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Pre-Professional Youth League

In an effort to drive further vertical integration of each USL club’s academy team and senior team, the USL Academy League season will be aligned with the pro calendars of Championship & League One. Doing so will also encourage further collaboration between youth & senior team staff, as well as make the transition of integrating from the youth to pro levels even easier for the top youth prospects.

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PRO CALENDAR ALIGNMENT

In an effort to drive further vertical integration of each USL club’s academy team and senior team, the USL Academy League season will be aligned with the pro calendars of Championship & League One. Doing so will also encourage further collaboration between youth & senior team staff, as well as make the transition of integrating from the youth to pro levels even easier for the top youth prospects.

10-MONTH SEASON

Each 10-month season will begin with a full month of the preseason in February, with pro clubs expected to identify at least one week with which the academy & first teams can train side by side. Following preseason, regular & postseason play will occur across (3) subsequent 3-month periods (Spring: March-May, Summer: June-August, and Fall: September-November). 

Calendar Considerations

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OFFICIAL LEAGUE GAMES

As regional subdivisions are launched, participating clubs will be expected to participate in a minimum number of official USL Academy League games during each 3-month period of the regular season. For subdivisions with greater travel demands, play weekends may be utilized to maximize travel time, providing they follow the appropriate play to rest ratio for player safety & health.

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OUTSIDE COMPETITION FLEXIBILITY

Focus is on getting as many clubs as possible building a high-standard pre-professional training environment. While we want to supplement that by providing meaningful USL-AL games within a regional footprint & select national events (such as USL-AC), we want to give each club the flexibility to add to their calendar with local friendlies, showcase tournaments, & international trips.

Balanced Game Schedules

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REGIONAL SUBDIVISIONS

Each year, club applications will be reviewed, and regional subdivisions will be launched once an appropriate critical mass of clubs is established in a specified geographical area.

LIMITING TRAVEL DEMAND

More than ever, it’s important to limit the travel demand & cost for youth players competing in high-level environments. to depend on a number of clubs within a regional conference.

EXPANSION


As USL expands at the senior team level, and more top youth clubs in select areas affiliate with USL senior teams, additional regional subdivisions will be launched, with the cost of travel going down subsequently.

#UNITEDFORSOCCER


By offering all clubs within USL Championship, League One, and League Two the opportunity to apply for USL Academy League, it shows we’re uniting communities across all levels of the game.                
 

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