TAMPA, Fla. - The United Soccer League (USL) today announced Kings Hammer FC and Dayton Dutch Lions FC as the latest clubs to join the USL Academy League. Both Ohio-based clubs will compete in the East Central Division of the USL Academy League beginning in 2021.
“I’m thrilled to welcome not one, but two Ohio clubs to the USL Academy platform,” said Liam O’Connell, Technical Director of the USL. “The addition of an Academy League team will bolster each club’s efforts to create a pipeline of talent and a clear pathway to pro for youth players out of the Ohio region.”
As the newest club to join USL League Two, Kings Hammer FC has been a prime example of what it means to grow the youth game in the American soccer system. The club prides itself on its mission to serve as active community members through leadership, development and personal growth of both players and staff. Through the club’s extensive youth network in Ohio and Kentucky, Kings Hammer FC has created a development platform for all players and coaches to be able to reach the highest level possible within the game and their personal lives, while helping develop leaders and individuals who will inspire others to do the same.
“We are extremely excited to be joining the USL Academy,” said Paul Nicholson, Kings Hammer FC Technical Director and League Two Head Coach. “Our USL Academy will be a U19 program that will create a fantastic bridge from youth to senior and bolster a true player ID system for our USL League Two team. This is an incredible addition to the Kings Hammer development pathway and will provide elite level competition for high school age players throughout the region. Having the chance to compete against USL Championship and USL League Two clubs in the region will be a fantastic test and opportunity for our players.”
Founded in 2009, Dayton Dutch Lions FC is a long-standing member of the USL, having joined League Two in 2010. Through partnerships with youth affiliates such as the Ohio Galaxies FC, the Dutch Lions have formed a line of youth networks out of the Dayton region that allows players to maximize their potential within their soccer careers and collaborate on the overall growth of youth soccer in America. The Dutch Lions mission to enhance the player development platform for youth in the region aligns with the USL Academy’s collective approach to growing the game from the grassroots level to the professional level.
“Not only do we want to put a quality product on the field at the USL League Two level but we also want to be part of the development of youth soccer players in the greater Dayton region,” said Sid van Druenen, Dayton Dutch Lions FC’s Technical Director and League Two Head Coach. “Partnering with the Ohio Galaxies FC and joining the USL Academy League will provide new, high level training and playing opportunities to high school aged players aspiring to play at the highest level. We are very excited about this opportunity and looking forward to playing our first games this summer.”
The USL Academy platform’s collaborative approach to youth development will allow the best players from both clubs to seamlessly move between each club’s League Two and Academy teams, providing each player with the competition level that best suits their individual needs at any given time.
To learn more about the USL Academy League, visit www.usl-academy.com/academy-league.