U.S. Soccer on Wednesday evening announced the that it would be ending the operation of the U.S. Soccer Development Academy, effective immediately.
In an open letter to administrators, coaches, players and parents, U.S. Soccer cited "the extraordinary and unanticipated circumstances around the COVID-19 pandemic" and the resulting financial strain as the impetus behind what it called "an incredibly difficult decision."
Formed in 2007, the league featured youth academies and youth clubs from various organizations, including Major League Soccer, across five age groups, providing regular competitive play for those teams. The Development Academy ran a fall-to-spring season and had previously suspended all play and canceled its Spring Cup.
Following the news of the USSDA's closure, MLS announced the launch of a new elite youth competition for MLS academy teams as well as non-MLS academy teams that previously participated in the Development Academy.
In its statement, U.S. Soccer also said that it will continue to engage all all stakeholders across the youth soccer landscape, as well as increase its efforts in coaching education and being engaged and active in talent identification and scouting across the country.