academy

Union/YSC Youth Development Affiliate (YDA) Program

The Union and YSC have formed a Youth Development Affiliation (YDA) program open to all clubs that meet certain technical criteria (i.e., coaching staff qualifications, curriculum plan design, etc.). This unique program provides selected players a direct and authentic link to the professional game. This program also allows the Union to cooperate and build relationships with clubs who share similar development philosophies and have a desire to work with the Union to grow and improve their technical development of youth players. 

In August 2013, the Union added the Cape Fear Soccer Club to the Philadelphia Union family! Cape Fear located in North Carolina became the first YDA partner outside of Pennsylvania.

To view the complete list and official club websites of all Union/YSC Sports Youth Development Affiliate (YDA) partners: Click here

Youth Developmental Affiliate (YDA) requirements

  • Must have written Curriculum Plan outlining club philosophy and coaching methodologies.
  • Club must have a clear structure regarding oversight of technical programming.
  • Must have USSF and/or equivalent certified coaches on staff including a Director of Coaching responsible for overseeing player development.
  • Club must reside within Philadelphia Union’s home territory (e.g., 75-mile radius from PPL Park, excluding Maryland and 25 mile radius around Red Bull Arena).

Note: Clubs which reside outside the home territory can be considered in exceptional circumstances provided they are not in the home territory of another MLS club.

Instructions on having your club become a Youth Development Affiliate (YDA)

1.       Please list full-time club technical staff, including roles and responsibilities

2.       Describe your club's development philosophy

3.       Describe your club's leadership structure

  • Including technical leadership

4.   Describe your club's expectations from an affiliation with the Philadelphia Union

  • Player development
  • Coach development 

YDA FAQ’s

What is a Youth Development Affiliate (YDA)?

Clubs that qualify for participation in the YDA program are officially affiliated with Philadelphia Union and its youth development partner, YSC Sports. YDA affiliates agree to comply with certain player development standards, metrics, and best practices as set forth by the Union/YSC Technical Committee. Each YDA club will be monitored and evaluated on a semi-annual and annual basis. 

Why should my club become a Youth Developmental Affiliate (YDA) of the Philadelphia Union?

The YDA program is ideal for premier level clubs interested in investing the time and resources required to follow the Union/YSC Sports youth development model. While it is open for all clubs to apply, it is not necessarily a fit for all youth clubs.   

What is the age range for the players participating in the Union Academy YDA program?

The YDA program is designed for clubs with players aged 8-18 years old.

What is the difference between a Youth Soccer Club Partner and Youth Development Affiliate (YDA)?

Youth Soccer Club Partners: Establish a deep and mutually beneficial club-to-club level relationship between the Delaware Valley’s youth soccer community and the Philadelphia Union.

The Youth Soccer Club Partnership is a comprehensive partnership with the Philadelphia Union. Youth Soccer Partners are part of the team and members of Union family. This in-depth relationship with the Philadelphia Union provides a club’s members (players, parents, coaches and volunteers) memorable, live, in-game experiences at PPL Park and other benefits including player appearances and recognition for your club on the Union website, in the Free Kick magazine, and at PPL Park.

Youth Development Affiliate (YDA): A Player Development and Coaches Education Program for premier level clubs seeking technical guidance and oversight from Union/YSC Sports.

The YDA program is focused on the technical principals and best practice methodologies of player development. It is for premiere level clubs seeking high standards of direct oversight and guidance from the Philadelphia/Union and YSC. Each YDA club will be held accountable for its player development performance and will be monitored on annual basis. 

Can my club be both YDA and Youth Club Partner?  

Absolutely, we encourage all YDA’s to step up to become a Youth Club Partner.  There is no better educational or motivational experience than seeing a professional game live at PPL Park. The Youth Club Partnership is the ideal program to connect a club’s members to the energy and passion of the professional game and the Philadelphia Union.

If my club isn’t YDA, can my players be called up to participate with the Union Academy (U14, U16, U18), YSC Union Juniors (8-12), Union Futures (6-7)?

Absolutely. Any player who possesses strong technical and tactical abilities can be called to participate in Union/YSC Sports youth academy programs regardless of whether they are registered with a club or not. Thus, it does not matter if a club is a YDA, a Youth Soccer Partner or not. What matters is the player’s ability.

If my club isn’t YDA, and my players can still be noticed and called up to the Union Academy, why should my club sign up to be a YDA?

Clubs seeking to become Youth Development Affiliates value being provided player development guidance and oversight by the Union/YSC Sports, and want to push their player development and coaching performance to even higher standards.

If we become YDA club do we have to adopt a Union/YSC curriculum or will we continue to be able to use our club’s curriculum? 

We encourage clubs to continue to use their own curriculum, and yet be open to guidance and recommendations from the Union/YSC Sports in addition to examining best case practices on both sides.

If a club does not meet the criteria to be YDA this year, can the club re-apply again in the future? 

Yes. The design of this program is to encourage growth and development to any club interested in participating. We encourage any club that does not meet the criteria in a specific year to work to strengthen their programs so they can re-apply in the future. The objective of Union/YSC is to help elevate the standard of player development for all clubs in the region because this will enhance the probability of producing top level players.

If I’m YDA, how do I get my players called up to the Union/YSC youth programs? 

If a club feels they have a player of a high caliber that would benefit from the supplemental, free training provided by Union/YSC Sports, the coach and/or the club's Director of Coaching (DOC) should contact jlevan@yscsports.com to arrange for trial. Such trial players will be evaluated during Union/YSC training sessions throughout the course of the year. If a player is deemed to be at the appropriate standard he/she will be placed in the program.

If my club isn’t an YDA, how do I get my players called up to the Union/YSC youth programs? 

If a club feels they have a player of a high caliber that would benefit from the supplemental, free training provided by Union/YSC, the coach and/or the club Director of Coaching (DOC) should contact jlevan@yscsports.com to arrange for trial. Such trial players will be evaluated during Union/YSC training sessions throughout the course of the year. If a player is deemed to be at the appropriate standard he/she will be placed in the program.