Development Academy FAQ

What is the D.C. United Academy?
The D.C. United Academy is the highest level of the D.C. United Youth Program for youth players in age groups U-13/14, U-15/16 and U-17/18. These teams participate in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy ten months out of the year in two separate halves of the season. D.C. United usually plays from September thru December and then March thru the end of June.
How will the D.C. United Academy experience differ from a typical club setting?
The Academy system founded by U.S. Soccer is the best environment for player development. D.C. United offers top caliber instruction from coaches with USSF A and UEFA B licenses as well as elite level experience in soccer. D.C. United plays against other Developmental Academy teams on a weekly basis and at high-level national and regional competitions. These games and events expose players to a vast network of collegiate, professional and national team coaches.
What are the advantages of playing for an MLS Developmental Academy club?
D.C. United is able to provide opportunities that non-MLS Developmental Academy teams are unable to offer to players. Because D.C. United is an MLS club, U-17 players have the chance to participate in the highly competitive Generations Adidas Cup that is only open to MLS Academy teams. D.C. United is also the only Academy team in the area that can sign a player to a professional contract.
What is the MLS Youth Development Initiative?
At the 2006 MLS Cup, the MLS Youth Development Initiative was launched. Each MLS Club is required to establish a youth program that will give talented players with professional aspirations the best opportunity to pursue their dreams, stay close to home, and continue their education. Players registered for at least 12 months in an MLS youth program become eligible to sign a professional contract with that team without entering the MLS Super Draft. Every player in DCU youth programs will have the best opportunity to advance to their full potential and level.
Has D.C. United produced any professional players?
Yes. The D.C. United Academy has produced a total of seven homegrown players including Bill Hamid, Collin Martin, Andy Najar, Jalen Robinson, Michael Seaton, Conor Shanoksy, and Ethan White.
How many D.C. United players have gone onto play at the collegiate level?
D.C. United has had over 80 players go on to play collegiate soccer since it’s foundation.
What are the costs for D.C. United Academy players?
Costs vary according to age division for the Academy. The U-14s pay $2,500 and the U-16 and U-18s pay $1,500. These fees cover coaches and athletic trainer fees, training and travel gear, transportation, meals and lodging costs for league, regional and national events. Full and partial scholarships are available on an as need basis for any player who applies and provides supporting documents.
Which age groups will compete in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy?
The USSDA is split into three age divisions; U-13/14, U-15/16 and U-17/18.
How many players will be selected for the Academy teams?
Each team usually has a pool of 20-25 players at any given time. Game day rosters have 18 total players on them.
How are Developmental Academy players selected?

D.C. United has a several different ways for players to be selected for the Academy program.

  • DCU has several Affiliate Club Members from across Virginia and Maryland that help scout and select talent for the D.C. United Academy program. Players who are on these affiliate teams may be recommended by their affiliate club coaches to participate in a D.C. United training session. These training sessions allow DCU to evaluate the player and possibly select them for the Academy team. This process may happen at any point during the season.
  • DCU has several scouts that actively scout players in the surrounding areas. They are out at tournaments, select events and league games to scout out potential talent. DCU also has a scouting form that players can fill out and submit so that a scout can come out and see them. For any more questions about scouting, click here.
  • Training opportunities are also available for select players. The times and duration of these training opportunities are determined by the Head Coach.
  • DCU holds open tryouts after the season ends. They typically fall at the end of June running into July. These tryouts provide players who may have been missed, just moved to the area or were unaware of D.C. United’s scouting process to be seen by DCU coaches.
When are tryouts?
Please check the D.C. United Scouting/Tryout page for current information.
How often do teams train?
During the season, the Academy teams typically train Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday with one game on either Saturday or Sunday.
How long is the season?
The season typically runs from September through July. D.C. United plays games from September to December and then trains throughout the winter months of January and February. Games begin again in March and run through June.
Where do D.C. United Academy teams train?
The location varies depending on weather and scheduling. Teams could train at the turf field that is a block north of RFK Stadium. They could also train at Spingarn High School or indoors at RFK due to inclement weather. Directions to RFK Training Complex
Who coaches the Developmental Academy teams?
D.C. United is under the direction of Academy Director Ryan Martin U-17 coach, Nate Kish coaches the U-19, John Bello coaches the U-15s, Gus Teren the U-14s, Dave Sanford the U-13s, Kacy Charlton the U-12s and Ben Applefield the U-11 coach
Who do the Academy teams play?
The D.C. United Academy teams compete in the Eastern Conference in the Atlantic Division. Please refer to the Academy Demosphere website for a complete list of USSDA teams.
Can D.C. United players play for other clubs or their high school teams?
No. Per U.S. soccer rules, participation with other clubs or high school teams is not allowed.
How often does the team travel?
U.S. Soccer Developmental Academy teams may make up to 10-12 trips per year for away games. Academy teams also travel to regional and national events like the Generation Adidas Cup, the Winter Showcase and the Developmental Academy Playoffs. Players travel by bus or airplane and are housed four players to a room for overnight trips.