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USL Academy


The purpose of the USL Academy Standards is to create optimal player development environments and provide local youth prospects the best chance of reaching the professional level, all league-approved USL Academy programs will be required to meet a set of minimum standards across a series of categories listed out in this document. By developing these standards, USLHQ aims to pursue the following key goals:

Build Pathways: Establish as many youth to pro player development pathways as possible, linking elite youth organizations with USL Senior Teams in Championship, League One, & League Two. 

Produce Players: Increase the number & quality of locally produced talents for USL Senior Teams, while striving to develop world-class players able to compete at the highest level.

Drive Return on Investment: Provide USL ownership groups an efficient player development model for their Senior Teams, while increasing the likelihood of a return on that investment.

Improve Quality: Improve the standard of long-term player development programs across the United States, positively impacting every aspect of those environments & pathways.

Steve Firth - Technical Director and Head Coach of the USL Academy

Steve grew up playing soccer in the UK with Huddersfield Town Football Club. He played for them up to the age of 17 and then became a coach in their academy system where he coached many boys who are currently playing professionally in the UK today. After playing Steve attended Huddersfield University where he received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Sports Science and Child Psychology.

Steve previously worked with Adidas and taught Sports Science while coaching at Barnsley College in the UK. He moved to the US in 2002 and coached in Chicago before moving to Texas where he was the DOC at Waco United Soccer Club 2003-2007. In 2006 and 2007, Steve was an assistant coach with the womens’ soccer program at Baylor University and helped take them to the Big 12 tournament for the first time in six years.

Steve will be the Technical Director for the AHFC Royals organization as well as the Head Coach of the USL Academy in their inaugural  season


Phone: 713-574-0070