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U.S. Soccer ends youth residency program after 18 years

Ecuador v United States

Donovan described his sendoff as “perfect.” (Getty Images)

Getty Images

It produced top talents like Landon Donovan, but now, U.S. Soccer will have to find another way to develop its budding stars moving forward.

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On Friday, the U.S. Soccer Federation announced that it has ended its youth residency program in Bradenton, Florida after 18 years, which had previously helped the country’s top young prospects develop while receiving an education.

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The residency program guided players like Landon Donovan and Michael Bradley to the heights of the U.S. Men’s National Team, in addition to 31 other squad members.

“One of our main hopes when establishing the U.S. Soccer Residency Program was that at some point advancements in youth player development would make its existence no longer necessary -- we believe that point has been reached,” USSF president Sunil Gulati said in a statement on Friday.

“Not only did the program develop a number of key players for our national teams, it served as a model for academies across the country to follow. With the U.S. Development Academy having achieved high standards in preparing our young athletes, we are now able to impact future American professionals on a much larger scale.”

Instead, the U.S. Soccer Development Academy has become the nation’s foremost resource for helping provide youth players with an outlet to hone their skills. The USSDA currently features 150 clubs within its ranks, including youth academies for the majority of MLS franchises.