Players from the Columbus Crew celebrate after beating FC Dallas 1-0 in stoppage time in the US Development Academy under 16/17 playoffs -p/c US Soccer

If the US plans to have success in the 2026 World Cup, they are banking on the US Soccer Development Academy to lead the way.  This blog isn’t to critique the pros and cons of the system (maybe later) but to better inform soccer fans one of the systems US Soccer has put in place.

I was in Oceanside (north of San Diego) at the So Cal Sports Complex on Tuesday for the US Development Academy Summer Showcase and Playoffs.  The Development Academy, or “DA” as it is known in soccer circles, is completing it’s 11th season for boys and the inaugural season for girls.

At the US Soccer Development Academy Summer Showcase in Oceanside

The venue has 21 fields and they were packed with players, coaches, parents, Major League Soccer and international club scouts, college coaches, player agents, and US National team scouts.  I have been a member of the US Soccer scouting network for the past two years but wasn’t scouting today.  I am in town to watch Sacramento Republic (my brother Benjamin is the assistant coach) take on Major League Soccer’s Los Angeles FC in the 5th round of the US Open Cup.  More on that later.

Locally, Santa Rosa United is the only member of the US Development Academy in Sonoma County as they field teams in the u12, 13 and 14 age groups.  As this event was for u15 and older, the SRU teams weren’t in attendance but there were several people with Sonoma County ties at the event or the Development Academy.

Former Major League Soccer goalkeeper and long time Sonoma County resident Mark Dougherty (now coaching in Florida) with Sonoma State University head coach Marcus Ziemer.

Jeremy Gunn, Head Mens Soccer at Stanford University and three time defending National Champion. Jeremy played for the North Bay Breakers which were based out of Rohnert Park in the USISL.

Ziggy Korytoski, former Santa Rosa United coach and SRJC player grew up in Sonoma and currently lives in San Diego. Korytoski coaches the Albion SC NPSL team and will coach the u19 DA team next year for Albion

Jon Delano, who grew up in Santa Rosa and recently was named assistant men’s soccer coach at University of Pennsylvania.

Former Santa Rosa United player Eric Kronberg, pictured against US National team player Dom Dwyer. Kronberg retired from a 13 year professional career, including Major League Soccer’s Sporting Kansas City and Montreal Impact and is coaching in the US Development Academy with Sacramento Republic FC

Former Santa Rosa United goalkeeper who currently plays with Portland Timbers in Major League Soccer also played in the US Development Academy with the San Jose Earthquakes.

Eric Kronberg and Kendall McIntosh working together at Sonoma Academy

Former Santa Rosa United board members Dave Kronberg and Carol Kronberg with Eric, Ely, Sally after Montreal Impact played at Portland Timbers

With Sonoma Academy alumni Kendall McIntosh, Sally Ziemer and Chloe Colbert

Kronberg and McIntosh inspiring the next generation of soccer.

According to the US Soccer website:

Mission

The U.S. Soccer Development Academy impacts everyday club environments to develop world-class players.

What is the Development Academy Program?

Following a comprehensive review of elite player development in the United States and around the world, U.S. Soccer created the Development Academy in 2007. The Academy Program’s philosophy is based on increased training, less total games, and more meaningful games using international rules of competition.

The Academy has recently expanded programming to include a Girls’ Development Academy that will begin in Fall 2017. The Academy has 197 total clubs, comprised of teams across six age groups in the boys program: U-12, U-13, U-14, U-15, U-16/17, and U-18/19 and four age groups in the girls program: U-14, U-15, U-16/17, and U-18/19.

The Academy Program focuses on positively impacting everyday club environments to assist in maximizing youth player development across the country. The Academy values individual development of elite players over winning trophies and titles. The Academy sets the standard for elite environments for youth soccer clubs nationwide and is a part of U.S. Soccer’s global leadership position in youth soccer that will impact thousands of players.

 

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