U.S. Soccer announced on Thursday the inaugural class of the Girls Development Academy, planned as a counterpart to the existent Boys Development Academy program and a presumable competitor to the girls ECNL program.
Of note on the local level, four teams are among the 25 to be the first to have their applications approved, including Los Angeles Football Club. The expansion MLS side, which have set up a boys U-12 academy team this year, have dropped multiple hints in recent months that they will be getting involved in girls soccer, and this news is confirmation of that plan.
As part of the announcement, LAFC was announced as being LAFC-Slammers, a presumable partnership with Slammers FC of Newport Beach, which has produced U.S. internationals and World Cup winners Christen Press and Whitney Engen, among others.
LAFC released U.S. Soccer's release on their website, so there's no team-specific information about the partnership at this stage.
The Girls Development Academy will begin play in the fall of 2017, presumably on the same fall-to-summer season schedule as the boys program. Seasons will last 10 months, and like the USSDA, Development Academy players will not be permitted to play high school soccer while part of the GDA.
Two other MLS teams with NWSL teams, Orlando and Portland, are among six NWSL teams to be part of the inaugural class, while FC Dallas, which does not field a professional women's team but has had a girls academy program, is in the GDA. The release does note that other teams will likely be welcomed into the fold prior to the first season kicking off.
Meanwhile, the other three Southern California teams involved are Beach SC, San Diego Surf and So Cal Blues.
We'll have more information on this story as we receive it.
What do you think? Leave a comment below!