Academy Youth Model

Philadelphia Union and Official Youth Development Partner YSC have developed an innovative model for developing youth talent from the Home Territory of the Philadelphia Union. Our objective is to identify, develop and nurture local youth soccer talent into world-class players to someday represent the Philadelphia Union at Talen Energy Stadium.  Our program is 100 percent free of charge for participants’ providing Philadelphia’s future players of promise an opportunity to pursue their passion and develop their soccer skills without the burden of being required to "pay to play."  The Philadelphia Union Youth program is based in sport science and coaching education best practices and includes three developmental levels segmented by age: Union Futures (U7-U9), Union Juniors (U9-U13), and Union Academy (U12, U13, U14, U15, U16, U18).  At all ages, our players are asked to lead by example and embrace the ethos and culture of Philadelphia Union and YSC. Selection into the program is a true accomplishment and is the first step in a player’s path to the MLS and Talen Energy Stadium.

Club and Country to Full-time Academy: All Union programs below the age of 12 follow our "club and country" format whereby youth players remain registered and play with their local youth clubs and are invited into Union programs for supplemental training and/or competition opportunities (Steps 1 & 2 above). This "club-neutral" model enables Philadelphia Union and YSC to effectively partner with local youth clubs and share in the process of developing players.  In the Fall of 2013, Philadelphia Union provided a full-time Academy program for the U14, U16 and U18 age groups, similar to professional youth academies in Europe and South America, and compete in the US Soccer Development Academy League.  Under the guidance of Academy Director, Tommy Wilson, the Academy doubled in the Fall of 2015 to include an additional three age groups (U12, U13 and U15).  Next season, our U12 and U13 teams will compete in the newest and youngest age groups of the US Soccer Development Academy League.

Post Academy Programs: The fourth and final step of the progression is a spot on either Philadelphia Union’s First Team and/or one of their professional affiliate partners Bethlehem Steel FC (USL-PRO) or Reading United (PDL).

Philadelphia Union Home Territory: Each MLS club is designated a “Home Territory” by the League, which defines the geographic region from where players can be recruited to qualify as Home Grown Players. Philadelphia Union’s Home Territory is: 75 mile radius of Talen Energy Stadium excluding (i) the state of Maryland and (ii) a 25 mile radius of the New York Red Bulls' home stadium in Harrison, N.J.


  • Philadelphia Union and YSC have formed a partnership focused on providing elite youth players supplemental training and competition opportunities via the Union Futures (U7-U9), Union Juniors (U9-U13), and a full-time development and competition program via the Union Academy (U12, U13, U14, U15, U16, U18) programs.
  • All Union Youth Development Programs are FREE OF COST.
  • Philadelphia Union Academy and YSC staff members are among the highest credentialed soccer trainers in the United States, including three UEFA Pro licensed staff members.
  • YSC and Philadelphia Union have created an academic school called YSC Academy, which provides aspiring youth soccer players in grades 8-12 the opportunity to get a top notch education while pursuing their passion to play for the Union at Talen Energy Stadium.  To find out more information about YSC Academy, click here to visit their website.

To set up a trial for Union Academy, Union Juniors and/or Union Futures, interested players should have their club's Director of Coaching contact Philadelphia Union Academy at No parent should contact the Academy for a trial.