The Girls Soccer COE has recently joined the Development Academy (DA), which is considered the top tier of youth soccer in the United States. The DA was formed in 2007 and the league includes youth academies and clubs from various organizations. The DA started with just the age groups of Boys U16 and Boys U18. It has recently expanded and now includes every age group from U12/U13 up to U18/U19 Boys and Girls soccer. The Boys programs have been a part of the DA since 2011. The Girls soccer program was just recently officially added in July of 2017.
Coach King coaches the U17 Girls Soccer Team here at Shattuck-St. Mary’s. He expressed his feelings about when he heard that the Girls COE became DA: “Excitement for players, coaches and the program to compete at the highest level in the country. From a coaching perspective opportunity to challenge myself, grow, and adapt.” Coach King believes that his coaching mentality has not necessarily changed but evolved to adapt best to what the needs of his players are in meeting the demands of maximizing their potential at the DA level. About his team’s season so far this year, Coach King said, “So far this season the team has been adapting to the demands of the DA in terms of focus, intensity and game management compared to MRL and State level competition they played in the previous years.” His U17 team is made up of mostly new girls who have only played together for 3 months and he believes that there are many positives that have come out of the season so far.
Miya Lennon ’18 and Ari Morgan ’18 play for the U19 girls team and have started the season off pretty rough. They shared their thoughts about Shattuck St. Mary’s Girls Soccer finally becoming a part of the DA. Miya states, “I feel like a part of something big. I felt like this was a new chapter in my soccer career and I felt like it opened more doors for me.” Ari says,” It feels amazing to be a member of the DA. It’s rare for a girl to be able to play at such a high level while attending a great school.” When Miya and Ari found out about their team being a part of it, they were excited. Ari expressed her feelings about it and how she first heard about it: “Coach DeMay emailed my mom about the team’s acceptance into the league. I was ecstatic. It helped me finalize my decision to come to Shattuck. I was excited, ready for stiff competition, and ready to get better.”
The Development Academy season is broken up into two parts of the year. The Boys and Girls soccer programs compete in league play in the fall and winter and compete to play in playoffs in the summer. Every team gets the winter off in DA except for a Florida Showcase in early December. After every team’s final game is done, the teams that make playoffs are decided. Teams with a 1.6 point-per-match average are guaranteed a spot. Playoffs are in late June and teams that advance after group stage play could be done with their season as early as late July.
Miya expressed her feelings about her team and the mentality she has from starting to play at a higher level than last year: “My mentality should not change.” Ari also expressed her state of mind: “Luckily before I came to Shattuck I played in the National League, so it’s not too much of an adjustment.”