ORLANDO, Fla. (January 9, 2017) – Orlando City SC has partnered with the Soccer Institute at Montverde Academy (S.I.M.A.) to manage and operate its U.S. Soccer Development Academy program. The U-15, U-17 and U-19 boys age groups will move to Montverde’s facilities by the end of the month. The girls’ teams and the boys U-12 through U-14 groups will remain the same and continue to use Sylvan Lake Park facilities in Sanford, Fla.
“This is an entirely new strategy designed to increase and grow the overall investment in our Development Academy, while offering our younger players the best development opportunities,” CEO Alex Leitão said. “S.I.M.A. is an accomplished program with a consistent track record of producing top young talents and exceptional young adults.”
Orlando City Development Academy players will continue to be coached by professional youth coaches. They will also have access to S.I.M.A.’s on-site residency programs for student-athletes and the opportunity to take advantage of its college preparatory academic programs.
Orlando City First Team assistant coach and Academy technical director Bobby Murphy will oversee the development of Academy prospects in conjunction with Mike Potempa, a former U.S. youth national team player and All-American at Clemson University.
“We are excited about this new partnership with Orlando City SC because of what we feel we can accomplish by bringing our resources and expertise together,” added Potempa. “Our residential capabilities will allow us to implement a domestic scouting network to attract the best youth talents throughout the U.S. for a world class education in the classroom and superior training environment with our technical staff on the field. I believe this is the ideal model of youth soccer development necessary to make a major global impact.”
The S.I.M.A. program has earned multiple national championships and holds the longest active unbeaten streak in the history of high school soccer in the United States. The S.I.M.A. program has produced 17 student-athletes who have signed professional contracts at 18 years old in Major League Soccer (MLS), the United Soccer League (USL) and various leagues around the world.
“The Academy was founded in 1912 and consistently provides children from around the world with an exceptional college preparatory education We are looking forward to working together with Orlando City to continue preparing athletes on and off the field and to prepare them for life itself,” said Dr. Kasey C. Kesselring, Headmaster of the Academy.
The partnership will also see more investment at the elementary youth levels. Beginning in February 2018, free early childhood soccer development programs for boys and girls in Orlando between the ages of 3 and 12 will be available at the campus of Montverde.
“Through this new partnership, we feel we are creating an environment where our Academy kids can develop into well-rounded young adults and soccer players who could compete at the highest professional levels,” added Leitão.