Developmental Academy Overview

SAC/HC’s US Soccer Developmental Academy Program is now called Baltimore Armour. Please visit the Baltimore Armour website for more information on the program/teams.

*below text taken directly from the US Soccer website. Link


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 to improve the everyday environment for the elite youth player.

The Development Academy is a partnership between U.S. Soccer and the top youth clubs around the country to provide the best youth players in the U.S. with an every day environment designed to produce the next generation of National Team players. The Academy’s programming philosophy is based on increased training, less total games and more competitive games.

The Academy also connects National Team coaches directly with the Academy clubs to develop and identify players and coaches for future Youth National Teams. Each Academy team is evaluated by a member of the Men’s Scouting Network at least ten times each year and each Academy club receives two formal evaluations in over 100 categories each year from U.S. Soccer Technical Staff.

The Development Academy is also focused on identifying and developing the next generation of elite referees. U.S. Soccer assigns up-and-coming officials to participate in Academy games at the local level and at national events.


The Development Academy’s primary focus is player development. Academy players are provided with the best opportunity to achieve their potential as elite soccer players.

Academy teams are required to train at least three days per week and rest one day per week during the Academy season. Academy teams will play approx. 30 games per year.

Member Clubs
80 of the top youth soccer clubs will participate in the program in 2011-12.

All current clubs applied for membership. Any club is welcome to apply, but admission is very selective.

Academy clubs must field 1 team in each of the 2 Academy mixed-age groups: U-15/16 and U-17/18.

Age Groups
U-15/16: Players born on or after 1/1/1996
U-17/18: Players born on or after 1/1/1994
Players are encouraged to ‘play up’ when appropriate.

Each club must have a minimum roster of 36 full time players. All players register directly with U.S. Soccer.

In 2011-12, the Academy league contained 10 geographically based divisions. Each team play home and away matches against the other teams in their division, plus games against non-division opponents from across the country during the 9-month season. The top 32 teams in each age group advance to the Playoffs, where they compete for one of eight spots in the Academy Finals Week at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif.  In the 2012-13 season, there are seven divisions where each team will play a combination of a home and away schedule against each of the teams in its division.  In the West Conference, the teams play cross-division either home or away.

There are no fees for club to participate in program, aside from $8 per player and $25 per coach registration fee (2012-13 figures). Clubs are responsible for all of their travel and administrative expenses.

To maintain a focus on training, Academy teams do not play in any other leagues, tournaments, State Cup competitions, ODP or All-Star events without written permission from Academy staff. Full-time Academy players can only participate on their designated Academy team, with only 1 exception: national team duty. For the 2012-13 season, full time Academy players for all teams must choose to participate in the Academy full time and forgo playing for his high school team.


  • More Training
    • 3 mandatory training sessions per week
  • Fewer Total Games
    • Approximate 30 game season
    • No outside participation for full-time Academy players
    • 25% Minimum Start Requirement
  • More Meaningful Games
    • Compete against top youth clubs in the country
    • FIFA Rules (i.e. no re-entry on substitutions, January 1 birthday cut-off, players participate on older teams if appropriate)
  • Top Instruction
    • Players receive integrated oversight from Academy Club Coaches and U.S. Soccer Technical Advisors in their local environment.
  • Connection to U.S. Soccer Resources
    • Select teams compete against U.S. Youth National Teams
    • Regular Game and Training Evaluations by U.S. Soccer Men’s Scouting Network staff
    • Referees assigned by U.S. Soccer


  • Direct connection to Men’s Scouting Network for identification of potential national team pool players
  • The Scouting Network staff evaluated over 60% of all Academy games in the 2011-12 season
  • Showcases are premier scouting venues:
    • 400-500 college coaches
    • 25 Professional Scouts
    • National Team Staff observe every game
  • Online player profile for all Academy players
  • Showcase games footage can be purchased
  • There have been over 2000 instances of players being called into Youth or Senior team events since the Fall of 2007 from 72 different Academy clubs