US Soccer Federation
The United States Soccer Federation (US Soccer) is the governing body for soccer in the US. It is responsible for overseeing the professional soccer leagues, amateur leagues and the national teams.
Soccer, in the US, has been growing at an unprecedented rate since the late 1960s. It has quickly become a favorite sport as is evident by the thousands of clubs and small teams of young players that can be found in every corner of the country.
There are two tiers of professional men's soccer offered by the United States. These are:
- Major League Soccer (MLS) is the highest level of men's soccer offered in the US
- North American Soccer League (NASL) plays Division II
There are also two leagues that are hoping to attain Division III status.
- The National Independent Soccer Association (NISA) is hoping to launch in 2018.
- United Soccer Leagues are considering starting a new league that they will call D3; they hope to launch in 2019.
The Women's United Soccer Association (WUSA) was formed following the successful 1999 Women's World Cup season. It operated for two years and featured several players from the World Cup including Mia Hamm and Michelle Akers.
Today the National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) is the women's professional league. It was formed in 2012.
US Soccer National teams
There are several National teams. These include:
- United States Men's National Team (USMNT) - U15 - U23
- United States Women's National Team (USMWT) - U15 - U23
- Paralympic National Team - Composed of players who are ambulatory, but challenged by a neurological condition such as: traumatic brain injury, cerebral palsy or stroke.
- National Futsal Team - Represents the US in international competitions.
- Beach Soccer National Team - Represents the US in international competitions.
US Soccer also offers a Development Academy programs. Started n 2007, the initial teams were focused on boys. This year witnessed the inaugural season of a Girl's DA program. As of 2016, the DA programs have expanded to include youth from the U-12 age groups.
The mission of the DA is to provide resources, support and education to the top levels of youth soccer. The philosophy of the program is supposed to be geared towards the individual development of each player.
Recognizing the need for quality training, US Soccer offers both coaching education classes and referee training. The site offers a number of valuable resources including such items as Laws of the Game and resource centers.