South Georgia Tormenta FC, which competed and excelled in the first USL Academy Eastern Conference Event, has been named a founding member of the 2021 Southeast Division.
Starting in the spring of 2021, elite members from Tormenta FC Academy's Boys teams will come together to compete against five different clubs:
The inaugural Academy League preseason is set to kick off in February 2021 – including a period of full integration with a club’s First Team – followed by a regular season that will align with the USL Championship and USL League One seasons spanning from potentially March to November. The league will then conclude with the USL Academy League Playoffs, as well as the first-ever Academy League Final.
With the goal of providing a new professional pathway for youth players in USL communities across the country, the first-of-its-kind pre-professional league will align with the United States’ professional calendar, complement existing local youth organizations and allow players extensive access to the First Team.
The USL Academy League has been constructed to provide an elite pre-professional environment for all players through regionalized competition that is complementary to existing youth soccer organizations, and most importantly, provides opportunity and professional pathways to both new and previously overlooked communities across the country.
Unique to any other pre-professional set-up in the United States, USL Academy League teams will field a single elite youth team, geared towards top local players within the U15 to U19 age range, and built with a direct connection to the club’s First Team. The model is designed to allow identification and integration of elite youth players into a pre-professional environment at a younger age, giving them exposure to a higher level of play than they would normally experience, access to the resources and teaching of USL First Teams, all the while serving as a complement to the work being done by other youth clubs in USL communities.
With minimum standards in place for facilities, coaching, staffing, training and development, as well as other resources that will help accelerate top youth prospects towards a potential career in professional soccer, the USL Academy League is well-positioned to be a major contributor to the development of professional talent across the United State in the run up to the 2026 World Cup and beyond.
In addition, the USL Academy Cup – which kicked off in 2019 – will continue to strengthen the Academy League model, with dates and venues for the 2020 events set to be announced in the coming months.