around their regions and select the best players to attend and try out. Theoretically if the best kids from surrounding areas around these 64 clubs are chosen then the national scouts and staff can nominally scout these 64 clubs and choose the best players without having to run around all over the country. Wrapping this up i believe that this list needs to be ever evolving though. Obviously there are thousands of clubs in this country. Certain criteria and guidelines should be written out. If clubs meet these criteria and guidelines then they should be able to apply to become one of these elite clubs. For me the more clubs that become involved the better.
  8. Jscraig

    Jscraig Member

    Jun 15, 2007
    Philadelphia Union
    I don't know how many people get 90:00 soccer magazine but there was a really good article on how to get more inner city kids involved in soccer. The way they're talking about is to have little kids play futsal until they are about 13. If you think about it, it's a really good idea. Americans can play an athletic game but when it comes to passing, taking people 1 v 1, we lack quality big time. If we have little kids play futsal they develop the skills which very few Americans (Dempsey...?) possess. In addition, futsal is relatively inexpensive especially in cities where fields are simply hard to come by. The article also spoke about a league in LA run by a guy named Tadeu Vigo who is making this happen. If our kids grew up playing futsal and then the best of the best were eyed by the youth MLS squads or the development teams (especially since USSF is completely overlooking little kids), I'm confident the Nats would get better in a hurry.
  9. FirstStar

    FirstStar Hustlin' for the USA

    Feb 1, 2005
    Time's Arrow
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I've got a good friend here in Charlotte whose dream is to found and nurture a futsal league in West Charlotte (the rough equivilant of the "inner city" here). He owns his own law firm, so he might have the resources in a few years to give it a go. Anything that gets more kids anywhere in the country interested in soccer is good for us.
  10. sidefootsitter

    sidefootsitter Member+

    Oct 14, 2004
    Upon (a little) further thought - if the youth league is for the ~ 18-20 year olds, who are either from the MLS reserves or the vacationing summer collegians, then it may be doable on a regional basis.
  11. amavel

    amavel New Member

    Jun 25, 2007
    Los Angeles Galaxy
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
  12. trip76

    trip76 Member

    Jul 17, 2007
    North East USA
    another benifit that i haven't seen mentioned, is that the acadamy players are restricted from playing in other programs, so there will be more slots available in these programs, like Olympic Development Program (ODP).
  13. Count

    Count New Member

    Oct 7, 2007
    Chapel Hill
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    With the advent of this new developmental league, will the Super-Y league still be in existence? If so, would a young player have any reason to play in it versus the new Developmental league?
  14. Sakatei

    Sakatei Member

    Jun 24, 2007
    These youth teams are still run the same way and by the same people. Other than someone being discovered I doubt there will be that much of a difference in the long run.
  15. SUDano

    SUDano Member+

    Jan 18, 2003
    Rochester, NY
    They are run by the same people but by all the directive's and documentation they will be running them differently. Emphasis on training and skill development rather than tournaments.
    I do agree with you that the culture will take time to change but in the long run there will be change. I don't know if it's it'll be as much change as we need. A few notes as to culture change:
    1-Ironic they start the acadamy with a tournament
    2-The coaches all said it was a great set-up and a great weekend and great competition but no one said we needed better skills development
    3-Watching the highlights in the background on Studio 90 it's still the same kick ball. Pass, try to beat your man on dribble then 2 open men 15 feet away midfielder turns away from them to find the forward then you see the ball returned fly up and over the defense. I guess you can't teach proper soccer when you start with a tournament.
  16. TimB4Last

    TimB4Last Member+

    May 5, 2006
    Not sure if this is new, but I just found it ...

    Development Academy Q&A: Quavas Kirk

    The Development Academy Program didn’t exist when Quavas Kirk was playing with the Chicago Magic. “I wish it was,” says Kirk. The Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder knows the Academy environment – such as meaningful training and quality matches – is modeled after U.S. Soccer Residency Program, which he was involved in for two years, and was a huge help in him jumping to the pros at such a young age. talked with Kirk about how he thinks the Development Academy will help improve player development.


    How do you think the expanded program will help the national teams in the future?

    QK: “I think it’s great. Putting these kids against top clubs non stop all over the nation will make for some great competition for spots on the national teams. I really think that the national teams will have their work cut out for them against some of these youth teams. The best part is that the Academy will create an environment where kids are going to seen more by our national team coaches. There will be that much more competition for spots. Before it was a battle with 20 to 40 kids in Residency, but now it will be a battle against every kid in the country. That will definitely help the national teams get better.”

  17. matador11

    matador11 Member

    Jun 21, 2000
    South Florida
    I think that raises an interesting point. If you accept the argument that our previous youth system was flawed, which I certainly do, then placing a group of elite travel clubs in a youth development system will not necessarily eliminate the old problems -- same coaches, same players and nothing that includes our urban centers.

    That being said, it is a step in the right direction. At a minimum, the player pool for the NATS will improve since the Residency program will now be much more fluid. In simple terms, forcing the Residency program kids to compete against 63 other clubs will not simply weed out the kids that are not NATS material but also showcase kids that were initially overlooked. That alone will improve the quality of our national team.
  18. Sakatei

    Sakatei Member

    Jun 24, 2007
    To be frank, I do not think USSF youth prorgams are going to be the long-term answer.

    I think MLS is the light at the end of the tunnel. I would rather have a club team evaluating and judging talent and making decisions about who stays and who is out.

    There are so many ancillary factors that come into play with the current youth system that can screw things up. Too politicized.

    I would rather have a smaller number of potential stars with the MLS teams than these organized herding programs of the USSF.

    But that is long-term and I guess this is better than nothing.:(

    -Yes I have no faith in youth coaches. Just about as much faith as I have in some of the so-called foreign experts who cannot make it in their own country but are more than willing to coach here.
  19. gnatfan

    gnatfan Member

    Mar 10, 2005
    How are immigration issues dealt with at this level? Do all players have to have at least a green card or a path to citizenship? Haven't seen this addressed at all.
  20. BigKeeper

    BigKeeper Member

    Mar 1, 2006
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    From what I understand of this league, it seems like it is a good step forward for many areas of the U.S.. I don't know if it's so much better for S. Cal
    or N.Tx and the like, who already had very strong competitive leagues that developed solid youth players. It almost seems like it is narrowing the exposure of players of these areas to a degree.
    What I'm always curious about is, will there be any avenue of increased exposure to the U.S. Nats for the many late bloomers? Those 17-18 y/o and beyond whose game takes off in College years and those who do not go to College. How are these guys given their fair shot at glory?
    From the stories I have heard, Dempsey is a good example of a late bloomer,
    struggling in the early years of ODP.
    These types of players will surely be missed initially till they catch up, and often surpass, physically.
    It's not an enviable task to try and sift through the many millions of players
    to try and find a hundred or so of the very best. It seems to be an overwhelming task when you think of the realities of it.
  21. zhosereh

    zhosereh New Member

    Jul 28, 2007

    So people want the MLS teams to take a step forward in youth development? Where will that come from? The staff of the first team will have nothing to do with the youth side, they are worried about thier job and taking care of the first team.
    Just look at how players are 'developed' in the reserve league.....they aren't and the reserve league is widely considered a joke.
    And we should do that with the younger kids? :confused:
  22. headerdunce

    headerdunce Member

    Dec 19, 2005
    I know what you're saying and you're right with respect to the current top 20 or so players in socal at each age group, because they currently get ODP exposure and all the tournaments, CSL or Presidio league, and showcases. If they join an Academy team, they arguably will get less exposure.

    But, for socal players overall, the Academy will be a huge bonus for national exposure. The 16 Academy teams, assuming a roster of 20 each (a conservative estimate) means 320 players getting exposure before the national team coaches, rather than the previous 54 for the 3 ODP teams in the U16-U18 range. So, 5-6 times the exposure for socal players which, in my admittedly biased view, will also be a big plus for U.S. teams in the future.
  23. Sakatei

    Sakatei Member

    Jun 24, 2007
    Which is why I referred to it as a long-term solution. As the league grows so will their reserve programs. Which they have been doing recently.

    See above.
  24. Sakatei

    Sakatei Member

    Jun 24, 2007
    This developmental league in this thread is not for the younger kids.
  25. rwhunter4

    rwhunter4 Member

    Jul 17, 2002
    Home of the Brave
    This may have been addressed already, if so I apologize. Why does it seem that the Texas area is not represented in the Development Acadamy? Most of the other MLS Acadamy teams are reperesented, but FC Dallas and the Dynamo are nowhere to be found. What gives?

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