The Girls Academy (GA) and Major League Soccer have announced a new strategic relationship to collaborate on youth soccer development with MLS VP and technical director Fred Lipka joining the Girl Academy's technical advisory committee.
The GA is the only national all-girls youth soccer platform in the USA with seven conferences, 69 clubs, and over 7,500 players across the nation.
The announcement comes just weeks after the launch of MLS NEXT, a new elite youth development platform aimed to set the standard for world-class soccer development in the USA.
Lipka will be joined on the Girls Academy's committee by three other individuals associated with MLS NEXT that will be determined in the near future: one MLS academy director, the youth director of one of MLS NEXT’s elite member clubs and another MLS NEXT-focused staff member.
“MLS is committed to supporting girls soccer and the Girls Academy through a mutual sharing of our expertise and vision. Girls soccer is a crucial piece of growing the game in North America and something MLS is eager to support,” Lipka said in a statement.
“We believe in this project which is player-centric, standards-driven and where the coaches and educators are the pillars to create the right teaching and learning environment. We also share common values with the GA leadership group and its new commissioner Lesle Gallimore, and we’re excited at the prospect of creating positive synergies between boys and girls youth soccer in the U.S.”
According to a press release from the GA, the two organizations will be collaborating on player development, concentrating on the following areas:
- Establishing academy standards throughout coaching, individual player development and staffing;
- Competition including opportunities at showcase events;
- Talent identification in partnership with USYS;
- Enhanced coaching education opportunities.
The GA also announced a partnership with US Youth Soccer, giving USYS its first-ever top-level national girls’ club platform. USYS will serve as the GA's home for league sanctioning and player registration with the GA operating autonomously as an affiliate member at the top of the USYS youth development pyramid.
“The strategic relationship with Major League Soccer and our partnership with USYS is one that has been built on hours upon hours of discussions as they relate to commonality of purpose and vision for the betterment of girls elite soccer in the United States,” GA commissioner Lesle Gallimore said in a statement. “Our player-centric discussions as they relate to technical standards, education, and coach development have been inspiring. The Girls Academy, in very short order, has shown the power of passion and purpose. It became apparent throughout that we are valued both by the MLS and USYS for our knowledge, integrity, and vision for what we can do collectively to advance the game for girls and women in the United States.”