RSL-AZ Joins US Soccer Development Academy

Program under the direction of former U.S. MNT standout Greg Vanney


Former U.S. MNT Defender Greg Vanney to Lead MLS Youth Club
Beginning in the Fall;

Casa Grande-based Club to Become the 78th Member of the
Academy Program;

Minnesota Thunder and Shattuck-St. Mary’s Two Other New Clubs for
Next Season


CHICAGO / Sandy, UT (Tuesday, June 8, 2010)
Following a thorough application and review process, U.S. Soccer has approved
and selected the Real Salt Lake-Arizona Academy to join the federation’s
Development Academy for the 2010-11 season. On hand during the
recently-completed Spring Showcase in Sarasota, Fla., RSL-Arizona will become
the 78th team in the program when it begins play this fall. The
RSL-Arizona Academy was founded in
2007 as a summer development program for
Arizona's elite Under 17 players.  RSL has two additional non-Development
Academy programs in Utah and Florida. 


“The ability to direct and control the development of the young
players who come through our new RSL-Arizona Academy is critical to our future
success,” said Real Salt Lake General Manager Garth Lagerwey, now in his
third full season with the club. “The progression of the Academy
system in the United
States helps us identify and develop the talent that can succeed at domestic
and international levels for club and country. Every
day during this summer’s World Cup, we will see players perform who were
developed through youth academies globally. We are excited that our club will
now institute a similar structure as part of the U.S. Soccer framework for
American players. This will make RSL a better club immediately and in the


Former U.S. Men’s National Team and Major League Soccer veteran Greg
is at the helm of the
Arizona program, and has been involved in the
Development Academy during the 2009-10 season as a talent scout for the youth
national team programs. Vanney and the Academy staff, under the guidance
of Real Salt Lake Head Coach Jason Kreis and his senior technical
staff, will be responsible for identifying and developing players and the
execution of the overall Real Salt Lake Academy plan.  Vanney will
work closely with RSL assistant coach Miles Joseph to
unify the Academy program and the RSL first team. 


“U.S. Soccer’s selection of the RSL-Arizona Academy for the
2010-11 season validates all of the
vision, hard-work and support
from everyone involved in this process
,” said RSL-Arizona Academy
Director Greg Vanney, who attended high school in Tempe, Ariz., and
played collegiately at powers Florida International and UCLA prior to a 13-year
professional career that spanned five MLS teams (including two MLS Cup
appearances with the Los
Galaxy) and three seasons with SC Bastia of the French Ligue
1.  "This is an amazing day for Arizona youth soccer
and all players who seek to develop to their full potential and
dream of playing for RSL or the U.S. National Team. 
Through this process we have garnered interest from several youth national team
players and prospects.  As a club, our expectations will be high from day
one, and we will expect the players to come in focused on their development
and fully respectful of the game and the opportunity presented to


The RSL-Arizona Academy is a fully-funded program hosted in Casa Grande,
Ariz., at the beautiful Grande Sports World (GSW) campus.  GSW
is a 45-acre campus that includes six professional
quality soccer fields and a 58,000 square foot performance center
with locker rooms, a weight room, therapy space and classrooms all just a few
steps away from the Francisco Grande Resort and Golf Course. Real Salt
Lake spent nearly two weeks of its preseason calendar on the property this past
February, hosting games against the Vancouver Whitecaps and Colorado Rapids as
the defending MLS Cup Champions began preparations for this year’s title


The Casa Grande, Ariz.-based RSL-AZ club will become the 78th
team to participate in the 2010-11 Development Academy season
, joining two
other new clubs, Minnesota Thunder and Shattuck-St. Mary’s in Minnesota.
RSL-Arizona will participate in the highly competitive SoCal Division,
alongside clubs from Southern California.


During the application process, U.S. Soccer received a competitive
pool of more than 200 applicants, all of which were evaluated to determine
which clubs had the best potential to generate future national team players.
The evaluation was based on a number of categories, including geographic
location, history of player production, coaching staff and administrative

The Academy program was created to enhance the player development environment
for elite youth players in the United States in accordance with U.S. Soccer
“Best Practices,” with specific focus on increasing the number of training
sessions; decreasing the total number of games while increasing the number of
quality games; and maintaining the highest level of coaching, refereeing, and
competition available in an everyday environment.

Aside from providing clubs with a soccer-centric environment, the Academy
program also provides a platform to systematically improve the player
identification and development processes. Over half of the Academy matches are
attended by a national team scout, resulting in a comprehensive system to
evaluate player, coach, and referee talent.

Launched in the fall of 2007 after a detailed review of player development
systems in the U.S. and across the world, the Development Academy provides
players, coaches and referees a nationally-coordinated program designed to enhance
their development environment. The Academy has improved the training
environment; provided relevant, high-level matches on a consistent basis;
increased the level and efficiency of scouting for the national teams; and
provided players, coaches, and referees with structured programming. For more
information on the U.S. Soccer Development Academy, log on to