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Kickers Unveil Cost-Free Academy

Published: February 20, 2012

The Richmond Kickers are pleased to announce their U.S. Soccer Development Academy will be a cost-free program for the 2012-13 season.  The historic milestone in Virginia youth soccer development is reached through the support of partnerships with The Computer Solution Company, Proseal America, Inc, and multiple donors, allowing dedicated and talented players to reach the highest level of youth soccer, playing, training and traveling free of charge. 

U.S. Soccer Technical Advisor, Chris Brewer, will be hosting a Town Hall meeting on Saturday, February 25 at 5 p.m. at the Richmond Kickers office, located at 2001 Maywill Street, Suite 203 Richmond, VA.  The informational meeting is open to anyone who wishes to learn more about this exciting initiative as well as U.S. Soccer Federation’s plans to move to a 10-month season beginning Fall 2012.

"I wish to thank everyone who had the vision, passion and commitment to make this historic moment in youth player development a reality,” commented Leigh Cowlishaw, Richmond Kickers Director of Soccer.  “It is our hope that this significant commitment to youth soccer development will ignite community interest in establishing one neutral Academy program for Central Virginia that all clubs, players and parents can unite behind to share resources to best serve the most talented and dedicated players in the region.”
 
The Richmond Kickers U16 and U18 Academy players will not be required to pay traditional player fees, and all hotel, flight and ground transportation expenses associated with league travel will be covered by the club.  Valued at nearly $20,000 for a four-year player, the Kickers cost-free Academy eliminates the most significant barrier for talented soccer players to compete in U.S. Soccer’s world-class program.  Unprecedented in the state of Virginia, the Kickers join 17 other Academy clubs who offer fully funded programs, including the majority of professional clubs in Major League Soccer.

“A fully funded Academy is a significant contribution to our community and consistent with our club’s vision to be the model for American soccer, a youth to pros development system that has been emulated by clubs throughout the country,” added Rob Ukrop, Richmond Kickers President, Board of Directors.  “We are excited to initiate the process with the boys program and look forward to one day developing a similar philosophy for our national caliber girls program.”
 
The Kickers Academy teams will be led by USSF “A” Licensed coaches Leigh Cowlishaw and Ihor Dotsenko, and Goalkeeper Coach, Ronnie Pascale, who bring a combined 50 years of professional playing and coaching experience to the club staff.  Competing in the Atlantic Division, the Kickers will play league matches against many of the top teams in the nation including D.C. United, CASL, Baltimore Bays, North Carolina Fusion as well as two national showcase events annually.

U.S. Soccer recently announced a 10-month season for Academy teams, allowing players to focus on training together three or four times per week and play meaningful games on the weekend nearly year-round.  Fewer games and an extended season will allow the addition of a substantial number of extra training sessions, which are the primary vehicle for player development.

Tryouts
Players interested in joining the Richmond Kickers Academy should send the following information: player’s name, date of birth and a detailed playing history including references, to Leigh Cowlishaw, Director of Soccer at lcowlishaw@richmondkickers.com.  Guaranteed Academy roster spots for the 2012-13 squads will be awarded to select players on an ongoing basis.  Additionally, six Discovery Player roster spots are available to players who wish to join the Kickers Academy for the current season.
 
About the U.S. Soccer Development Academy
U.S. Soccer created the Development Academy in 2007 to improve the everyday environment for the elite youth player. 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 everyday environment designed to produce the next generation of National Team players.

About The Computer Solution Company
The Computer Solution Company (TCSC) has been one of the Mid-Atlantic’s leading technology solution providers for over three decades.  TCSC provides enterprise application design and development, full-service SharePoint implementations and business intelligence solutions.  The company’s core values of passion, technical excellence, customer focus and lifelong learning closely parallel those of the Richmond Kickers.  As an organization that invests heavily in maintaining a position of leadership, TCSC is excited to partner with the Kickers organization as it continues to invest in the lives of players throughout the Richmond area. 

About Proseal America, Inc.
Just like soccer, Proseal was originally formed in the North West of England. Since our formation we have not only become the leading manufacturer of food packaging machinery and tooling in the UK, but are now recognized as a major force internationally, having extended its operations into a number of sites overseas including our newest manufacturing plant right here in Richmond, Virginia.

Our aim is to be an innovative and pioneering organization within the fast paced food industry, and to take pride, not only in producing a range of high quality, efficient, cost effective food packaging machines, but also in providing a service that surpasses our customers’ expectations.  Our reputation is founded on excellent customer service and the ability to design and produce consistently reliable machines.

With many years’ experience in the tray sealing industry, we have a deep understanding of the demanding production requirements to which machinery in this sector is subjected. Combined with the high level of after sales service we provide, our business continues to grow from strength to strength.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Richmond Kickers Academy?
The Richmond Kickers Academy is designed to identify and develop the top players in the Central Virginia area. The Kickers goal is to have every player reach his full potential both on and off the field.

What is the cost of the Richmond Kickers Academy?
The Academy is a cost-free program. Each player is fully funded by the Richmond Kickers. This includes:
• All player fees
• Travel (air fares, buses, vans, etc)
• Accommodation (hotel rooms for away trips)
• Uniforms (adidas player package)

How is the program fully funded?
The program is entirely self-sufficient thanks to support from sponsorship revenue and multiple donors. 

How are the Richmond Kickers Academy Teams different from other local programs?
The Richmond Kickers has the only professional team in Virginia, which has been in existence for 20 years. The Kickers have a strong reputation for excellence progressing 23 players to Major League Soccer and we are respected nationally as one of the country’s best clubs.

Expectations for our Academy players are very high and they are treated like young professionals.  The move to a ten month season also allows select players to train and play scrimmage matches with the professional team from February through August. Additionally Academy players have the opportunity to observe the Richmond Kickers first team’s training, matches and coaching sessions.

What age groups does the Academy have for the 2012-13 Season?
• U16s (1999/1998/1997/1996)
• U18s (1996/1995/1994)

How are players selected for the Richmond Kickers Academy?
There are a number of ways that top players can become part of the Richmond Kickers Academy:
• Assessment in their own playing environments (e.g. club, school, state or regional teams)
• Recommendation from personnel within the professional and collegiate ranks
• Assessment in Academy training environment after requesting to join Academy

What competitions do the team plays in?
The U16s and U18s play in the US Soccer Development Academy League.

Can players play for other Youth Soccer Clubs and/or High School teams?
After receiving overwhelming support from the Development Academy membership, the Academy is moving to a schedule beginning in the fall of 2012 that runs from September through June (or July based on postseason play). This creates a format that is similar to those followed by the elite soccer playing nations around the world as the Development Academy and U.S. Soccer continue their goal of closing the performance gap with the top soccer nations. Academy members will not be able to play for any additional soccer teams.

 
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