DURHAM, N.C.—The Duke men’s soccer team has been selected by U.S. Soccer as one of six teams to launch the inaugural Spring College Program this coming March. Duke, Clemson, Georgetown, North Carolina, Virginia and Wake Forest all will square off against each other over the course of the spring as U.S. Soccer continues its effort to develop world class players, coaches and referees. The program culminates with an event at Wake Forest April 21.
“We are delighted to be involved in this exciting program from day one and look forward to a great spring schedule playing the highest quality competition,” said head coach John Kerr. “This will go a long way in developing the relationship between the college game and U.S. Soccer and more importantly, will give our players an opportunity to play multiple games in front of Men’s National Team coaches and scouts.”
The Blue Devils are coming off of one of their most successful seasons in recent history. After missing the NCAA Tournament for the past five seasons, Duke returned to the field of 48 in 2017 as the No. 6 seed. It was the first time Duke had been seeded since 2006. Duke finished the year with a 13-4-3 overall record, making a six-win improvement from the previous season.
The six-game improvement from a year ago matched the best one-year turnaround in Duke history, while the 13 wins are the second-most under Kerr. Duke advanced to the NCAA Round of 16 before falling in heartbreaking fashion in penalty kicks to Fordham.
The collaborative initiative between U.S. Soccer and the college soccer programs will provide standards-based competition and further player development opportunities for players above the age of 17. The games also provide an additional opportunity for U.S. Soccer Scouts to identify potential U.S. Olympic and National Team players and expand the player pool.
“We are excited about this program and the role it will play in helping college soccer become more connected to the player development pathway,” U.S. Soccer Youth Technical Director and U-20 Men's National Team head coach Tab Ramos said. “It provides us with additional opportunities to identify more players for Youth National Teams and for the Olympic Team in an environment that mirrors the international game.”
Aligned with U.S. Soccer’s technical framework of best practices for elite youth development, the program will see international standards implemented during each of the 15 games played. The rules for each game played will function similarly to U.S. Soccer Development Academy standards. Games will be played with traditional time keeping, a maximum game day roster of 18 players and no re-entry.
During the first six weeks, each college will host two games on their respective campus before closing out the program with a three-match event that features all six teams hosted at Wake Forest University. Upon the conclusion of the round-robin schedule, the team with the most points will be crowned champion.
In addition, the coaching staff of each institution will participate in a coaching education assignment and workshop, complete game analysis and video review, and receive data analysis of physical performance from U.S. Soccer. Each college program is helping to drive change in the development of Zone 3 (Age 18+) players.
|March 3||North Carolina||Clemson|
|March 17||Clemson||Wake Forest|
|March 24||Georgetown||North Carolina|
|March 29||Wake Forest||Duke|
|April 7||Georgetown||Wake Forest|
|April 7||North Carolina||Virginia|
|April 14||Wake Forest||North Carolina|
|April 21||Hosted by Wake Forest|