With the announcement that the Development Academy league will switch to a 10-month schedule, academy players have a difficult decision to make. It’s a subject I’ll be exploring for an upcoming radio segment in the coming weeks.
For now though, you can listen to this promo!
The Revs training sessions this past Wednesday and Thursday were marked by a special guest. New England’s all-time leading scorer, Taylor Twellman could be found chatting amongst coaches and staff, shagging balls and—most of the time—simply observing the training session from the periphery, his gaze fixed intently on the boys in blue.
For much of his eight years as a striker with the Revolution, Twellman was the boy in blue.
Twellman during his playing days. Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images Sport
With his shock of blond hair, all-American looks and nose for goal, he was very much the face of the club; the Revolution’s Tom Brady for my soccer-illiterate friends out there. If a club record includes the word “goals,” there’s a good chance you’ll find Twellman’s name beside it.
As he crouched along the sidelines, we both watched as the U18s ran through some drills. Players received the ball with their backs to goal, about 20 yards away. In one quick motion, the boys would take a leading touch towards goal, turn, then crack a shot — frequently destined for the back of the net and always hit with an uncanny amount of pace and swerve for footballers their age.
On a field comprised of talented youngsters, one in particular seemed to stand out: to me, to Twellman and to the coaches too.
Machado seems to have caught the eye of Twellman
Where does elite youth soccer in the U.S. stand at the moment? Where are some of the hubs of youth development? Well, as a way to partly answer those questions, I’ve put together this interactive map of all 78 Development Academy clubs. Go ahead, zoom in, zoom out. Click on the pins and find out more about some of these clubs.
- Western Conference:
- Northwest Division: Green pins
- SoCal Division: Yellow pins
- Central Conference:
- Frontier Division: Purple pins
- Great Lakes Division: Pink pinks
- Texas Division: Red pushpins
- South Conference:
- Southeast Division: Green pushpins
- Atlantic Division: Yellow pushpins
- East Conference:
- Mid-Atlantic Division: Sky Blue pins
- Liberty Division: Red pins
- Northeast Division: Blue pins
Teams affiliated with MLS or other professional American soccer clubs contain a black dot in their pin.
There’s been some big news in the past week (heck in the past half-hour!) concerning the New England Revolution and the Development Academy as a whole. Without much ado, lets just get to them headlines! Enjoy!
Revs U17s headed to South Africa – The freshest news coming out of the Revolution camp is that the a U17 team has been invited to play in the Future Champions Gauteng Tournament, featuring clubs from South America, the Middle East, Africa, as well as Dutch giants (not literally) PSV Eindhoven. Exciting stuff.
Zambia's K-Stars and PSV Eindhoven in action at last years tournament, from kickoff.com
Development Academy moves to 10-month season – Starting next fall, all development academy teams will play a 10-month season — expanded from seven months — similar to elite youth leagues around the world. See a video about this change here. Read what USSF bigwigs and club officials are saying about the move here. Got questions about the shift? Check the FAQ here.
Ever wanted to see a visual representation of where Revolution academy players come from? Of course you have! Well look no further. Here’s a GoogleMap containing all U16 and U18 players, where they’re from, their position and who they played for previously. U18s are in red and U16s in blue. Any other information you think the pins could provide? Locations are obviously approximate. I don’t know their exact addresses and that would just be creepy if I did.
Thursday a couple weeks ago was a dreary night in Foxboro. As the sun came down, the temperature made its slow and steady descent below freezing. Rain fell in a continuous mist with sporadic periods of showers interspersed. To put it simply, if you had to brave the elements it was an evening to be thankful for Gore-Tex and a down jacket — two essentials I armed myself with in expectation of standing outside for a couple hours observing my first New England Revolution Youth Academy training session.
However, much to my delight, the teams —U16 and U18 — would be practicing in the Dana Farber Field House, an 80,000 square foot mega-tent that holds a full size NFL football field inside, right in the shadow of Gillette Stadium.
I guess sometimes it pays off to share the same owner as the mighty Pats (well not so mighty after Sunday’s Super Bowl).
As I entered through a side door, the session was already underway. The boys were going through a number of passing drills, four to a group, one player on each end and two in the middle. In a matter of seconds, a quick succession of passes had seen the ball zip from one footballer to the next.
Four players, four touches, one end to the other and not a wasted movement in any of it. Repeat, repeat and repeat again.
The biggest news connected to the Revs Youth Academy this week concerns some of its players moving on to the college ranks and whispers of a Revolution stadium in Revere.
Given the wildly successful attendance numbers of MLS’ newest expansion clubs and the fact that they’re all located in or close to urban areas, it’s safe to say this is a platform other teams should try to follow.
Could this be the Revs atmosphere with a new stadium? Sans dogs of course.
Enjoy the news!
Youth players make college commitments – Ten Revs academy products will ply their trade in colleges throughout the eastern U.S.
Revs stadium in Revere? – Extremely tentative talks of a possible New England Revolution stadium to be built on the grounds of Wonderland Greyhound Park, a short walk from the blue line. Don’t get too excited, but…. well maybe get excited. This would be fantastic.