U.S. Development Academy Set for Kickoff Weekend

CHICAGO – Forty teams from the U.S. Soccer Development Academy will kick off the inaugural season of the new program from Oct. 6-8 as part of a Fall Showcase Weekend at the National Training Center in Carson, Calif.

A total of 40 matches are scheduled for the opening weekend. The U.S. Development Academy is a grassroots organization formed by the United States Soccer Foundation and designed to improve the United States as a soccer playing nation by placing more emphasis on training and less on games.

Clubs from the U-15 and U-17 age bracket will be participating in the three-day event, which includes a marquee match between the U.S. Youth National Team and the Chivas USA U-18 Academy Team on Saturday.

To kick off the Development Academy season, U.S. Soccer conducted a two-day Technical Workshop from Sept. 12-13 in Chicago where the attendees received technical analysis from U.S. Men’s National Team head coach Bob Bradley, U.S. U-20 head coach Thomas Rongen, U-17 head coach John Hackworth and U.S. Soccer Director of Coaching Bob Jenkins.

Bradley spent one hour providing a video breakdown of the USA-Brazil game, while Rongen and Hackworth each selected matches from the recent Youth World Cups to illustrate coaching tactics and evaluation techniques. Jenkins reviewed the USA’s performance in the 2007 Pan American Games, focusing on roster selection and match preparation.

Also presenting at the Workshop were two of the world’s leading scholars in the Expert Performance Movement. Dr. Anders Ericsson of Florida State University presented an overview of his distinguished research on ‘deliberate practice”, a method of learning how to develop expertise. Dr. Paul Ward, his colleague at FSU, presented on the application of this theory to the sport of soccer. These principles form the philosophical foundation of the ‘less games, more training,’ approach that the Development Academy has implemented in the program.

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