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La Roca one of 22 new clubs selected for the development program

Layton, Utah (August 18, 2016) — La Roca FC, Utah’s most trophied youth soccer club, has been invited to participate in U.S. Soccer’s inaugural season of its Girls’ Development Academy Program. The program is designed to accelerate the development of world-class female players. With the 22 new clubs, the academy now boasts 74 clubs for its first season, which will begin play in the fall of 2017.

Adolfo Ovalle, founder and technical director of La Roca FC, said the academy program offers La Roca’s coaches and players unprecedented access to high quality competition while being scouted at the national team level. “Our girls now have an opportunity to play against the best teams in the United States with a chance to be seen and scouted by coaches and staff from U.S. Soccer. To have a relationship of this magnitude is special, and something we are very grateful for. We also recognize that our girls and their families have sacrificed a great deal while working to get to this level. We look forward to playing with the best and reaching new heights both individually and collectively.” Ovalle said La Roca FC has had several players invited to participate in national team camps and sees this as an even bigger step in helping La Roca players train and perform with the national teams. “Some of our girls have been selected to play and train with the national teams. With the new development program, we look forward to more players afforded the opportunity to participate on the national teams.”

“Launching a Girls’ Development Academy is part of an unprecedented commitment to elevating the women’s game,” said U.S. Soccer Women’s Technical Director April Heinrichs. “The Development Academy program will offer clubs support and education to positively impact the development of players and coaches throughout the country.”

“We all know how important it is to create the correct environment and expectations for elite player development, something that was highlighted for me during my time as Development Director for our youth Women’s National Teams,” said U.S. Women’s National Team head coach Jill Ellis. “The Development Academy is an important step forward to continue the growth of the women’s game in the United States, and to create the best pathway for players to reach their full potential.

In addition to La Roca FC and the initial selection of clubs, U.S. Soccer yesterday announced the addition of the following clubs to the program:

Cedar Stars Academy – Monmouth (Tinton Falls, N.J.)

Indiana Fire (Westfield, Ind.)

Real So Cal (Woodland Hills, Calif.)

Empire United (Rochester, N.Y.)

SC del Sol (Phoenix, Ariz.)

FC Fury New York (Bay Shore, N.Y.)

Burlingame SC – MVLA (Burlingame, Calif.)

Sereno Soccer Club (Phoenix, Ariz.)

FC Kansas City (Prairie Village, Kan.)

Nationals (Royal Oak, Mich.)

Sporting Blue Valley (Overland Park, Kan.)

FC United (Northfield, Ill.)

Oakwood Soccer Club (Glastonbury, Conn.)

Texas Rush Soccer Club (The Woodlands, Texas)

Houston Dash (Houston, Texas)

PA Classics (Manheim, Pa.)

West Coast Futbol Club (Laguna Hills, Calif.)

Houston United (Houston, Texas)

Pateadores (Costa Mesa, Calif.)

Western New York Flash (Elma, N.Y.)

PSV Union (Palo Alto, Calif.)

Club applications were evaluated and accepted by U.S. Soccer’s technical staff based on the following criteria:

  • Leadership of the club and quality of the coaching staff
  • Desire to embrace and promote the core values of the program
  • S. Soccer license levels of coaching staff
  • Infrastructure of the club and the resources currently being invested in development (facilities, scholarships, staff to player ratio, etc.)
  • History of player production for Youth National Teams, the senior Women’s National Team and professional leagues
  • Market and depth of the player pool, geographic location and proximity to other elite clubs

Since 2007, the U.S. Soccer Development Academy has served as the elite male youth player development model for the country and has significantly improved the everyday environment for players, coaches, referees and clubs.  The Girls’ Development Academy will be structured with many of the same.

The Academy program will focus on positively impacting everyday club environments to maximize elite female youth player development. Increasing the training to game ratio, playing fewer but more meaningful games and providing assistance for coaching education and development are just some of the standards and best practices the program will promote.

The program will feature three combined age groups: U-14/15, U-16/17 and U-18/19. Clubs will be expected to train a minimum of four times per week. The combined age groups will require clubs to form teams with a balanced roster of players from two distinct birth years and encourage clubs to provide “play up” opportunities. The games will be scouted by U.S. Soccer and the program will serve as the primary pathway to U.S. Soccer’s Youth National Teams.

More information about the U.S. Soccer Girls’ Development Academy Program is available online at ussoccer.com.

About La Roca FC

Based in Layton, Utah, La Roca Futbol Club was established in 2005 to provide a quality competitive youth soccer program in Utah and has since become the most successful club in the state. La Roca FC trains serious youth soccer players who seek an opportunity to develop and showcase his/her skills to the fullest potential. La Roca FC offers players a chance to play at the highest level of state competition, and compete in various regional and national tournaments. More information is available at larocafc.com.


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