Four months into 2017, and the Reign Academy has had several milestone moments. In February, the Academy had its first national signing day class. The very next month Smith Hunter became the first Academy player to be called into a youth national team camp. To top it off, the Academy announced a new partnership with Seattle United and Eastside FC just two weeks ago.
“It’s only when you sit and accumulate those things that you think ‘wow we are only in March.’ We’ve already accomplished so much,” said Reign Academy technical director Tracey Kevins. “It’s such an organic organization, we keep growing, keep developing, and attacking new areas of our organization to make it better on and off the field. We have a group of people who are always looking at what we can do better and do to provide these girls with different opportunities.”
The success off the field has been matched on the field for the Academy as well. During their recent ECNL away weekend in Northern California, teams across all age groups performed well against strong teams from Mustang SC and Pleasanton Rage. Overall the Academy posted a record of 4–3–3 on the weekend.
“For our 03’s to be sitting on top of the conference, our 02’s 01’s and 00’s to be sitting in competitive positions, and 99’s doing so well despite the jump from the level they were previously playing at is really pleasing,” said Kevins.
What Kevins was most satisfied with in her squads’ performances was the reflection of the attacking curriculum that has been the focus in recent practices. As a whole, the Academy scored 13 goals through 10 matches.
“We’re very much focused on attacking at the moment, and beginning our final third phase,” said Kevins. “We’ve already covered building through the back, how we defend and transition, so now it gets into the fun stuff. It was really pleasing to see the amount of goals scored across the age groups, and that’s only the beginning of that phase.”
During their trip, the Academy got to visit the original Apple headquarters for a tour. The teams also sat in on a panel discussion on women in technology.
“We try to offer different experiences off the field when we travel,” said Kevins. “Obviously we want these girls to eventually come forward and play for Reign FC, but in the meantime, we want them to develop into strong women in their communities.”
Up next, the Academy head to Phoenix, Arizona this weekend for their second ECNL national event. While the rest of 2017 will include preparing for the beginning of the Development Academy season this August, Kevins and company are already planning for 2018, including a trip to Europe.
“There’s some great things taking place here,” said Kevins. “We’ll just keep driving this program forward. Our intention has always been to be the best academy in the country. We’ll be doing everything we can to make that possible.”