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U.S. Soccer announces that the U.S. U-17 Residency Program will close after 18 years | INSIDER

CARSON, Calif. -- U.S. Soccer announced on Friday that the federation's residency program in Bradenton, Fla. will cease operations after 18 years

The U-17 residency program has spanned 18-years and was established in 1999 to foster an elite training environment for the best 20 young players in the country. The success of residency program led to the establishment of the U.S. Soccer Developmental Academy in 2007 which brought the program to the clubs. 

With the Development Academy in its 10th season and boasting 150 clubs up from the inaugural 63 teams, USSF decided the time was now to end the program after their final semester. 

“One of our main hopes when establishing the U.S. Soccer Residency Program was that at some point advancements in youth player development would make its existence no longer necessary--we believe that point has been reached.” U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati said in a statement. “Not only did the program develop a number of key players for our National Teams, it served as a model for academies across the country to follow. With the U.S. Development Academy having achieved high standards in preparing our young athletes, we are now able to impact future American professionals on a much larger scale.”

The program has fostered the growth of players like Galaxy legend Landon Donovan, Omar Gonzalez, as well as current Galaxy players including former U.S. U-17 captain Hugo Arellano, forward Jose Villarreal, midfielder Bradford Jamieson IV, and defender Nathan Smith. 

“It’s a bittersweet moment because the program has been invaluable for almost two decades as a critical piece of the development process for U.S. Soccer,” Under-17 Men’s National Team head coach John Hackworth said. “The end of the Residency Program signals the next step in the evolution of player development in this country.” 

The U.S. U-17 squad are currently in the midst of preparations for the U-17 FIFA World Cup. The  2017 CONCACAF U-17 Championship will run from April 21 to May 7 in Panama.