NEW ELITE COMPETITION QUESTIONS
MLS is committed to player development and is establishing this new broader and more inclusive competition structure, that fills the void of the U.S. Soccer Development Academy, to ensure young players are consistently competing in high quality games against top competition throughout the year.
As we reviewed the level of competition that our MLS club academy teams were facing in the Development Academy program, we found that while our teams were facing a certain number of strong teams, producing a high quality of competition in some games, the level was not consistently high and our players were not consistently challenged at the requisite level to impact the first team.
This is being established as a consistent and stable, long-term competition that will, year-over-year, continue to directly support and further accelerate domestic player development in advance of the 2026 World Cup – not just among MLS academy teams, but for non-MLS teams as well.
This competitive structure is built to elevate the level of competition and provide talent identification opportunities for all players throughout the youth soccer landscape allowing players to reach their ultimate potential while delivering meaningful value for clubs by optimizing effective talent identification practices.
The competition will be an important component of a larger development ecosystem aimed to integrate players and clubs from MLS academy teams and non-academy teams alike, providing not only top competition but also comprehensive talent identification for domestic players with professional aspirations.
The competition will be strategically organized to ensure clubs are competing in high-quality matches against top clubs – both domestic and then international through the GA Cup programming and beyond.
While this will offer some continuity with the Development Academy, meaning competition throughout the year, not just one or two tournaments. We are not simply replacing the Development Academy, we are evaluating the expansion of this elite competitive pathway to also include clubs beyond the former Development Academy.
The platform will welcome MLS academies, including Nashville SC Academy, and non-MLS academies alike, allowing a wide range of players, staffs, and club personnel to benefit from this innovative approach to structuring a youth soccer competition with the end-result being a stronger youth soccer landscape.
The Nashville SC Academy is a fully funded, elite youth soccer program based in Nashville, Tenn. and playing at the highest level of youth soccer in the United States. It will provide each player with an unparalleled youth soccer experience. It’s a vibrant, player centric learning environment where players will be exposed to the Nashville SC development plan and will be asked to be the protagonists in their own development. Players will get access to:
- Coaching, guidance and evaluation from a highly qualified technical staff
- Access to cutting edge sports performance technology and equipment
- Invitation to participate in domestic and international tournaments against some of the world’s best clubs
Unlike other clubs in Tennessee, the Nashville SC Academy is a professional soccer club competing at the highest level in the United States. It is fully funded and the only soccer avenue in the state of Tennessee offering a clear pathway from youth soccer to the professional ranks.
There is currently no pathway for elite youth players to develop into the professional ranks in our state. As part of our commitment for Nashville SC to be in Nashville, with Nashville and for Nashville, it is important for us to create this pathway to inspire local talented players who dream of one day playing for their home professional club.
The Nashville SC Academy is the only pathway for elite youth players to develop into the professional ranks in our state. In addition to offering a clear pathway to the professional team, it will provide Academy players with unique opportunities to participate in Major League Soccer and distinct international experiences.
The Nashville SC Academy is a fully funded program giving players from all backgrounds the opportunity to play for the Nashville SC Academy.
We are proud to have Currey Ingram Academy as the home of the Nashville SC Academy.
The Nashville SC Academy Director is in the process of recruiting a team of coaches and their names and credentials will be added to the Academy section of the Nashville SC website.
Playing on a Nashville SC Academy team requires a significant commitment. Nashville SC Academy teams travel between 10-15 times per year, mostly regionally, some nationally and some internationally. All travel costs will be covered by the Nashville SC Academy.
PLAYER AGE GROUPS AND INFORMATION
For the 2020/21 season, the Nashville SC Academy will have U12 (2009), U13 (2008), U14 (2007) and U15 (2006) age group teams. The U12 team will follow a similar schedule to the 2019/20 season.
Players do not have to be a USA citizen to play for the Nashville SC Academy. However, non-USA citizens must have their appropriate Visa completed and approved to be eligible to play. International players must also be eligible for an ITC transfer if under 18 years old. Please visit U.S. Soccer’s ITC Eligibility webpage for more information.
RECRUITMENT AND TRYOUT QUESTIONS
The U12 Academy team will have a pool of 24-30 players. Based on tournament requirements and at the Academy Director’s discretion, not all players will participate in practices and events. The U13, U14 and U15 Academy teams will carry rosters of 16- 22 players.
Nashville Soccer Club will host ID Clinic’s across the state of Tennessee at various times throughout the year. These ID Clinic’s may be open ID Clinic’s or invite-only ID Clinic’s. All ID Clinic details will be posted on the Nashville SC website under the Academy tab as well as through multiple social media handles.
EXISTING YOUTH CLUB AND SPORTS QUESTIONS
The Nashville SC Academy is complementary to existing programs in the state – providing a direct pathway from youth soccer to the professional ranks of the game here in our region, instead of having these players leave for similar programs in other states. It also provides the opportunity for clubs and elite players in the state to align themselves with the program of Tennessee’s only first division professional soccer club.
Nashville SC Academy will strive to include all clubs in Nashville, the region of Middle Tennessee and the state of Tennessee to become part of the Nashville SC family.
Nashville SC Academy players cannot play High School soccer or for other teams (except for U12 players during their club season). Due to how the high school soccer season is scheduled as it relates to a game to practice ratio, Academy players will not be able to play high school soccer.
Players on the Nashville SC Academy will be allowed to play other sports only if:
- They play on the Nashville SC U12 or U13 Academy teams
- They get prior permission from their Coach and Academy Director
- It does not interfere with Nashville SC Academy trainings or games
Players who play other sports must do so knowing that playing for the Nashville SC Academy requires a significant commitment and that the Nashville SC Academy will come first over other extracurricular priorities. U14 Nashville SC Academy players and older are not allowed to play other sports.