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Competitive soccer clubs join forces, attract elite program affiliation

By: Staff Report
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The Placer United Soccer Club, based in Loomis, and San Juan Soccer Club of Folsom are jointly launching the California Development Academy in the boys U14, U16 and U18 age groups for the 2009-2010 season according to a news release from Placer United. The CDA will be part of the national U.S. Soccer Development Academy program, which is designed for the top soccer clubs and elite players from around the country. Currently 78 clubs nationally participate in the Development Academy program and CDA will be one of only five Northern California programs. “With Placer United and San Juan ranked in the top five soccer clubs in Northern California, it made sense for us to join forces if we are truly serious about developing players who will one day help the U.S. compete to win a World Cup,” said Nathan Williams, Placer United Executive Director of Coaching. Along with the CDA, the other Northern California Development Academy teams are the Danville Mustangs, De Anza Force, Santa Cruz County Breakers and Clovis Odyssey. The Academy interview and application process included visits from U.S. Soccer Federation national scouts, who analyzed each club’s structure, training facilities, coaching staff qualifications and player abilities. “As the only Development Academy program in the Sacramento region, we now are creating an environment that brings our elite players together,” said Bill Wiskel, San Juan Director of Coaching. “We’re joining a very exclusive group of soccer clubs, and it’s exciting that we’ll be able to compete against the best in the country.” “With the Academy program, the goal is to have players training more and playing less, which will help bring U.S. soccer in line with the rest of the world,” said Williams. U.S. Soccer added only three Academy programs for the 2009-2010 season. In addition to the CDA, Academy programs were awarded to Major League Soccer franchises in Houston and Kansas City. “We’re hoping that with cooperation from other soccer clubs in the area that we’ll be able to create one of the country’s top soccer academies,” Wiskel said. “We worked hard to get the Development Academy program to the Sacramento area so players wanting to compete at the highest level have that opportunity.” College coaches from the top schools around the country are endorsing the Academy program as an effective way to identify top players. An informational meeting on the CDA program will be held on Tuesday, Apr. 14 at 7 p.m. at the Holiday Inn Hotel located at 5321 Date Ave. in Sacramento (near I-80 and Madison Ave.). Additional details on coaching staffs and tryouts for the CDA can be found at the league’s Web Sites - www.placerunited.com or www.sanjuansoccer.org.