Behind the scenes of the LA Galaxy Girls' Academy | #BackstageGalaxy

The LA Galaxy Girls’ Academy are set to kick off their inaugural year in the founding season of the U.S. Soccer Girls’ Development Academy on Saturday, Sept. 2 at StubHub Center. Launched in 2016, the LA Galaxy Girls’ Academy became the first and only program to be fully-funded by a Major League Soccer side, allowing talented and local athletes to join free of charge.

For their first season, the Girls' Academy will feature four age groups: U-14, U-15, U-16/17 and U-18/19 competing in seven divisions across the country. All LA Galaxy Girls’ Academy teams will play 28 games over a 10-month season from September to July, including additional Winter, Spring and Summer Showcases and finally culminating in the Academy Championships. The inaugural 69 clubs were chosen based on a variety of factors, including club leadership, infrastructure, resources, history of player production for National Teams, market and depth of the player pool and more.

This weekend, the LA Galaxy Girls’ Academy will face Pateadores of Costa Mesa, Calif. at StubHub Center. With four age ranges, each LA Galaxy Girls’ Academy team will consist of 23 players within a 75-mile radius of StubHub Center. In the league’s inaugural weekend, more than 6,000 players from 69 member clubs will kick off in a total of 108 games. A global leader in women's soccer, U.S. Soccer's implementation of the Girls' Academy is part of the Federation's efforts to grow the game and ensure that future National Teams continue to win at the highest level.

Earlier this year, the Girls’ Academy hosted tryouts to fill out the Academy’s four age divisions (U-14, U-15, U-16/17 and U-18/19). 70 players currently make up the LA Galaxy Girls’ Academy roster, with play additions continuing through the regular season. The Girls’ Academy trains four day each week with the Academy’s technical staff at StubHub Center.

For the LA Galaxy Girls’ Academy opening weekend schedule, see below.

(All times Pacific Standard Time)

Saturday, Sept. 2

10 a.m.

LA Galaxy U-14 vs. Pateadores U-14

StubHub Center Field 7

12 p.m.

LA Galaxy U-15 vs. Pateadores U-15

StubHub Center Field 7

2:30 p.m.

LA Galaxy U-16/17 vs. Pateadores U-16/17

StubHub Center Field 7

5 p.m.

LA Galaxy U-18/19 vs. Pateadores U-18/19

StubHub Center Field 7

The U.S. Soccer Girls' Development Academy is the highest level of girls' youth soccer in the U.S., and its start represents the implementation of the Academy's philosophy and standards for the most committed youth clubs across the country. Academy clubs have an increased focus on training (minimum four training sessions per week) and play fewer total games in favor of more meaningful contests using international standards. The program prioritizes individual development ahead of winning team trophies and titles.

A U.S. Soccer player development initiative, the Academy provides direct access to the Federation's resources. Clubs receive a wealth of support with coaching education, scholarship funding, Academy staff dedicated to serving clubs, and support from Academy Technical Advisors that reside and work in club markets.

It also provides a clear pathway to National Team programs. More than 92 percent of players selected to Youth National Teams in the 2016-17 cycle came from Academy clubs, and 65 players from the most recent Women's and Girls' YNT roster call-ups will feature in the Academy this season.

A global leader in women's soccer, U.S. Soccer's implementation of the Girls' Academy is part of the Federation's efforts to grow the game and ensure that future National Teams continue to win at the highest level. Several current and former Women's National Team players are involved in the Academy to further this mission, including Brandi Chastain, Tobin Heath, Jen Lalor and Justi Baumgardt. Their experiences winning FIFA Women's World Cups and Olympic gold medals will be invaluable in raising the standard for female youth players.

U.S. Soccer is launching the Girls' Academy alongside the NWSL. Now in its fifth year, the league is the longest-tenured women's professional league ever in the United States. A total of 11 Girls' Academy clubs are affiliated with NWSL teams, marking a major step forward in the league's player development initiatives and the long-term growth of women's professional soccer.

On Wednesday, Aug. 30 at 12 p.m. PT, the U.S. Soccer Girls’ Development Academy will host a conference call with Academy Director Miriam Hickey and Women’s Technical Director April Heinrichs to discuss the launch of the Girls’ Development Academy.

Members of the media wishing to participate should dial (866) 352-2112 or (630) 691-2779 a few minutes before 3 p.m. ET. Please use the pin 8745946#.

A media kit containing information about the Girls’ Development Academy, listed below, can be found here.

<p>U.S. Soccer Girls’ Development Academy Launch Conference Call</p>
<p>Academy Director Miriam Hickey</p><p>Technical Director April Heinrichs</p>
<p>Wednesday, Aug. 30</p><p>12 p.m. PT&nbsp;</p>
<p>Call: (866) 352-2112 or (630) 691-2779</p><p>PIN: 8745946#</p>