ORLANDO, Fla. – Orlando City Youth Soccer (OCYS) is proud to announce their acceptance into the U.S. Soccer Development Academy for 2012-2013 season.
The Development Academy application was a unique collaboration between OCYS and the Florida Rush, with the Rush’s President, Richie Gray, leading the application team. The Development Academy squads at U18 and U16 will also combine together the two clubs, with boys from both organization’s playing side-by-side on the same teams, under the Orlando City Youth Soccer brand.
“A collaboration of this type is quite unique in Central Florida and I want to thank our partners, the Florida Rush and especially Richie, for their huge contribution to this success” said Orlando City President, Phil Rawlins. “Hopefully, this is the first of many opportunities to partner together with the Rush; they are a first class operation and I know that the two playing groups combined will represent Central Florida well.”
“We’re privileged to be joining the Development Academy and worked really hard to establish a solid club from top to bottom,” said OCYS Executive Director Brian Pederson. “We feel we can provide a good service to the community and be competitive in the Academy. It has been our goal to develop a total structure from the youth to professional level. It’s taken a lot of hard work, and it’s been a very sincere process of building relationships with the community, which has responded very well.”
OCYS teams will compete in the Southeast Division of the Eastern Conference during the 10-month 2012-2013 season. Full details of the teams, including coaching staff announcements, will be made at a later date.
Acquiring Development Academy status is a major step forward for OCYS. Consisting of 80 clubs across the country, the Development Academy was created in 2007 to enhance the player development environment for elite youth players in the U.S., with specific focus on increasing the number of training sessions, decreasing the total number of games, while increasing the number of quality matches to maintain the highest level of coaching, refereeing and competition available in an everyday environment. 17 of the 19 teams in MLS are members of the Development Academy.
The Academy program provides clubs with a soccer-centric environment and a platform to systematically improve player identification and development processes. More than half of the Academy matches are attended by National Team scouts, resulting in a comprehensive system to evaluate player, coach and referee talent.
Earlier this year, the Development Academy announced it is moving to a 10-month season starting with the 2012-13 season. After receiving overwhelming support from the Development Academy membership, the 10-month schedule begins in September and runs through June (or July based on postseason play). This creates a format that is similar to those followed by the elite soccer nations around the world as the Development Academy and U.S. Soccer continue their goal of closing the performance gap with the top soccer nations.