The Spokane Sounders are excited to announce that the club has accepted the invitation to become a member of the Girls Academy League, providing a new height of play on a national platform for the girls contingent of teams within the club.
With highly competitive coaches and teams from U9 up through the WPSL and NPSL Shadow First Team sides, Spokane Sounders offers an unprecedented pathway for players in eastern Washington from youth to professional. Joining the Girls Academy League mirrors the club’s addition to the ECNL Boys a year ago that elevated the opportunities for the young men in the club.
“We are humbled and grateful for our inclusion into the Girls Academy League,” said Kevin Moon, Girls Director of Coaching for Spokane SC Sounders. “We are excited to be a part of a league that will further the development of our players at the highest level available in our region and the opportunity to maximize college exposure for our players.”
Furthermore, a groundbreaking player-focused management aspect to the Girls Academy League is an approach that we are intrigued to be a part of as the league launches with new ideas, goals and priorities when it comes to developing young female athletes and on and off the pitch.”
One of the features of the Girls Academy League is the Girls Academy Advisory Panel (GAAP). The GAAP provides the players a formal way to advocate for the collective voice of the players through a governance pathway to the GA Board. The mission of the GAAP is to enhance the overall experience for the players in the Girls Academy by creating and maintaining a player-ed advisory board that enables the players to engage in strategic initiatives that drive the long-term sustainability of the GA and overall advancement of youth soccer.
A newly-created national league, the Girls Academy League is comprised of former US Soccer Developmental Academy clubs that came together with the previously existing Development Player League after the dissolution of the US Soccer Development Academy by US Soccer several months ago. After the shuttering of the USDA nearly two-thirds of the former member clubs worked together to forge the Girls Academy League. The DPL was formed to serve the needs of many US Soccer Development Academy clubs that needed an elite tier of competition for reserve teams and players. Many teams in the DPL quickly become competitive not only with peers in other national leagues at open events, but additionally against DA teams themselves.
The Girls Academy League recently announced former 26-year University of Washington head coach Lesle Gallimore as the first-ever commissioner. In addition to her stellar success at UW, Gallimore also recently served on the Board of Directors for United Soccer Coaches and was President in 2018. Her Husky accolades included a pair of Pac-12 Coach of the Year honors and 15 NCAA tourney appearances that featured a pair of Elite Eight finishes. She helped develop numerous All-Americans, professional players and US Women’s National Team members.
“We are also thrilled to be joining a league that will have leadership that not only brings a collegiate perspective via her experience, but also understands some of the unique off the field challenges and demands that the sport holds outside of the longstanding soccer development hotbeds of California, Florida and the northeast. Lesle is one of the most respected coaching voices in the nation as witnessed by her election to the United Soccer Coaches presidential post by her peers.
Gallimore will serve as the spokesperson for the GA, driving quality standards, engaging stakeholders, and providing oversight on all operational functions. Her strategic direction will be guided by the mission, vision, and core values of the GA, derived from the voice of the GA players and the GA clubs.
About Girls Development Academy
The Girls Academy (GA) is a national youth soccer platform that represents the collective vision of member clubs and actively engages the voice of the players to take real ownership in the GA. This collaborative philosophy creates a culture guided by a shared set of core values, which produces an unparrallelled experience uniquely designed in the best interest of the players. The GA embraces the desire of club members and GA players alike to maintain an unrivaled standard of excellence in coach, competition, and regional and national showcase events throughout the year. Lastly, the GA is committed to cultivating an environment that empowers each player to reach their best potential as an exceptional athlete and human being by celebrating the player’s journey with a lifelong love of the game through competition, showcases and camaraderie.