The Reign Academy recently traveled to New Jersey for their final showcase before ECNL playoffs. It was the first East Coast showcase for the Academy, which saw over 100 collegiate scouts attend their matches.
“There was some really high interest, so we’re taking calls now from a lot of those colleges as well, to follow-up with our players and get a few out on visits,” said Reign Academy technical director Tracey Kevins. “It was a very good showcase for our teams. We left there with players leaving with either unofficial visits, which turned into offers, or further conversations. The college interest has blown us away.”
Next for the Academy is the ECNL National Playoffs from June 22nd to 27th in Rockford, Illinois. Teams must be in the top 64 of their age group to qualify, and the Academy’s ’03s, ’02s and ’00s have all qualified.
“That’s fantastic for those age groups to be in that event in Chicago,” said Kevins. “Our ’03s are currently ranked the second best team in the country, out of 85 teams, and the ’02s are in the top 20. So really that’s incredible for our first year.”
As the focus turns to the Academy’s inaugural Development Academy (DA) season, Kevins feels the experience in ECNL over the past year has been an incredible opportunity for the program.
“It was an opportunity for us to test ourselves outside of just Washington state, and it was fantastic to have achieved so much in our very first year,” said Kevins. “It was way beyond our expectations. We wanted to be competitive this year, to establish ourselves in terms of our playing, and what our DNA looks like and our philosophy. What we can look like in two years, three years, or five years is really exciting times for our teams.”
Development Academy preseason play begins in August, and the schedule for the inaugural season was released earlier this month. The Reign Academy will open their campaign the first weekend of September.
“We’re actually going to get the teams together to do some small things in July…just around trainings, expectations, and what it requires to be a Reign Academy player,” said Kevins. “The schedule has now been released, so we know we go away our opening weekend to Northern California to play our first two games in the DA, which is exciting.”
In the DA program, coaches will get to work with the players ten months of the year, with four practices a week. Kevins believes this is going to be key for accelerating the growth of players in the Academy.
“The planning and the direction U.S. Soccer are investing in the girl’s development academy makes the future looks so bright for the girl’s game,” said Kevins. “The DA is much more shifted towards training. That’s going to be key for us embedding all of our messages into the players, and really shaping them and developing them across the season.”