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 coaching education, sports science and performance best practices and includes three developmental levels segmented by age / ability: Union Futures (U7 -U9), Union Juniors (Boys U9 - U12; Girls U10 - U13), and Union Academy (U12 - 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. In addition to the Academy programs Philadelphia Union has affiliated with YSC Academy (a soccer specific high school for boys in grades 8-12). YSC Academy enables elite players to pursue both academic and athletic excellence in a nurturing environment designed to provide individualized training both on the field and in the classroom. YSC and Philadelphia Union are committed to providing a high quality learning environment for our players and believe it is our responsibility and obligation to develop the person as well as the player.
Club and Country to Full-time Academy: The Union Futures and Union Juniors programs follow our “club and country” format whereby youth players selected for these birth-year development squads remain registered and play with their local youth clubs. These selected players are then “called up” throughout the year into Union Futures and/or Union Juniors 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 in the process of developing Zone I players. Philadelphia Union provides a full-time Academy program (Step 3 above), which is similar in design and to professional youth academies in Europe and South America for the following ages: U12, U13, U14, U15, U16, and U18's.
Post Academy Programs: The fourth and final step of the Union's player pathway progression is a spot on either Philadelphia Union’s First Team and/or one of our professional or amateur affiliate partners. Bethlehem Steel located in Lehigh, PA, launched in 2016, competes in the USL. Reading United, our elite amatuer development partner competes in the PDL (a summer league for elite college players). Both the PDL and USL provide a competitive environment to continue to polish and strengthen top Union Academy prospects.
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.
UNION YOUTH DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM FAST FACTS
- 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 ( Boys U9 - U11 ; Girls U10 - U13), and Union Academy (U12 – U18) programs.
- All Union Youth Development Programs are FREE OF COST for participants.
- 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 set up a trial for Union Academy, Union Juniors and/or Union Futures, interested players should have their club's Director of Coaching contact UnionAcademy@philadelphiaunion.com. No parent should contact Philadelphia Union Academy for a trial.