For the past two December weekends, players from youth clubs around the state of Minnesota spent their time at the National Sports Center in Blaine, hoping to become a part of the MNUFC Development Academy. Those born in 2006, 2007 and 2008 competed for spots to fill the Pre-Development Academy U11 roster.
The next phase for the Academy begins in January, with the addition of a U11 age group to the existing U12 age group pool. Overall, there were 150 boys who showed up to participate in the two rounds of tryouts.
The first round of tryouts was predominantly for players born in ‘06 and ’07s born in the first quarter of the year. The second round was comprised of the remaining ’07s and ’08s.
Academy Director Tim Carter commented on the high level of play within both groups, with players showing tremendous comfort on the ball.
“The technical quality and decisions with the ball in the small-sided games were good,” said Carter. “Their passion to play, to try new things and willingness to compete was great to see.”
The Development Academy is aiming to expand into the younger ages as players already in the program age into higher U15 teams, creating a well-rounded program where players could have the opportunity to train with the other MNUFC Development Academy age groups.
“Creating a positive environment for growth and learning at younger ages is essential to their long-term development,” said Carter. “At these ages, we want to enhance the experience and provide an environment that encourages risk taking, making decisions and competing in a safe, healthy manner. The boys in these younger ages are the future and they need to be nurtured.”