Academy FAQ

 Is there any cost associated with participating in the San Jose Earthquakes Academy?

The San Jose Earthquakes fund the costs for players to participate in age groups U-18. U-16 & U-14. This covers travel, training, fields, gear, shoes and overall participation costs. Players may have to cover some food costs in trips though this is minimal.

NOTE: For age groups U-13 & U-12, cost for the season will be $1,800 per player, which covers gear, travel, training & all other costs. The Earthquakes will soon be implementing a financial aid application process for those who cannot afford the cost.

 Does participation in the Academy prevent NCAA eligibility for players?

No. Players who participate in the San Jose Earthquakes Academy are eligible to go to college to play after their time in the San Jose Earthquakes Academy.

 Will the San Jose Earthquakes Academy staff help with my college recruiting and selection?

Yes. The Academy staff has a myriad of college coach contacts throughout the United States. Furthermore, the teams will participate in various college showcase events where 300+ colleges attend these events. The staff has been involved in the US Soccer Development academy for several years now and staff members have forged great relationships with the college coaches. The San Jose Earthquakes Academy will also provide a year-by-year plan for all players to follow to ensure the highest level of success academically giving each player the best opportunity to make it to the collegiate level. Players are ultimately responsible for completing their schoolwork and for continuing to improve in the game. The Academy staff will provide the framework and structure to help with this success. For those players unable to manage both athletics and academics, it is the advice to players that they should focus on academics as continuing education is the number one priority for the players participating in the Academy. The US Soccer Development Academy is now the largest recruiting pool for college coaches across the country. The following excerpt from an article in March 2009 bolsters this.

More Than 300 U.S. Soccer Development Academy Athletes Headed to College Teams After High School Graduation.

While U.S. Soccer's Development Academy continues to grow as a platform for player development, it has also experienced unprecedented growth as a platform for college recruitment. More than 300 members of the Academy Class of 2009 have been identified by top college programs at every level and have indicated their intentions to play for a college team.

 Can players in the Academy play with the San Jose Earthquakes first team?

Yes. Players are able to participate with the first team in training and games if selected to do so. Participation with the first team does not prevent NCAA eligibility as long as Academy players are not paid to play. Please inquire about a letter from the NCAA that verifies this information. Players in the academy will also have opportunities to participate in the MLS reserve league when it returns for the 2011 season.

 Does participating in the San Jose Earthquakes Academy give all rights of a player to the San Jose Earthquakes?

No. Players participating in the academy do not lose their rights as a player. The only rights that the San Jose Earthquakes retain are the right to take a player out of college that was a previous academy player without using a draft pick in the MLS draft. The only way a Major League soccer team can own the rights to an academy player is to sign that player to a professional contract, something that does not exist for players simply playing in the academy program.

 Can a San Jose Earthquakes Academy player sign a contract with the San Jose Earthquakes first team?

Yes. If a player is of the level to play for the first team, the player has the option to be signed as one of two Academy players to the first team roster. Examples of this in Major League soccer at this time are Tommy Thompson for the Quakes. It is only at the point that the player has signed the contract that the player is a part of the San Jose Earthquakes first team contracted players.

 What is a US Development Academy?

The Development Academy is a partnership between U.S. Soccer and the top youth clubs around the country to provide the best youth players in the U.S. with an every day environment designed to produce the next generation of National Team players. The Academy's programming philosophy is based on increased training, less total games and more competitive games.

The Academy also connects National Team coaches directly with the Academy clubs to develop and identify players and coaches for future Youth National Teams. Each Academy team is evaluated by a member of the Men's Scouting Network at least 10 times each year and each Academy club receives two formal evaluations in over 100 categories each year from U.S. Soccer Technical Staff.

The Development Academy is also focused on identifying and developing the next generation of elite referees. U.S. Soccer assigns up-and-coming officials to participate in Academy games at the local level and at national events.

 What age groups compete in the Development Academy?

The program currently utilizes three (3) mixed age groups for competition: U-12, U-13, U-14, U-15/16 and U-17/18 age groups. Clubs competing in the U-15/16 and U-17/18 age groups must field teams at both age levels. This coming Fall 2017, Quakes Academy will be fielding teams in the following six age groups: U-12, U-13, U-14, U-15, U-16/17 and U-18/19 age groups 

 Can Academy clubs have younger players complete in older age groups?

Academy teams are encouraged to place players at their appropriate ability level. For example, the U-17/18 team should include a balanced mixture of 17-year-olds, 16-year-olds and a few exceptional 15-year-olds.

 How does participating in the Academy affect players being seen by elite coaches?

Academy competitions provide ideal opportunities for coaches to scout players in their natural environment. Over half of all Academy matches are observed by a member of the National Team scouting network. In a move designed to improve the development environment for players throughout the country, the U.S. Soccer Federation has taken the initiative in formalizing a nationwide development academy that began in the Fall of 2007. The U.S. Soccer Development Academy has admitted 63 elite youth soccer clubs from around the country to join the program.

 I am a motivated and interested player. How can I try out or be identified for the Quakes Academy opportunity?

If you are a motivated player, you can contact Quakes Academy Director or Player Development Paul Holocher at pholocher@sjearthquakes.com.

For more information please visit the FAQ on the US Soccer Development Academy website.

Photo courtesy of Lyndsay Radnedge, Center Line Soccer