We have not finalized our age groups for our 2019-20 FC Cincinnati Academy debut. We should be able to announce the inaugural teams in the coming months.
The FC Cincinnati youth teams will be part of an elite player development program and are meant for only the region’s top players. The program is meant to develop players who will go on to play soccer at the highest levels, including professionally and collegiately.
All aspects of the program will be conducted professionally and under the guidance of the FC Cincinnati technical staff in order to foster a continuous means of play and style throughout the club.
Later in the spring of 2019, we will conduct formal player identification centers for our inaugural youth teams, which will start competing in 2019-20.
The FC Cincinnati Academy will be fee-free. Players and their families are not subject to any annual fees or charges in order to play for FC Cincinnati.
As is the case with almost all of the MLS Academy programs, all expenses related to competition will be provided and paid by FC Cincinnati.
In 2019-20, we anticipated players selected to represent FC Cincinnati will typically train four (4) days a week, in addition to a limited schedule of games and tournaments selected weekends in the spring.
Training sessions will be held at the Mercy Health Training Center in Milford, Ohio, generally in the late afternoon and early evening.
As the club transitions soccer operations to the under-construction Mercy Health Training Center in Milford, Ohio, FC Cincinnati’s youth teams will be run in the same manner as our first-team sessions. As such, to promote a professional environment, all training sessions will be closed to non-club personnel.
Once FC Cincinnati formally joins the U.S. Soccer Development Academy – which is anticipated in the 2019-20 season – the youth teams are expected to play a regional schedule in the Midwest.
Families will be expected to provide transportation to all home games.
Depending on the travel distance to away games, the FCC youth teams will either travel by charter bus, or fly to the competition city via commercial airlines.
The FC Cincinnati youth teams will travel a full complement of staff to every away match. Generally, this will include multiple coaches, a certified athletic trainer and a communications staff member. The player to staff ratio is expected to range from 5:1 to 7:1, depending on the match or competition.
U.S. Soccer requires all players who are members of the teams who play in U.S. Soccer’s Development Academy to play a 10-month seasons with their club team. In most cases this means players are not able to play high school soccer. There are exceptions for scholarship students at private schools, so if players are in that situation, they should seek advice from the FCC Academy staff.
NOTE: This policy will only be applied to the FCC Academy in the 2019-20 season and later.
In addition to normal soccer on-field training sessions, players on the youth teams will benefit from a wide variety of off-field amenities as a member of the FC Cincinnati family: academic support during all road trips, college counseling and advising, nutrition guidance, medical and athletic training support, strength and conditioning instruction and facilities, sports psychology support and video analysis.
On every team road trip, the FCC youth teams will have mandatory study hall hours in a quiet location, and staff will be available to proctor tests and quizzes as needed by the players’ schools. Additionally, as players begin to evaluate college options, the Cincinnati youth staff will offer players and their families various informational panels, counseling and recommendations, as well as networking opportunities with collegiate coaching staffs.
The U.S. Soccer Development Academy has developed into the nation’s premier college recruiting platforms. As all teams competing in the U.S. Soccer DA play at the nation’s highest youth level, college coaches have the opportunity to evaluate players in elite environments and in meaningful competitions.
In addition to the natural opportunities on the field, the FCC youth teams staff will be available to provide counsel and guidance as players enter into the college recruiting process, and also make connections to collegiate programs.
FCC anticipates conducting various informational sessions for each of its different age levels to help inform and guide their collegiate choices. Examples of such sessions are expected to include an introduction to the recruiting process, maintaining success on the field and in the classroom once you’ve made a college choice and how to balance competitive soccer, academic and life away from home once at college.
The club’s playing philosophy will be maintained throughout all ages levels of the entire club. This system is characterized by a possession-based, technical style and is what you expect to see each weekend by the first team.
The first-team coaches will be regularly debriefed about the youth teams’ performance and form, including players who have the potential to be signed by the club. The first-team coaches will also periodically attend youth team training sessions to view and interact with the teams and players up close and one-on-one.
In addition to the coaching staffs working together, stand out youth performers will earn the opportunity to train with the first team during school breaks, the MLS preseason and during the summer months. As the FCC player development pyramid expands, additional opportunities for playing time at higher levels will also be available to standout players.
Additionally, first-team players will meet with youth team players throughout the season and provide the club’s youth with an opportunity to discuss life in professional soccer and their thoughts and experiences so far.
We firmly believe FC Cincinnati has an obligation to raise the standard of all soccer in our region, regardless of gender.
FC Cincinnati currently provides significant financial support to Cincinnati DA, the local girls’ entry in U.S. Soccer’s Girls Development Academy. We sponsor the program as we currently do not have any girls’ teams or a women’s professional entry.
However, in the coming years, we plan to apply for an NWSL expansion team, which would play in Cincinnati and alongside our MLS team at our soon-to-be-built West End stadium. Coupled with that, it is our goal to launch girls’ youth development programming, including USSD-eligible youth teams. A timeline for those activities has not been determined.