FRISCO, Texas (April 29, 2022) - This August, the USYS National League will celebrate the start of its 15th season by adding a new elite level tier, E-64. This tier, with a unique promotion/relegation system, will help position the USYS National League as one of the top competitive environments in the country. It fulfills USYS strategic priorities to ensure that every team “earns its place,” while offering such a wide range of competitive platforms so “every team can have a home.”
This spring, USYS and its National League staff have met with top clubs around the country to develop the roster for the 2022-23 season. Many clubs were interested, some did not have the width and depth of player talent, and some could not join due to other contractual commitments. In each situation, USYS followed a precise agenda to ensure that when the first game plays this fall, everyone will be proud of the on-field product.
Unfortunately, there are times that a club is identified, signed and then subsequently removed from the roster. These are very difficult decisions but done with many staff and outside advisors to ensure that there is a fair process given the impact this has on the club’s players.
With any new top tiered elite league in today’s fractured youth soccer ecosystem, every change and every initiative can be met with criticism, cynicism and skepticism. “The point that drives angst to every youth soccer entity around the world is with adults,” says USYS CEO Skip Gilbert. “Adults often get in the way of allowing the kids a great opportunity to just showcase their talents, express their passion for the game and their commitment to their teammates to succeed. At the end of the day, we just want what’s best for the players. We’ve done that for 48 years and in 2022, USYS will support over 2.4 million players across every state.”
Recently, USYS awarded Match Fit Academy, from New Jersey, with a position in E-64 and then rescinded the offer. “Quite frankly, we just got nutmegged,” explained Gilbert. “In this instance, we reacted to hearsay and accusations from adults without any collaborative supporting facts and the integrity of our process failed. We do our best to not make mistakes; yet when we do, we immediately own them and develop the remedy. It’s unfortunate that Match Fit Academy shouldered the brunt of this issue despite no wrongdoing on their end. Match Fit Academy meets all competitive standards and embodies our mission, vision, and core values. I’m sorry we did not give Match Fit the appropriate protective process and our team acted quickly and appropriately to remedy this situation. After rectifying our mistake, we welcome Match Fit Academy back into E-64 and look forward to watching their teams play this fall and for years to come.”
“When we learned about the Elite 64 program, and the platform US Youth Soccer was creating for the youth soccer landscape, it was an easy decision for us to apply,” said Ryan Tetro, Technical Director, Match Fit Academy. “With the decorated history of the Match Fit Academy program and our focus on player development, combined with USYS and National League’s focus on ’the player’ through a supportive infrastructure and environment, we feel that this is an incredible partnership and opportunity for us to be able to provide to our female athletes. We are excited for, appreciate, and accept the opportunity to be a part of the Girls Elite 64.”
For more information on US Youth Soccer, visit https://www.usyouthsoccer.org.
About the United States Youth Soccer Association (US Youth Soccer)
US Youth Soccer, the largest youth sport organization in the country, is on a mission to provide world-class support, resources and leadership, helping every member fulfill their goals on and off the field of play. US Youth Soccer registers nearly 3 million players annually. Through its programming, resources and leadership, US Youth Soccer is advancing the game for its 54 Member State Associations, 10,000 clubs and leagues and nearly 1 million administrators, coaches and volunteers. US Youth Soccer connects families and communities to the power of sports and its shared love of soccer. US Youth Soccer provides a path for every player, offering programs that provide a fun, safe and healthy environment for players at every level of the game.