Crossfire Premier player development begins with our Skills Academies and Juniors program for players aged 5 through 8. At 8 years old, or one year earlier for more gifted or advanced youth, the players move into the full year-round premier program, which starts with our Zone 1 U-9 teams. Our club curriculum for these ages and all age groups through Zones 1, 2 and the start of Zone 3 mirror U.S. Soccer-approved player-development curriculum guidelines, with particular emphasis on individual technical development.
Additionally, we have a long and detailed history of playing players up within Crossfire Premier, both in Zone 1 and in the Academy age groups. At almost every age currently, we have one or more players playing up for their own development needs, and we continuously monitor players for play-up opportunities and meet as a staff to discuss advancement.
All Crossfire Premier players on A teams within the club are provided the opportunity to train up to four times weekly with older teams. All Crossfire Premier girls players on A teams or ECNL teams are permitted to train with our highest level boys teams, to help expose these players to a more challenging daily training environment.
Crossfire Premier Club Teams
Crossfire Premier fields from two up to seven teams at every age, for both genders, from U-9 through U-19. The top of this pyramid is our club’s A teams, which compete at the highest level within the state, region and nation every year, and which are expected to train and commit to the program as such.
Crossfire Advanced Development Program
Crossfire’s Advanced Development Program (ADP) is an initiative designed to provide the optimum development environment for the state- and region’s top youth soccer players through structured session plans and consistency of coaching methodology. All Crossfire ADP participants receive more than 35 annual sessions following a uniform training philosophy, as the club strives to develop individual players as well as teams. The curriculum includes a significant technical emphasis, with increasing expectations for the tactical application of those skills, while also offering outlets for elite-level match play and supplemental travel.
Beginning its third year, Crossfire’s Advanced Development Program (ADP) has undergone some slight modification, with the program adapting to an altered landscape—namely, the introduction of the U.S. Soccer Development Academy U-12 program and the change to club teams based on calendar-year registration. Also starting with the 2016-17 season, ADP will fall under the club’s AS Roma USA Academy development umbrella, with training curriculum and additional resources provided by the Serie A club’s youth sector.
Crossfire ADP is a supplementary training and development program, intended complement a player’s club soccer, not replace it. Players selected for this program remain with their club teams and compete with those teams, while gaining access to this additional platform for elite training and select competitions. The long-term goal of the program is to identify and foster the development of players seeking eventual access to Crossfire Premier’s U.S. Soccer Development Academy teams. Within this integrated program the club has created a clear development pathway for top players, and through advanced training and premier competition, the players will be prepared for advancement to the apex of the youth-soccer pyramid in America.
Players for the Crossfire ADP program are identified and recommended by club coaches and directors, and players are also identified, scouted and recruited by Crossfire staff coaches responsible for such outreach. A total of 24- to 32 players are selected into the pool for each age group.
Crossfire U-12 Development Academy
The Crossfire Premier U-12 Development Academy begins official DA competition in 2016-17 and completes the club’s development pathway from Zone 1 through the U-17/18 Academy. In 2016-17, the U-12 Academy will be offered to players born after January 1, 2004, with play-up opportunities offered to elite younger players on a case-by-case basis. Crossfire will have two squads in the U-12 Academy league, made up of a player pool of 24-26 players. These players will not be on any other club roster and the team will not take part in state competitions, to include Washington State Cup. Play will be 9v9.
Crossfire U-13 Academy, U-14 Academy & U-15 Pre-Academy
Although not part of a regular U-13/14 Development Academy league, with a set Academy schedule, the Crossfire Premier U-13, U-14 and U-15 Pre-Academy programs currently offer more additional training opportunities, individual advancement programs and meaningful competition than any other Academy program in our region.
Crossfire U-15 Pre-Academy and U-13 and 14 Academy players are offered additional training every Monday evening from 7-8:30 p.m. and on select Tuesdays and Thursdays, training adjacent to the U-15/16 and U-17/18 Academy teams. The training sessions are by invite only, and players are selected based upon their performance in training and matches with their Crossfire club team and from within the Crossfire Advanced Development Program (ADP). Players must be registered with Crossfire Premier or Crossfire ADP to be eligible for this training opportunity. Sessions are staffed by Crossfire Premier Academy coaches.
On top of this regular training, both the Crossfire U-13 and U-14 Academy teams will compete in the US Soccer Development Academy U-13 and U-14 Academy Western Region Showcase at the US Soccer National Training Center in Los Angeles, and a combined U-13/14 Academy team will participate in the DA National Showcase in June in Frisco, Texas. Additionally, this age group will receive at least one international trip annually, combining training, tournament competition and scouting/player evaluation with our European professional-club partners. In 2016-17, the U-13 Academy team competed in the invite-only Madrid Cup in September, taking the field against the Academy teams from such clubs as FC Barcelona, Real Madrid, Athletico Madrid, Chelsea FC, Paris Saint-Germain, the Northern Ireland U-14 National Team and more. The U-14 Academy team will take part in a separate trip, traveling to Rome to take part in programming provided by our partner club, AS Roma. All costs of the travel are covered by Crossfire. In addition, younger players will be called into train with the U-13/14 Academy team on a case-by-case basis, preparing these players for the years to come.
Beginning with the 2017-18 season, each Crossfire Premier U-14 Academy team will participate in the Madrid Cup annually, while the U-15 Academy team will take part in the International Marveld U15 tournament at SV Grol in Groenlo.
For the U-15 Pre-Academy, beyond the additional training, the group competes in the Dallas Cup each April (in the past two years, playing up, Crossfire has finished as Finalists and Semi-Finalists in this prestigious tournament). This U-15 Pre-Academy group includes current Developmental Player members of the Crossfire U-15/16 Academy, as well as players from within the Crossfire ADP program who are projected as future Academy members. Players from this pool are always in contention to be added to the U-15/16 Academy roster as Full-Time Players as well.
In all, between club-team competitions, ADP travel and Academy events, players in these age groups compete in more than 50 meaningful, competitive matches, as well as a number of scrimmages and practice games, which are used to augment training themes and topics as well as an evaluation tool.
For all age groups, additional competitions and chances for international exposure may be added to the annual calendar, as opportunities present themselves. Players from each pool will also be considered for inclusion in the U-15/16 Academy Winter Training Camp held annually every year in Tombstone, Arizona.
Finally, as they’re progressing through the system into the Academy zones of training and competition, all players in these age groups take part in an advanced strength, speed and agility program offered through the club’s exclusive partnership with Force 10 Performance. Along these same lines, Crossfire has recently initiated a professional Academy mentorship program for its players, to go along with academic support, standardized test prep and the nation’s best college preparation program as a means of ensuring the club’s Academy program is the most comprehensive in the country. As with all Academy and Pre-Academy programs within Crossfire, there is no charge to players and their families for these additional programs.
Crossfire U-15/16 and U-17/18 Development Academy Teams
The U.S. Soccer Development Academy program provides education, resources and support to impact everyday club environments in order to develop world-class players, and as full members, the Crossfire Premier U-15/16 and U-17/18 Development Academy teams fulfill a complete U.S. Soccer Development Academy season schedule each year. The Academy Program’s philosophy is based on increased training, fewer total games and more meaningful games using international rules of competition.
The Academy also connects National Team coaches directly with the Academy clubs to develop and identify players and coaches for future Youth National Teams. Each Academy club is evaluated by a member of the Men’s Scouting Network at least ten times each year and each Academy club receives two formal reviews that provide feedback in seven Key Performance Categories each year from U.S. Soccer Technical Staff.
To maintain a focus on club training environments, Academy players and teams do not play in any outside competitions without written permission from the U.S. Soccer Development Academy staff. Full-time Academy players can only participate on their designated Academy team, with only two exceptions: U.S. Soccer Training Centers and National Team duty. The Development Academy’s 10-month Program allows for a greater opportunity to institute style of play and implement a system according to Crossfire’s and U.S. Soccer’s Development Philosophy. It also gives teams increased opportunities for younger kids in their club to “play up” against older players in both training and matches, thereby accelerating their development. Academy players choosing to participate in the Academy full-time will forgo playing for their high school team.
Development Academy clubs are required to train a minimum of four days per week and rest one day per week during the Academy season. Our Academy teams will play approximately 30 games per year, within our conference and division. The Development Academy contains seven geographically-based divisions at both the U-15/16 and U-17/18 levels. Each team plays home and away games against the other teams in their division, plus games against non-division opponents from across the country during the 10-month season. The U-15/16 & U-17/18 age groups will compete at the Academy Playoffs for one of eight spots in the Academy Championships.