PITTSBURGH (May 7, 2018) – The Riverhounds SC Development Academy (RDA) has announced the formation of RDA II reserve teams for the 2018-19 season to heighten focus on solving challenges with developing young players through a critical age range of 10-16 years old.
The RDA will take concerted steps to reshape its rosters for top teams, scaling back from the 22-24 players that has traditionally been the size of its teams since 2012-13. The reduction in numbers is intended to create a highly competitive field of eight to 10 players per chronological age that can be joined by another set of players from the year older or younger to comprise RDA II rosters.
RDA II teams will be formed at the Under-11/12, Under-13/14 and Under-15/16 levels on both the boys and girls sides of the competitive team model.
“The objective here is not to add teams, but instead increase the net value for each player in our system by decreasing the inevitable barriers that tend to stall development when players are lost in the pack,” Sporting Director Jason Kutney said.
This approach will enable RDA directors to maintain a consistent engagement of all players in the system by creating a more realistic, beneficial and sustainable pathway to the top RDA teams. The new platform will ultimately strengthen player-to-coach ratios in all training sessions while adding meaningful game minutes across the board.
“If you have a larger pool of players, you may have six to eight players per team who are less engaged at any point in time,” Kutney said. “Here, we take the same pool of players and manage them through three smaller groupings, each receiving the attention, resources and opportunities necessary to flourish.”
RDA II sides will train on different nights than their associated top RDA teams. Additionally, by reducing the total number of players on each top RDA team roster, spaces will be available for RDA II players to participate in RDA competitions, games and tournaments via US Club Soccer at all times throughout the year.
“Players excel when being pushed, and this will demand more out of all of our players and coaches,” Director of Coaching Scott Gibson said. “We are loading top coaches into these RDA II sides and will be regularly assessing the RDA and RDA II players. We want a healthy environment where players can be motivated and rewarded, but also one where we can apply real pressures without sacrificing playing time.”
Training twice per week, RDA II scheduling will leave room for players to be pulled into additional RDA sessions. Just the same, RDA players may be involved in RDA II sessions as based upon a variety of factors, including form, fitness and recovery. While RDA II sides will not compete in the ECNL at the older age groups, RDA II players will be eligible for participation in ECNL events with the top RDA sides at all times.
Rosters for RDA II sides will be formed from the main RDA tryouts that commence this week. Player selections will be made and announced to athletes at the conclusion of tryout sessions.