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High School & the Girls' Development Academy, Part 4

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

If you’ve been keeping up with our communication regarding the U.S. Soccer Girls’ Development Academy (GDA) then you know we’ve likened the development structure to a jigsaw puzzle – to fully appreciate the program you must look at the whole picture not just one or two of its pieces.

One of the pieces of the structure that is receiving a lot of attention is the “no outside competition rule.” Full-time players in the GDA can only play competitively within the Academy division. This excludes GDA players from participating on their high school soccer teams. This seems surprising, particular for those of us who grew up when high school sports were one of the most important activities you could participate in as a youth athlete. It may also seem counter intuitive to player development; however, when properly placed within the development structure of the GDA it makes good sense. Players can participate in other high school sports.

The high school soccer season crowds a significant number of games into a short amount of time often leading to fatigue and injury. Moreover, individual and team skill levels vary greatly, resulting in mismatched competitive play. This means that the best players are not adequately challenged. This is especially relevant for those who desire to pursue play at the highest levels of the sport.

The GDA addresses this issue by limiting competitive play to only games within the Academy division against players also identified as elite with the same training philosophy and programs. The no outside competition rule reduces the number of overall games played and ensures more time dedicated to individual player development. The primary focus is on the player – the most important piece of the puzzle – and her individual development plan that includes strength and conditioning training, video analysis, functional position training sessions, and a better training to game ratio. Ultimately, the no outside competition rule raises the performance bar and prepares elite players to compete nationally.

Sporting Omaha FC mandates the “no outside competition rule” including no high school soccer for all GDA players. We believe that it puts player development first and positions the program and players for long term success. We also believe it ensures the consistent treatment of all GDA participants.

We know that the decision not to play on your high school team is a tough choice. We also understand and appreciate this decision is up to each girl and her parents/guardians. Moreover, we want each of you to know that we respect and support whatever path you choose – no questions asked.

As always, we are available to answer your questions.

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


Tim Bennett

Sporting Omaha FC Executive Director

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