When Beachside academy director Paul Melitsanopoulos talks about the state of the Development Academy, he speaks about the league with acclaim.
"From my perspective, there is nothing in the country that can resemble the DA from a soccer standpoint, from a competitive standpoint, from a preparation standpoint," Melitsanopoulos said. "It is the best environment for like-minded players and families to compete in every weekend. You have to be at your best every single day."
Those laudatory statements shower praise upon the U.S. Soccer initiative which is now in its 11th year on the boys’ side and launched on the girls’ side in 2017-18. The entire setup is designed to increase training standards, provide players with more meaningful games, and raise the overall level of American players.
But as U.S. Soccer sits at a crossroads — the federation is poised to elected a new president at its Annual General Meeting on Feb. 10 in Orlando, Fla., to replace three-term president Sunil Gulati (Cheshire, Conn.) — what role does the DA play?