Development Academy

Emily VanGundy, Academic Beat Writer

Developmental Academy (DA) is one of the highest levels of competitive soccer in the nation. It is run under US Soccer and all the best athletes compete against each other in league games, tournaments and showcases. The DA invited girls to the program in 2016, and I am lucky to be a part of it with a club known as Colorado Rush.

The DA develops players into the best athletes they can be. It helps players get recruited by college coaches and move on to play at the next level. One of my teammates, Morgan Anderson, that is one of our top midfielders, has been a part of the DA since it was created three years ago. Talking with Anderson about her experience, she stated, “The DA helped me get recruited to play at a Division I collegiate level.” Next year, she will be going to Virginia Military Institute to continue her athletic and academic career. She said, “I would recommend it because even though you don’t get to play for your high school, you get to compete with some of the best athletes in the country and play a sport you love with your best friends.”

CO Rush DA 01/02 team

When playing for a DA team, athletes are usually not allowed to play for their high schools because the DA season goes from August to June. I have gotten the opportunity to play for my high school my freshman through junior year because I was not a part of the DA. This year, I do not get that opportunity again and although it is my senior year, I do not regret it. I would rather compete with some of the top athletes who I might compete with at the college level and play for a way bigger purpose than just play for my high school.  Although I had some of the best moments of my life with my high school teammates, I have developed as a player and as a person more than I ever have in six months with the DA, versus three years with my high school team. I have also achieved more of my personal goals with the DA, like committing to a DI school and developing my skills more which I don’t believe I could have done at a different club or level of play. With the DA, I have lots of opportunities to be coached by some of the top coaches in the state, which is helping me move on to the next level of play. Also, the relationships I am building on every trip my team takes and every tough game we go through is amazing and I know I will cherish them throughout college.

This fall season, my team has traveled to California, Texas and Florida. Next spring, we will be traveling to Nebraska, Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas, North Carolina and California. We compete with teams all over the nation, and if we do well in our league games, we have the opportunity to play in playoffs over the summer to compete for the national title.

Follow US Soccer DA on social media @ussoccer_da

This December, we are heading to Florida to play against some of the top teams in the nation to compete for a spot in playoffs next June. We will be playing teams from California, Washington, and Ohio. If we win our games, we have a better chance at making it to playoffs. Theses games will not be easy, but my team and I have prepared well and are excited to take on these new challenges.

Although I have to drive three hours round trip four times a week and miss a lot of school for our trips, playing for the DA is very worth it. It has been a dream of mine to play college soccer, and the amount of exposure I got with just one DA showcase was ridiculous. I would not have gotten a college scholarship if it were not for the DA and Rush. Not only that, I get to work with some of the best coaches and players in the nation and I have developed immensely. I also have built a relationship with every one of my teammates and I would not trade it for anything.