Before there were premier soccer leagues across the country, Mid Atlantic Premier Soccer (MAPS) was formed in 1997 for clubs in New Jersey, New York, Delaware and Pennsylvania.
As more premier clubs began to form and top teams were becoming too strong for their local leagues, MAPS offered a solution for those teams — a regionalized platform where they no longer needed to play older teams to find appropriate competition.
Fast forward 12 years to 2009 and MAPS transformed into EDP (Eastern Development Program), an elite league that had grown to include top clubs and teams from Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Maryland. Through EDP, top clubs had the correct development opportunities for their teams, allowing teams the ability to play a high-level game every week with reasonable travel.
If you look at the Mid Atlantic clubs that participate in nationally recognized leagues such as the former US Soccer Development Academy, the new MLS Youth Academy League, the Girls Academy League and US Youth Soccer National League , virtually all of these clubs have one thing in common. They previously played in EDP. Beachside SC, New York SC, FC Westchester, Cedar Stars Academy Bergen, TSF Academy, STA, PDA, Cedar Stars Academy Monmouth, SJEB Rush, Lehigh Valley United, Philadelphia Ukrainian Nationals SC and many more clubs played their regional premier soccer with MAPS and EDP.
With its proven track record of creating a successful development platform for top clubs and teams, EDP (now recognized as Elite Development Program) was made an affiliate member of US Youth Soccer in 2018-2019, and was selected to manage the USYS National League Conferences in the East Region. EDP shares the USYS philosophy of teams and clubs earning their place through performance on the field, and offering an open system that allows for true promotion and relegation for all top clubs and teams as well as the chance to advance into regional and national competitions through multiple pathways. For example, the four National League Conferences managed by EDP, offer pathways to the USYS Eastern Regionals, USYS National Championship, and the newly created USYS National Showcase Series.
Moving into the 2020-2021 seasonal year, the EDP footprint can be seen throughout the East Coast. From the US Youth Soccer National League Conferences managed by EDP, which include the New England Conference (Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut), the North Atlantic EDP Conference (Connecticut, New York), the Mid Atlantic EDP Conference (New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware) and the South Atlantic Conference (Maryland, Virginia, Delaware, Pennsylvania) as well as the Florida Competitive Leagues, set to launch in Fall 2020.
With the USYS National League Conferences, EDP Premier, EDP Championship and EDP Futures, EDP offers the full pyramid of development for teams and clubs.
In addition to the league platforms, EDP’s full time administrative and management staff also offer its members a variety of other programs such as tournaments and showcases, Pathway to College, EDP 1st Team, and Coaching Education, among others.
EDP tournaments and showcases are some of the biggest and best in the country, drawing teams from all over the world, including Europe, South America, Asia and the Caribbean to play against some of the top teams in the United States. The EDP Cups are regularly ranked the top tournament in the country by GotSoccer, and the EDP Cup Showcases draw hundreds of college coaches to see top teams from all top youth soccer platforms.
The EDP Pathways to College program provides events such as the EDP Winter Showcase, where MLS youth teams, Development Academy teams, USYS National League teams, and foreign teams come together for college coaches from all over the region to watch the best vs best compete.
The EDP 1st Team is a fully funded player identification platform that creates opportunities for Under-12 players to travel, learn, experience and compete. Players try out with the best being selected into EDP regional teams. From these regional teams, players are selected to be on the EDP 1st team, which travels to England to play against top youth academies.
Through the EDP Coaching Education program, youth coaches from clubs participating in EDP leagues have the opportunity to work with some of soccer’s finest instructors , such as Raymond Verhijen, Doug Lemov, James Olsen, Mark Burton, David Cotterill, Isaac Guerrero and more.
EDP players are also given college guidance provided by the EDP Foundation, which provides college recruiting seminars, EDP games on college campuses, college ID clinics and a generous college scholarship program.
With more than 20 years of experience shaping premier soccer in the Mid Atlantic, EDP looks forward to the next 20 years, guided by its EDP Leadership Council.
Led by former Under-17 national team and Major League Soccer coach John Ellinger, who heads EDP club SAC, the council includes top clubs Bethesda SC, FC Virginia, Philadelphia Ukrainian Nationals SC, SJEB Rush, Cedar Stars Academy, FC Copa Academy, NJ Premier FC, and TSF Academy, Through the Leadership Council’s guidance, EDP will continue to offer innovative and developmentally appropriate opportunities for players, teams, clubs, and coaches.