One of the positive holdovers from the Jurgen Klinsmann era of U.S. Soccer is an increased focus on youth development, a focus which continued Monday with a new USSF hiring.
The federation announced on Monday the creation of a new position, as they hired former English Premier League head of performance, James Bunce, as their first ever high performance director. In his new role, Bunce will focus on developing the athletic performance of young players in a comprehensive manner, including an increased focus on performance data and research.
“I am honored and humbled to join U.S. Soccer,” Bunce said. “The Federation is an organization that continues to dedicate the right resources to high performance and development growth. I am looking forward to getting started and confident that we will be able to accelerate U.S. Soccer’s ability to develop world-class players, coaches and referees.”
Bunce pioneered several initiatives in his time in England, including national injury surveillance, physical profiling, and improved tactical analysis league-wide. Prior to his role as head of performance, Bunce served as the league’s head of sports science, belying his focus on analytics as the key to developing young talent. He also served as Southampton’s head of athletic development, where he oversaw one of the most successful academy systems in England.
“We are adding a world-class level sports performance expert to our staff,” U.S. Soccer director of sport development Ryan Mooney said. “James possesses the right balance of theoretical and practical experience that we are confident will lead to an acceleration across all of our player development initiatives.”