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Benefits of the Girls Development Academy, Part 3

Dear Sporting Omaha FC Players, Parents, Volunteers, Family and Friends,

“The fear of loss is greater than the desire for gain.” – Zig Ziglar

Introducing a new program into an existing club structure isn’t easy. By accepting membership in the Girls Development Academy (GDA), we understood that it would mean change and change is hard, particularly when the focus is on what may be lost instead of what will be gained. Rest assured there is much to be gained.

The mission of the GDA is “to provide Education, Resources, and Support to impact the everyday club environments to Develop World-Class Soccer Players.” This is reinforced by the GDA’s key principles:

  • More training: GDA players will have substantially more hours on the training field focused on refining technique and tactical understanding. With a minimum of four training sessions per week, there is significant opportunity to work on technique and receive instruction from coaches and U.S. Soccer Technical Advisors as part of a continuous seasonal plan for the players' development.

  • Fewer games: Each GDA team plays approximately 30 – 35 league games, including 6- 9 games played at Showcases. The game-to-training ratio ensures players are getting adequate rest, optimizing the everyday environment to maximize a player’s development.

  • More meaningful competition: All GDA teams are placed into competitive conferences for regular season play with FIFA standards. No competition outside of the Academy is permitted.

  • International rules and standards: The GDA follows international rules of competition developed by U.S. Soccer and FIFA that enhance player development.

  • Better coaching and accountability: All GDA coaches require a minimum “B” license with the all GDA Directors require an “A” license to ensure quality instruction for players. Each Academy club receives two formal reviews that provide feedback in seven Key Performance Categories each year from U.S. Soccer Technical Staff.

In the GDA development structure participants gain a consistent everyday training environment, integrated oversight from GDA club coaches and U.S. Soccer Technical Advisors in their local environment, the opportunity to “play-up” within the club structure, and range of exposure for college and national team opportunities through both league play and at events.

There are two ways to participate in the GDA: full-time player or development player (DP). A full-time player is a fully committed player who is only playing within the GDA. Full-time players have the opportunity to play-up based on physical development, accelerated learning, and the challenging game environment. A DP is a high-potential player on a non-GDA team within Sporting Omaha FC who is given consistent opportunities to train with the GDA player pool. DPs can play a maximum of six GDA games while also competing on their non-GDA team. Additionally, DPs have a customized Individual Development Plan created by the club and accepted by U.S. Soccer to project and maximize player growth.

The projected GDA rosters by age group are:

  • U18/19: 18 full-time players (FTP)

  • U17/19: 18 FTP

  • U16: 18 FTP

  • U15: 18 FTP

  • U14: 16 – 18 FTP

  • U13: 16 – 18 FTP

Anyone with the talent, capacity, commitment and desire to play in US Soccer Youth National Teams, NCAA (college), National Women’s Soccer League, and US National Team should try-out for the GDA. Not everyone will secure a spot, and that’s okay because full-time GDA players can only play within the GDA program. This provides opportunities for all club members to “play up” or advance to their desired level of athleticism and competitive play. In other words, all ships rise!

Information about the GDA ID session registration and meeting is posted on the Sporting Omaha FC website ( There will be an informational Open House about the SOFC Girls' Development Academy on Sunday, April 22 at 5:00 pm at the Marriott Regency, 10220 Regency Circle, Omaha, Nebraska 68114.

Thank you for your continued support and interest in the DA.


Tim Bennett

Sporting Omaha FC Executive Director

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