United Soccer Leagues (USL) and IMG Academy Unveil 'Next Generation' of Elite Youth Soccer

Next Generation Series to Redefine Platform for Developing the Complete Elite Player

TAMPA, Fla., June 11, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- United Soccer Leagues and IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida have joined forces to create an innovative, cutting-edge and comprehensive approach to developing the complete elite player – the Next Generation Series (NGS). NGS will kick off for U12 and U14 boys and girls in August 2012. Youth clubs that meet league criteria and embrace the philosophy of NGS will receive an invitation to participate in the league.

Technical skill and tactical development, complemented by off-the-pitch performance disciplines, are central to the NGS model. At the core of NGS are:

  • C360 Athletic Assessment
  • Technical Skill Development
  • Tactical Development
  • Physical Conditioning
  • Mental Conditioning
  • Nutrition & Wellness
  • Vision Development
  • On-Field Communication
  • Injury Prevention/Athletic Regeneration
  • Leadership and Life Skills

"The Next Generation Series is without a doubt the most exciting and most encapsulating program for developing the elite U12 and U14 soccer player," USL CEO Alec Papadakis said. "With USL's unparalleled 25 years of youth soccer experience and IMG Academy's unmatched 35 years of producing world-class athletes through its unique sports performance curriculum in its state-of-the-art training facilities, this union will create a platform to transform youth soccer players into 'complete elite players.'"

Continued Papadakis, "Our unique approach will incorporate advanced technologies and athletic assessments, renowned performance experts, top-notch competition, professional-grade facilities, and, perhaps most importantly, encourage parental and coach collaboration."

The inaugural NGS season will be divided into five phases:

  • Phase I: Initial C360 Athletic Assessment at IMG Academy, August 23-26, 2012
  • Phases II & II: Competitive Season – Home/Away Games, September 1-December 1, 2012; resumes January 1-April 1, 2013
  • Phase IV: NGS ID Training Camp at IMG Academy, January 25-29, 2013
  • Phase V: NGS Championship and Final C360 Athletic Assessment at IMG Academy, April 11-14, 2013

The initial C360 athletic assessment will provide a baseline of each player's athletic ability that enables for measured progress; the final evaluation will indicate that player's level of progression. The assessment periods bookend a two-part, six-month league competition and a special NGS ID Training Camp. The NGS ID Program is designed specifically to scout and track the top male and female players; identified players will have the opportunity to showcase their talents for U.S. National Staff coaches,

college coaches and international academy directors at the NGS ID Training Camp in January 2013. The pinnacle event in the NGS calendar is the NGS Championship to take place at IMG Academy, April 11-14, 2013.

"We couldn't be more excited about the formation of the NGS, as it represents the deepening of a relationship with USL that we began late last year with the hosting of several events, and look forward to continuing to develop in the coming months," said Scott Dean, director of IMG Academy's soccer program. "The NGS embodies the comprehensive approach to player development we take with our student-athletes at IMG Academy, as well as the importance we place on ongoing coaches' education and parent involvement early in a child's development," he continued.

Coaches' education and parental engagement, both cornerstones of NGS, will feature coaching webinars and parent education sessions to provide resources and insight about the important roles these individuals play in the development of the athletes as players and young adults.

For the 2012-13 season, NGS will focus on the South Conference containing the Southeast and Florida divisions in U12 and U14 boys and girls age groups, resulting in a total of 64 teams. Elite-level clubs from Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee will comprise the Southeast Division, with elite Florida clubs comprising the Florida Division.

This latest joint venture between the USL and IMG follows an earlier announcement that IMG will host the USL's Super-20 and Super-Y League North American Finals for the next three years. The events are two of the largest and most prestigious youth and high school events in North America. Earlier this year, IMG also hosted the USL Super-Y League Olympic Development Program National Camps for boys and girls, as well as the USL PRO Combine.

IMG Academy, home to the U.S. U17 Men's National Team Residency Program, has hosted a myriad of soccer team training camps in 2012, including clubs such as the Seattle Sounders, D.C. United, Columbus Crew, Sweden's Malmö FF, the U.S. Women's National Team preparing for the London Olympic Games and, most recently, the Antigua Men's National Team preparing for their World Cup Qualifier this month.


IMG Academy Public Relations – Kim Berard, kim.berard@imgworld.com, 941-752-2621

USL Public Relations – Jay Preble, jay.preble@uslsoccer.com, 813.963.3909

About IMG Academy

IMG Academy, a division of IMG Worldwide, the global sports, fashion and media company, is the world's largest and most advanced multi-sport training and education complex. For 35 years, IMG Academy has helped countless youth, adult, collegiate and professional athletes reach their full potential in and out of sport, by providing world-class coaching, tailored programs and professional facilities within an energetic environment across a 450-acre campus.

Today the Bradenton, Fla.-based campus attracts 30,000 athletes from nearly 100 countries annually. IMG Academy offers youth camp and academy programs in baseball, basketball, football, golf, lacrosse, soccer and tennis, in addition to training opportunities for professional athletes, teams and leagues. IMG also runs a series of events on its campus and throughout the country on an annual basis.

For more information about IMG camps, programs and events, please visit www.imgacademies.com.

About United Soccer Leagues

USL has become the largest organization of elite-level soccer leagues in North America by building on the vision, commitment, and passion of players, fans and investors. Now in its third decade of operation, USL continues to be a driving force in the growth of soccer in the United States, Canada and Caribbean. USL provides a clearly defined path for the progression of male and female soccer players beginning at the youth level (Super Y-League/Super-20 League), continuing through the amateur level (PDL/W-League) and up to the professional level, both outdoor and indoor (USL PRO/MISL). A platform for countless players to reach for their dreams each year, USL is devoted to developing the sport at the grassroots level in every community across the region.

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