TAMPA, Fla. – The United Soccer League today announced the launch of a female pathway within the USL Academy, which will provide a direct route for ambitious young players to reach the top level of professional soccer.
The move, which follows the successful launch of the USL Academy platform and the first USL Academy Cup event in San Antonio this past October, will see the USL provide its first female player development pathway through which it will equip players in communities across the country with opportunities to learn, grow and develop.
The new extension of the USL’s Academy platform, which was launched in March 2019, will take effect in the 2020/21 youth soccer season.
“This is just the first step in our growing commitment to women’s soccer in the United States,” said USL Chief Operating Officer Justin Papadakis. “With the recent unprecedented growth of the women’s game, we feel it is time for USL to be proactive in developing a developmental platform for young women to pursue their dreams. As opportunities continue to increase for young women to pursue professional soccer, we want our clubs and their youth affiliates to work in tandem to help them achieve that goal.”
Through this initiative, the USL will help provide access for both female and male players to showcase their abilities and further their development through the USL Academy. As is with the current male pathway, the move allows USL clubs to more fully support their local youth soccer clubs, affiliates, and other partners in the youth soccer community.
“Since launching earlier this year, we’re very grateful for how well our USL Academy initiatives have been received, not just by our current USL clubs but even more so by their local youth soccer communities,” said Liam O’Connell, USL Sr. Director of Youth Development. “As our clubs and their local counterparts began to work together to build stronger player development pathways at home, it became apparent that there was an incredible amount of interest in providing the same opportunities to young female players.
More information, including application details, will be provided in the coming months.