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North America, MLS Focused On Accelerating Talent At Youth Soccer Level

Photo courtesy: Real Salt Lake

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Major League Soccer has broadened its youth soccer platform by inviting 65 top-tier youth soccer clubs from around the country to join their elite soccer development program. Real Salt Lake will be one of 95 clubs within the league.

The program will transform youth soccer development in the United States and Canada and will include over 8,000 youth soccer players competing in a year-round competition.

The idea behind broadening the landscape of youth soccer in America and Canada is to further accelerate and enhance player development in North America.

With a focus on maximizing each player’s potential, the new development platform will not only provide high-level, year-round competition for players, but will provide important programming, education and innovation in the key areas of player development:

  • Player Identification
  • Coaching
  • Environment
  • Personal Growth
  • Community Outreach

“There is strong positive momentum and excitement among MLS club academies and elite academy clubs to co-create a platform that will deliver an unparalleled experience for the nation’s top players and clubs,” said Fred Lipka, Vice President and Technical Director of MLS Player Development.

“The development of professional and elite players requires a comprehensive and integrated approach, beyond just the competition format, and we are having daily conversations with academy clubs across the country who are committed to building that environment with us.”

Since launching the MLS club academy initiative in 2007, Major League Soccer has demonstrated unprecedented commitment to the development of top level professional players in the United States and Canada, including an investment of more than $70 million last season alone. This investment has produced more than 250 homegrown players that have become professional and national team players, including Real Salt Lake players Justen Glad, Aaron Herrera among others.

“We are very excited to be a founding member in the MLS’s new elite youth development platform.  In this tumultuous time in youth soccer, MLS has picked up the torch and we at Real Salt Lake – Arizona are excited to be one of the clubs leading the way with them,” a spokesperson from the RSL Academy said in the press release.

Tom Hackett is a Utah and Real Salt Lake Insider for KSLsports.com and host of the It’s Utah’s World Podcast (Utah Football themed) and The Lion’s Den Podcast (Real Salt Lake themed). Follow him on Twitter: @TomCantHackett.