The Virginia Development Academy (partnership between VSA, PWSI, and CYA) has made a successful start to the US Development Academy season with some impressive performances, results, and consistent attacking style of play. The mission of the U.S. Soccer Development Academy (Known as the DA) program is to provide education, resources, and support to impact everyday club environments in order to develop world-class players. The DA which is the top of the player development pathway for all clubs in the country and will expand to the girls side in 2017 which the Virginia Development Academy has been successfully been accepted into.
“VSA is extremely proud to be part of the Virginia Development Academy and US Development Academy platform. It has provided our coaches and players with more exposure than we had expected. From players representing the VDA to VSA travel players it has really helped the way we have approached the development of our teams and programs. From our curriculum to style of play we have seen increased standards and professionalism in our staff and players which has been seen on the field especially in our NPL Elite teams.” Commented Matt Lacey, VSA Executive Director/VDA Director of Coaching.
In the Virginia Development Academy’s first year of play VSA has developed 5 players that are donning the VDA uniform. Those players are Will Wagner (2002 VDA), Charlie Kurz (2002 VDA), Diego Lucero (2003 VDA), Jessie Cortez (2003 VDA) and Danis Jacevic (2003 VDA). These individuals and their teams have found recognition, growth and extreme development over the past 4 months. The 2002 team has even broken into the national rankings, the 2004 teams are unbeaten in all league play and have implemented an exciting style of play and both the 2002 & 2003 teams found success this past weekend at the US Soccer Academy East Region Showcase in North Carolina. On their travels back we were able to take time with Will Wagner and get his first-hand experience of VDA.
VSA PR – First of all congratulations on being a part of VDA. My first question is quite simple, what made you decide to try out for VDA?
Will - I wanted to play soccer at a high level and I wanted greater competition
VSA PR - What has your experience been like so far?
Will - I have enjoyed being on the Academy team! I feel that I have learned a lot in these few months and I believe that my game has improved.
VSA PR - How do you feel VSA prepared you for the Academy stage?
Will - I feel that the VSA coaches have helped me get to the Academy level and that my experiences at VSA have helped me to become a better player.
VSA PR - What are some of your favorite moments from this inaugural season?
Will - My favorite moments of this season include getting to play with my new teammates and going to the US Development Academy East Showcase in NC where I was able to play with some really good teams.
VSA PR - For the boys and now girls that will be trying out for VDA, what advice would you give them?
Will - I would advise anyone that wants to play at the Academy level to work hard and practice a lot because there is always room for improvement if you want to get better.
VSA PR - What would you like the players at VSA to know that are working hard and want to make that next step to VDA?
Will - I think that the players should know up front that playing on an Academy team takes dedication and you have to stick with it. It's easy to say you want to play for an Academy, but staying on an Academy team takes work.
VSA PR – Will, I want to thank you for taking the time to answer these, as well as say good luck with the rest of the Academy season. We at VSA are proud of all of you boys, you all are working so hard! Last question - what does it mean to represent VDA and the three clubs that are functioning together?
Will - I am proud to represent my club at the Academy level. I feel that while playing for VDA, I not only represent the three clubs but that I represent the coaches, the parents and all the other soccer players.
What is the Development Academy Program?
Following a comprehensive review of elite player development in the United States and around the world, U.S. Soccer created the Development Academy in 2007. The Academy Program's philosophy is based on increased training, less total games, and more meaningful games using international rules of competition.
The Academy has 96 total clubs, comprised of teams in three age groups: U-13/14, U-15/16, and U-17/18. The Academy is currently in the process of expanding its programming to include 56 new clubs at the U-12 age group and to develop a Girls' Development Academy that will begin in Fall 2017.
The Academy Program focuses on positively impacting everyday club environments to assist in maximizing youth player development across the country. The Academy values individual development of elite players over winning trophies and titles. The Academy sets the standard for elite environments for youth soccer clubs nationwide and is a part of U.S. Soccer's global leadership position in youth soccer that will impact thousands of players.