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U.S. U-17 residency program set to close after 18 years

Throughout the program’s 18 years, the U.S. Under-17 residency program has helped develop some of the top players in U.S. Men’s National Team history. However, with the rise of academies throughout the country, the program is set to close its doors.

The U-17 residency program is set to complete its final semester after 18 years in Brandenton, Fla. The program has helped kickstart the careers of 33 players with USMNT caps, including Landon Donovan, DaMarus Beasley, Michael Bradley and Christian Pulisic.

“One of our main hopes when establishing the U.S. Soccer Residency Program was that at some point advancements in youth player development would make its existence no longer necessary–we believe that point has been reached.” U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati said. “Not only did the program develop a number of key players for our National Teams, it served as a model for academies across the country to follow. With the U.S. Development Academy having achieved high standards in preparing our young athletes, we are now able to impact future American professionals on a much larger scale.”

Founded in 1999, the program helped lead to the 2007 launch of U.S. Soccer’s Development Academy, which now features more than 150 clubs across the country. According to U.S. Soccer, 89 percent of all call-ups to U.S. youth national teams are coming from Academy clubs while 23 players that have featured in the Academy program have played for the senior team.

“It’s a bittersweet moment because the program has been invaluable for almost two decades as a critical piece of the development process for U.S. Soccer,” said U-17  head coach John Hackworth. “The end of the Residency Program signals the next step in the evolution of player development in this country.”


  1. The issue with the Residency was always that it could not cast a wide enough net. While there are likely 1 or 2 players that stood out as clear candidates, most of the others could have been replaced by any number of equally talented players. So in effect it limited what was considered the top level of training for 16-17 year olds to a small fraction of those players who could benefit from it.

    If I learned anything from watching European clubs it is that is is impossible to determine which among a talented group of16 year olds will go on to be successful professional players. You have only to look at the US’s own crop of very young stars touted as the next greatest player on earth.

    This is a move that will expand and strengthen the Development Academies as well as help more young players gain opportunities closer to home. Of course, it will not do much to help players living far from the Development Academies unless some sort of living arrangement can be made for players them.

  2. Not needed anymore. Mls academies are doing a fantastic job developing top notch prospects such as….. actually,I meant to say Germany. Germany is developing some top notch prospects

    • Did you consider that Bundesliga teams have acquired many of our teenage talent over the last 12-24 months? There is this really good player named Pulisic that you should keep your eye open for. Carleton, Pomykal, Glad, Davies, etc. are some of the teenagers in MLS that you can follow and root for over the next few years.

  3. Despite what some people say, it served a purpose for a while. It was limited, but it did fill a gap. However, that is no longer necessary, per se. Academies have a long way to go, but the regional distribution allows for better local identification and development. What they have to do now get away from pay to play in ALL U.S. Soccer’s Development Academy clubs because some still charge.

    • i agree, anthony. and regarding getting rid of pay-to-play, well, another thing that needs to change is that when, how to say? ten years later when their pro club cashes in on a nice transfer fee, some of that money needs to make it’s way back to the youth club that helped to develop that player, yes, everybody? last year in the news i think we all saw that didn’t happen, and it seemed like the youth clubs were kind of left out there on their own. it didn’t seem to me that mls or ussoccer was that interested in insisting that some of the money go to the youth program in those cases.

      • ” ten years later when their pro club cashes in on a nice transfer fee, some of that money needs to make it’s way back to the youth club that helped to develop that player, yes, everybody?”

        I have been saying this for years. Although, it should only happen if a club does not charge fees or at least did not charge that player.

  4. Well, in fairness after 18 years they were no longer eligible for the program.

    (I have the worst Dad-type jokes all week. Do yourself a favor and start/continue ignoring my posts guys, please)


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