CHICAGO – Rutgers University is among 13 leading NCAA Division I men’s soccer programs will compete in the second annual College Development Program this spring.
The program is designed to further player development opportunities in Zone 3 (players age 18 and older).
Boston College, Clemson, Connecticut, Duke, Georgetown, North Carolina, Pittsburgh, Providence, Rutgers, Syracuse, Virginia, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest will participate across two divisions in this year’s program.
The program will run from March 2-April 26.
“I’m excited about the continued relationship between U.S. Soccer and the college game through the Spring College Program,” U.S. Soccer youth national team technical director Tab Ramos said. “The Spring College Program was a tremendous success in its inaugural run last year, as we were able to identify new youth national team prospects and follow others we were already tracking. The college program is an important part of Zone 3 development and having top programs participate under international standards makes their integration into our national teams and the professional game easier.”
Started last year as a collaboration between U.S. Soccer and six NCAA men’s soccer programs, the college teams will run this year’s event as an approved U.S. Soccer competition, following the federation’s technical framework of best practices for elite youth development. The games will operate similar a U.S. Soccer Development Academy match: featuring traditional timekeeping, a maximum gameday roster of 18 players and three substitution moments with no re-entry.
“The growth of the Spring College Program in its second year is a testament to the leaders of these institutions for their work and effort to create the optimal environments for players,” USYNT director Jared Micklos said. “It’s beneficial to have more players 17 and older participating in standards-based competition. We are proud to support the college game and these institutions in the evolution of the pathway for players transitioning from youth to college.”
The event also provides an additional opportunity for U.S. Soccer scouts to identify potential players for the youth national teams and men’s national team. U.S. Soccer Talent Identification network scouts will attend select games. Schools will receive a full analytic report of each match from Opta, U.S. Soccer’s official data supplier.
This year’s 13 participating teams will be split into North and South Divisions.
Boston College, Connecticut, Providence, Rutgers and Syracuse will comprise the North Division, while the South Division will be split into two groups: Georgetown, Pitt, Virginia and Virginia Tech in one, and Clemson, Duke, North Carolina and Wake Forest in the other.
Last year, North Carolina took home the inaugural Spring College Program title in a competition that featured six top teams from across the Southeast.
The South Division teams will play each member of their group once from March 2 to April 6, followed by playoffs on April 13. The top team in each group will face-off, as well as the runner-up, third-placed, and fourth-placed teams in each group. Each team in the five-school North Division will play each other once from March 23 to April 26, and the team with the most points will be crowned as Division champion.