FRISCO, Texas (May 4, 2021) — US Youth Soccer is excited to announce the formation of the USYS Sunshine Conference Girls Academy Division — the latest Club vs. Club Division within the USYS National League Conferences.
The Sunshine Conference Girls Academy Division will feature competition for teams in the 13U through 19U age groups and have many of the same standards as the conference’s existing Boys Academy Division.
The Girls Academy Division has secured commitments from nine clubs, including: Chargers SC, Florida Rush, IdeaSport Soccer Academy, IMG Academy, Jacksonville FC, Miami Rush, South Florida Football Academy, FC Tampa Rangers and West Florida Flames SC.
“We are excited to introduce the Sunshine Conference Girls Academy Division and provide a platform for some of the top players in Florida to challenge themselves on a regular basis to further their development,” said Chris Webb, Director of Operations & Event Management for USYS. “As with our Club vs. Club Divisions in other National League Conferences, it’s exciting to offer a club-based league in the Sunshine Conference that presents the teams and players with pathways to other high-level USYS programs.”
The first-place team in each age group of the Girls Academy Division will advance to that season’s USYS Southern Regional Championships. Meanwhile, the top two finishers in the 13U-18U age groups will qualify to compete in the next season of National League P.R.O. Girls Academy Division teams will also have access to compete in the National League Showcase Series.
Gameplay for the Girls Academy Division will begin in the Fall 2021 season. Play dates will enable players to participate in high school soccer and other USYS programs, including USYS ODP and the Florida Youth Soccer Association State Cup.
Clubs who are interested in participating in the Sunshine Conference Girls Academy Division can visit this webpage to apply.
“FYSA is tremendously excited to work with USYS in offering this new and unique pathway to Regionals and National League P.R.O.,” Executive Director FYSA Joel Dragan said. “These clubs within the Sunshine Conference Girls Academy Division will undoubtedly help FYSA further our mission to Lead, Innovate, and Inspire a Lifelong Passion for Soccer.”
The Sunshine Conference is one of 13 Conferences within the USYS National League and serves teams primarily from Florida. Top tier divisions of each conference provide teams with an opportunity to earn their place in National League P.R.O., which provides teams in the 14U-19U Boys and Girls age groups with the chance to play some of the top competition in the country while competing for berths to the USYS National Championships. For each gender, 12 teams per age group will advance to the National Championships from National League P.R.O.
Click here for more information on the USYS National League, including the 13 Conferences, National League P.R.O. and the National League Showcase Series.
What the clubs are saying…
“Chargers SC is excited and honored to be a founding member of the new USYS Sunshine Conference Girls Academy Division. This addition to our programming will provide another pathway and further opportunities for our girls and their development. As a founding member of the Sunshine Conference Boys Academy Division, we have found that a league led by like-minded directors in collaboration with USYS gives us an opportunity to set standards and practices that we feel are best for our player development. We are encouraged with the cooperation shown by the founding member clubs and look forward to competing against them on the field.”
- Peter Mannino – Director of Coaching, Chargers SC
“We’re honored to be a founding member of the new Sunshine Conference Girls Academy Division. Having a pathway for our girls teams to advance to the USYS National Championships and National League P.R.O. is a great opportunity for our teams. Our experience with league and participating clubs on the boys’ side this past year has been outstanding, so we’re very excited that USYS is adding the girls program for the 2021-22 season.”
- Richie Gray – Executive Director, Florida Rush
“We are excited to work with like-minded clubs to develop the girls’ game and to provide the players with a tangible pathway to showcase their talent at the highest levels.”
- Fernando Argila – Director of Coaching, IdeaSport SA
“IMG Academy is excited about the growth and development opportunities for our girls program within the USYS Sunshine Conference Girls Academy Division for its first season in 2021-2022. In the inaugural season for the boys, the experience has been first rate, and we look forward to continuing to build with the same top clubs and their directors.”
- Don Cameron –Director of Soccer, IMG Academy
“Jacksonville FC is happy to be able to continue to work with like-minded clubs that have youth development on their forefront. These directors have shown that, by working together with the players' interest as our priority, we can create something special. In times like these, it's very important to work together to create and enhance opportunities for our youth players.”
- Pat Cannon - Executive Director, Jacksonville FC
“I am proud to be associated with good people and educated professionals wanting the best environment and leadership for the youth.”
- Raul Renatto Soriano - Academy/Technical Director, Miami Rush Kendall SC
“South Florida Football Academy is extremely proud and honored to be selected as one of the founding member clubs for the USYS Sunshine Conference Girls Academy Division. We are delighted to join forces with some of the top youth soccer clubs in the Southeast in creating this new girls division. We believe that the quality leadership and professionalism provided by the directors of the clubs involved in this new league will lead it to be the best development platform for competitive girls players and teams in Florida. This is based on the successful development of the USYS Sunshine Conference Boys Academy Division this past season through the hard work and dedicated leadership of these same top clubs and their directors. We look forward to a great first year of play in the coming 2021-22 season.”
- Eric Eichmann - Academy Director, South Florida Football Academy
“FC Tampa Rangers is proud to be a member of the Sunshine Conference Girls Academy Division and provide a first-class learning experience for our Lady Rangers. We are committed to working with all club leaders to provide a platform that raises the soccer-specific value and purpose for playing the game. All FC Tampa Rangers Lady Rangers players will commit to upholding the values and vision of the league and the members.”
- Mike Connell – Club Director, FC Tampa Rangers
“West Florida Flames SC is excited to participate within the Sunshine Conference Girls Academy Division. The growth trajectory within the Academy Division is incredibly exciting. We have been strategic and thoughtful about how we expand. Working together with an incredible leadership group makes this an ideal situation, and we couldn’t be more thrilled to move forward.”
- Jorge “Yoyo” Zavala – Director of Soccer, West Florida Flames SC