U.S. Soccer’s Development Academy program is driven by the game and its players, coaches and referees. This game-centric approach allows for long-term development to occur through a deep understanding of what makes players successful around the world. As the sport of soccer grows in the United States, young players in our country need the proper environment to compete against the world’s elite. The U.S. Soccer Development Academy program provides the optimum developmental environment for the nation’s top youth soccer players, coaches and referees by emphasizing development through quality training and limited, meaningful competition. Currently, FC Dallas has three Development Academy teams: U-14, U-16 and U-18 boys teams referred to as the FCD Academy.
The Under-18 Academy has seen ten alumni signed to Homegrown contracts with the FC Dallas first team and in 2012, they won the US Soccer Development Academy National Championship for the first time after two previous trips to USSDA Finals Week. In the 2011-2012 US Soccer evaluations released earlier this year, FC Dallas was ranked the #2 academy in the country.
In addition to first team contributions, FC Dallas Academy alumni feature for some of the top NCAA teams in the nation. In 2012 alone, FCD Academy alumni won the following awards:
Mikey Ambrose - All-ACC Second Team, All-ACC Freshman Team
Bradlee Baladez – All-Conference USA Second Team
Danny Garcia - ACC Freshman of the Year, All-ACC Second Team, All-ACC Freshman Team
Jaime Ibarra – Co-Conference USA Player of the year, Conference USA Defensive Player of the Year, All-Conference USA First Team
Boyd Okwuono – All-ACC First Team
Damien Rosales – All-Conference USA Second Team
London Woodberry – All-ACC Second Team
FC Dallas Academy players get the opportunity to play some of the strongest competition from all over the world. In April 2013, the U-18 Academy traveled to Guadalajara, Mexico for a week of friendlies against strong Mexican youth sides while earlier in the year an Under-14 side traveled to Bolivia for the Tahuichi Mundialito. In the spring of 2010 the club took a team of players to Amsterdam to compete in the AEGON Future Cup. The FC Dallas squad, made up of a collection of U-18 and U-16 players, faced teams from AFC AJAX, FC Barcelona, Liverpool FC, FC Bayern Munich and AC Milan, among others. The next year FCD took a full U-18 team and a full U-16 team to Madrid for a week of international friendlies against teams from Rayo Vallecano, Atletico Madrid, Real Madrid and others. The FC Dallas Academy teams have also played host to a number of international powers right here in Frisco, including Tigres from Mexico, Chelsea from England and FC Barcelona from Spain.
Academy News and Accomplishments
- FC Dallas Under-18s win three of four against Mexican youth academies
- FCD Under-18s blank international Dallas Cup sides
- Under-18 'Keeper Jesse Gonzalez to club's tenth homegrown contract
- 2013 College Showcase Hosted by FC Dallas
- 2012 US Soccer Development Academy Finals Week Page
FC Dallas will field U.S. Club Soccer sanctioned U-13, U-14 and U-15 Pre Academy teams for the first time in the 2011-2012 season. Pre Academy teams will play in a 10-month season beginning in September and ending in June. Games will mirror the U.S. Development Academy schedule in a home and away format. FC Dallas Academy and Pre Academy teams will travel and play against like opponents for division games only. Out of division U-18 and U-16 weekends will not include the U-13-U-15 categories to reduce the cost for those younger players.
Players in the Texas Pre Academy League are registered through U.S. Club Soccer and can be dual registered to local FC Dallas Classic League teams and participate in those matches as well, although there will be numerous conflicts with scheduling. These teams will train three times per week in the evenings during the 2011-2012 soccer year. A typical week of training would include several different types of sessions including technical, tactical and functional sessions. The training format will mirror the style of work being used at the U-18 and U-16 levels in order to better prepare players for the transition into the older categories.
Academy teams spend a greater amount of time focused on training to improve as individuals and as a team. The teams and players receive direct feedback and evaluations from FCD’s professional staff. To round out the complete training environment, Academy players are tested in their physical capabilities using The FCD Way© testing methodology. FCD Development Academy players also receive The FCD Way© curriculum for soccer-specific athletic training. Each athlete then gains a greater understanding of how they compare physically against their peers and what they need to do to achieve their optimal performance levels.
The Academy program features teams from the top youth clubs from around the country. Development Academy teams play approximately 30 regular season games to ensure all games are meaningful and highly competitive. Games are played according to FIFA’s Laws of the Game and officiated by a pool of the nation’s top young referees in order to prepare players for the next level of competition. National Team scouts regularly attend Academy games, so players are evaluated over the course of the season and in their natural positions, allowing for better player assessment. In 2008, more than 100 players from Academy clubs were included in U.S. Youth National Teams and almost 800 graduates from the inaugural Academy class participated in college soccer the following fall. Virtually all college programs use the Academy program as a scouting vehicle and the program has received increased attention from professional scouts representing domestic and international clubs.