Starting in the 2020-21 season, the FC Cincinnati Academy will field three teams in different age groups:
- Under-15 (2006)
- Under-17 (2004-05)
- Under-19 (2002-03)
The FC Cincinnati Academy teams will be part of an elite player development program and are intended for the region’s top players. The program is meant to develop players who will go on to play soccer at the highest levels, including college soccer, for youth national teams and with professional organizations.
All aspects of the program are 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.
Players are identified for potential inclusion in the program through numerous pathways, including scouting, recommendations and our Discovery Program. Once identified as a player with potential to play for the FC Cincinnati Academy, the player will be notified either through through his club, or directly, and extended an invitation to train with the Academy. For selected players, offers to join the Academy will follow.
Traditional tryouts will not be held for the 2020-21 season. Scouting inquiries should be directed to email@example.com.
The FC Cincinnati Academy is 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 are provided for, and paid by, FC Cincinnati.
In 2019-20, the FC Cincinnati Academy typically trains a minimum of four (4) days a week. Additionally, players compete in both U.S. Soccer Development Academy, Generation adidas (MLS only) competitions and select international compeitions.
Training sessions are held at the Mercy Health Training Center in Milford, Ohio, and generally take place in the late afternoon and early evening.
FC Cincinnati’s Academy teams are run in the same manner as our first team. As such, to promote a professional environment, all training sessions are closed to non-club personnel, including parents.
FC Cincinnati Academy teams play a competitive schedule in U.S. Soccer Development Academy. The majority of the schedule is made up of regional play in the Midwest. There are also select DA and MLS-only academy events in other regions of the country. The Academy is also planning to participate in select international competitions in future years.
Depending on the travel distance to away games, the FCC youth teams either travel by charter bus or fly to the city of competition via commercial airlines.
Families will be expected to provide transportation to all home games at Mercy Health Training Center.
The FC Cincinnati Academy teams travel a full complement of staff to every away match. Generally, this will include multiple coaches, a certified athletic trainer, an equipment manager. Other club staff may also be part of the travel party, depending on the event. The player-to-staff ratio ranges from 5:1 to 7:1, depending on the match or competition.
U.S. Soccer requires all players who are members of U.S. Soccer Development Academy teams to play the 10-month season 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.
In addition to normal on-field training sessions, players on the Academy teams 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 Academy teams have mandatory study hall hours in a quiet location, and staff is available to proctor tests and quizzes as needed by the players’ schools. Additionally, as players begin to evaluate college options, FC Cincinnati Academy staff 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 platform. 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 Academy staff provide counsel and guidance as players enter the college recruiting process, and also make connections to collegiate programs.
FCC conducts various informational sessions for each of its different age levels to help inform and guide their collegiate choices. Examples of these sessions 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 is maintained throughout all ages levels of the entire club, from the Academy up through the first team. 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 are regularly debriefed about the Academy teams’ performance and form, including players who have the potential to be signed by the club. The club’s technical staff – including general manager Gerard Nijkamp, director of scouting and player personnel Hunter Freeman, members of the club’s scouting staff and the first-team coaches – periodically attend Academy training sessions to view up close and interact with the players one-on-one.
In addition to the coaching staffs working together, stand out Academy 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 meet with Academy team players throughout the season and provide the club’s youth 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. We support the advancement of youth training, coaching and refereeing throughout the 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, the club hopes to launch a professional women’s team, which would play in Cincinnati and alongside our MLS team at the future West End Stadium. Coupled with the launch of the women’s professional team, it would be the club’s goal to introduce girls’ youth development programming. A timeline for those activities has not been determined at this time.