U.S. Soccer on Saturday announced the addition of 28 clubs to the Girls’ Development Academy which will begin play in the fall of 2017. The announcement comes one week after the announcement of an initial 25 clubs which included six National Women’s Soccer League affiliations and 17 clubs poached from the NWSL, considered the current top flight of girls youth soccer in the United States.
Among the 28 additional clubs announced on Saturday, which includes 16 more ECNL clubs. Among those making the jump are prominent youth clubs such as Dallas Texans, MatchFit Academy and Eclipse Select — a Chicago-area club whose president is Rory Dames, head coach of the NWSL’s Chicago Red Stars.
Washington Spirit-Maryland is also among the 28 clubs, joining the previously announced Washington Spirit club. U.S. Soccer tells The Equalizer that Washington Spirit team first announced was the result of a group of clubs — including Braddock Road, SYA and Arlington — that combined in Virginia under the Spirit name. Saturday’s announcement of Washington Spirit-Maryland is the group working toward the same setup in Maryland.
That makes 33 of the ECNL’s 79 current clubs moving over to the Girls’ Development Academy.
The Girls’ Development Academy, modeled after the boys’ one which began in 2007, will feature three combined age groups: U-14/U-15, U-16/U-17 and U-18/U-19.
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