D.C. United have announced a joint partnership with the top youth clubs in the D.C.-Maryland-Virginia area to form the “Pathway 2 Pro” program, an initiative designed to provide top U-12 and U-14 players a clear pathway to the professional level, with support from local partnered clubs.
With the approaching opening of its training facility in exurban Loudon County, Va., and new USL affiliate Loudoun United launching in 2019, the initiative is aimed at identifying top area players at an early age and supported in their development from local recreational leagues to D.C. United partner clubs, the D.C. academy, Loudoun United and ultimately the Black-and-Red’s first-team roster.
“We would like to thank our local club partners for their collaboration in this exciting new program.” D.C. United GM Dave Kasper said in a statement. “Our goals are to identify top talent in the DMV, provide players with a better development experience than they currently have, and sign Homegrown Players to professional contracts with Loudoun United and D.C. United.”
Through the partnership, players with affiliated clubs — Loudoun Soccer, Arlington Soccer Association, Player Progression Academy, Virginia Development Academy, Pipeline Soccer Club — selected into the program will train alongside the best players in the region and participate in elite youth tournaments, like the Generation adidas Cup and the International Champions Cup Futures tournament.
Based on performance with their individual clubs, players will be invited to monthly training sessions with other high-performing players from other clubs and the D.C. United academy, for opportunites to play with the best players in the area at the highest levels of youth soccer.
The program will also serve as an opportunity for coaches in the area to collaborate with the D.C. United technical staff in order to maximize their impact on the development of participating players. Area coaches will also gain increased access to D.C. United and Loudoun United training sessions along with coaching resources to aid in youth development.