COLUMBUS — The Crew Soccer Academy, the elite arm of the Crew’s player development system, and the Michigan Wolves announced today a formal partnership that will afford exceptional players in Michigan a local option to be connected to one of the most respected and comprehensive player development models in the United States.
With the partnership, CSA and the Crew youth development program continues to expand its sphere of influence by adding a renowned and tremendously successful youth club partner that has an enviable track record in player development. The comprehensive relationship between a top youth club (No. 4 in Soccer America’s 2010 rankings) and one of the most successful MLS youth organizations (No. 8 in Soccer America’s 2010 rankings) will be the first of its kind in the country.
“We are extremely excited to welcome the Wolves into our family,” said Andrew Arthurs, VP of Soccer Business Development. “It is an extremely highly regarded program that will incorporate high-level players and coaches into our program and our organization as a whole. They will be part of a model that provides upward mobility and opportunity with our 19s, Super 20s and, ultimately, the first team.”
The Livonia-based Wolves U15/16 and U17/18 teams, who compete in the prestigious U.S. Soccer Development Academy League and already have four boys national championships in their trophy case, will now be known as the CSA Wolves. Among the national titles is the 2009 Development Academy U15/16 championship.
In addition to the outstanding opportunity presented to the players, the academy-based coaches will join the Crew Soccer Academy staff and will receive exclusive access to the Crew technical staff and first team, benefit from the unique Crew-developed and branded coaching curriculum, and participate in continuing education programming and player evaluation combines in both Detroit and Columbus. Also of note, adidas will strongly support this groundbreaking partnership with additional product to replicate a professional setting as closely as possible.
“Like CSA, our expectations for this alliance are very high,” said Brian Doyle, Michigan Wolves director of coaching for more than 10 years. “It goes beyond the excitement and prestige of partnering with one of the top MLS franchises in the country.
“The Crew has demonstrated their serious commitment to improving youth soccer in America. The synergy resulting from our new arrangement creates many unique opportunities for us, not the least of which is a direct path for our best youth soccer players to become professional MLS players. Our access to the expertise of the Crew’s first-team staff will directly improve the capabilities and skills of our staff coaches. We see only positive outcomes for both sides.”
CSA Wolves players and coaches will enjoy access to Crew players, coaches and facilities (Crew Stadium and the Crew Training Center at Obetz), wear the colors of one of the most recognizable brands in American soccer, and be able to reach their highest potential level in one comprehensive system. They will have a direct pathway to a career in MLS as potential future Home Grown players, and some will enjoy the opportunity to play in the U17 SUM Cup and/or MLS reserve games.
About the Michigan Wolves
The Michigan Wolves Soccer Club is a premier-level, not-for-profit club, based in Livonia, Mich., and founded in 1974, that provides a unique opportunity for serious, skilled and dedicated soccer players. The Michigan Wolves are part of the exciting future of soccer in the United States at the very highest level. In 2007, the Wolves were selected as one of 76 elite youth soccer clubs from around the country by the U.S. Soccer Federation Youth Development Academy program at the under-16 and under-18 age groups.
About Crew Youth Development
At the foundation of the Crew’s burgeoning youth development system, made up of the Crew Soccer Academy (CSA) and Crew Juniors, is the belief that the long-range success of the program is critical to the growth of soccer in the United States in general, and to the Crew in particular. CSA is the Crew development program that provides the greatest opportunity and exposure for players to reach their highest level. It is a charter member of the U.S. Soccer Development Academy, which is the top level of competition in the country at that age.