DPL Offers New Alternative for Former Girls DA Teams
The DPL was initially launched to provide a second tier to the U.S. Soccer Girls Development Academy (DA). Providing the same training environment as the DA, the idea was to enable an easy transition for advancement. Started in Southern California, 24 youth soccer clubs have taken advantage of competing in the DPL, reflecting a total of 144 teams playing in 3 conferences; Southwest, West, and Frontier.
Highly popular and well respected, the DPL worked well for the clubs participating and will now be restructured and enhanced. A new tier, the Girls Academy League, has been created by the DPL to provide an opportunity for former Girls DA Clubs offers to fill the void left by the DA.
The American elite youth soccer landscape is still in flux with many clubs’ owners, presidents, and Directors of Coaching spending endless hours on the phone evaluating options and working on combining forces. It will take weeks for this to chaotic confusion to calm down and for a new pyramid to evolve plus several top DA clubs have already joined Elite Clubs National League (ECNL).
As reported by Soccerwire:
The launch of the DPL’s new Academy venture is likely to play an influential role in the national youth soccer landscape since it’s organized by many of the highest-level clubs in the country.
Originally created through a collaboration of Southwest Division DA clubs – with a national leadership group consisting of representatives from LA Surf (Barry Ritson), Legends FC (Kevin Boyd), Tophat Soccer (Troy Garner), Lonestar SC (Wes Schevers) and FC Dallas Youth (Matt Grubb) – the level of competition in the DPL has been higher than the top divisions of most other travel leagues around the country.
However, it remains unclear how many of those top-end clubs will wind up choosing to put their top teams in the DPL’s new Girls Academy, instead of ultimately choosing the ECNL as the best long-term option.
Here is the April 18 Statement from the DPL:
Since the news breaking of the demise of the DA, we have been inundated with requests from clubs to expand the DPL from all areas of the country. By unifying DA clubs from conferences across the country we have found a way to maintain several of the defining standards of the Development Academy with flexibility in two key areas; permission for all players in the Girls Academy League to participate in High School soccer and revising the substitution rules to encourage clubs to better utilize their player pools, especially when showcasing their players to college coaches. We feel by giving the autonomy to clubs to determine what’s best for their membership we can take what worked for us in the DA and erase the obstacles for our players to have a more enjoyable and diverse experience.
During the upcoming months, we are aware of the challenges we face especially when it comes to travel. Each conference will work on a calendar that falls in line with the recommendations from Health Organizations and Government while maintaining a competitive schedule and showcase opportunities for the teams. The Girls Academy League fully intends to have cross-conference matches, college showcases and a National Championship Series for the 2020/2021 season and we will release more information on how that is structured in the near future.
We strongly believe that strong leadership from some of the most talented organizations in our country will be able to maneuver these difficult times and unite, providing our players with a league and showcase platform that will exceed the level of the DA through clear communication, honest feedback and loyalty to our membership. As disappointed as we are in the decision from our Federation, we feel we have a unique opportunity to take the reins and introduce a more collaborative approach to player development.
Our organization is poised to take a bold step in the development of talent in this country and we thank you for your continued support and trust of your club and their leadership.