Website Manager

Hampton Roads Soccer

Official D.C. United Affiliate - Virginia Beach City FC

News Detail


May, 2021

Understanding US Youth Soccer and US Club Soccer

Navigating the difference between youth soccer governing bodies, leagues and club offerings is difficult, especially if a person is unfamiliar with the landscape.

We are hoping to simplify the understanding of the soccer landscape for our membership. It will continue to evolve and change in the future however, we believe the following are two core items that will stay constant in the United States. We think parents should look at these two core items when evaluating programs for their child.

  1. Training Environment – The most important aspect for the player and team is to have access to a fun and positive training environment that offers the right balance of challenge vs success. We believe the initial parent and child evaluation of a soccer program and club should be based on their opinion of the coach, training facilities and access to club resources for the coach, player, team and parents. Typically, if a club offers these items as a top priority, they will have access to local and national level league play.

  2. Governing Body – The club and league should be affiliated with United States Soccer Federation(USSF). This affiliation is typically done through youth soccer affiliates of US Soccer Federation. The two most common and largest governing bodies for youth soccer in the United States are USYS and US Club Soccer. The USSF is the official governing body of soccer in the United States as recognized by soccer's international governing body, FIFA.

Many parents and children wonder which platform is more elite or offers better services. The simple answer is: It is very subjective and is based on preference.

Both offer local and national league play, tournaments, and state cups. Both require separate insurance player cards to participate in their tournaments, leagues, and events. Therefore, a club normally will select to go with either USYS or US Club soccer. However, in some cases clubs will become members of both governing bodies to have access to more competition platforms. Again, this is very subjective and is based on the needs and wants of the club, teams, players and parents.  


United States Youth Soccer Association (USYSA)

Mission – “US Youth Soccer is a non-profit and educational organization whose mission is to foster the physical, mental and emotional growth and development of America's youth through the sport of soccer at all levels of age and competition.”

The US Youth Soccer membership is divided into four regions: East, Midwest, South and West. Fifty-five member State Associations make up US Youth Soccer with one in each state, and two in California, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Texas. Boys and girls then register to play with one of the 6,000+ clubs or leagues formed by their State Association.

US Club Soccer (US Club)

Mission – “US Club Soccer will foster the growth and development of soccer clubs throughout the United States to create the best possible development environment for players of all ages in every club.”


Each state association (Ex. Virginia Youth Soccer Association, VYSA) is part of the USYSA, but works independently with registration.  Teams must register with their state association and our governed by their state association rules and fees.

US Club Soccer:
US Club Soccer is a National organization where registration is run at the National level and online.  All registration is the same process and fee structure across the United States.


USYS hosts a State Cup through each state association (Ex. Virginia, VYSA). The winner of the state cup will advance to regional and national tournament play.

US Club Soccer
US Club Soccer offers state cup championships through its affiliated state league (Ex. The VPSL hosts the US Club Virginia State Cup).  The winner advances to the National Cup Finals.


USYS manages their national league through USYS (Ex. USYS National League) and manages their local leagues independently through each state association may qualify into the Regional League which qualifies into the National League.  Each state association and regional association has different qualifying rules to advance to the next level.

National and Regional Platform:

  • MLS Next
  • Girls Academy (GA)
  • USYS National League
  • USYS National Conferences (Regional via EDP)

State League Examples (Virginia)

  • Club Champions League
  • National Capitol Soccer League (NCSL)
  • Virginia Soccer League (VSL)
  • Skyline Club Soccer League
  • Old Dominion Soccer League (ODSL)
  • Tidewater Area Soccer League (TASL)

US Club Soccer
US Club Soccer has local leagues, regional leagues and National leagues. 

National Platform:

  • ECNL Girls
  • ECNL Boys
  • NPL

State League Examples:

  • Virginia Premier Soccer League (Recently cobranded as the ECNL Regional League, Virginia)


The US Youth Soccer Olympic Development Program was formed in 1977 to identify a pool of players in each age group from which a National Team will be selected for international competition; to provide high-level training to benefit and enhance the development of players at all levels; and, through the use of carefully selected and licensed coaches, develop a mechanism for the exchange of ideas and curriculum to improve all levels of coaching. ODP is a tryout format where players tryout to be selected for a district, state, regional, then national team. Players selected for their district team earn the opportunity to be selected for their state team. And the process continues until the national team. Each level normally consists of fees which cover coaching, fields, games, and/or camps.

US Club Soccer
US Club Soccer uses two types of player identification - Player Development Programs (PDP) and id2.

  1. US Club Soccer’s Player Development Programs (PDPs) are regionally based identification and developmental programs conducted within the id2 Program umbrella. PDPs are focused around the National Premier Leagues (NPL/ECNL) and other top leagues in specific geographic areas.

    PDP invitations are based upon objective scouting of elite clubs and leagues, combined with recommendations from top Directors of Coaching. Each PDP includes at least one training session and one internal competition. Some PDPs also include off-field educational components, as well.

  2. Established in 2004, US Club Soccer’s id2 National Identification and Development Program provides an opportunity for the country’s elite youth soccer players to be identified and developed, and scouted for inclusion in U.S. Soccer’s National Team programs.


In summary, our club focuses on our training environment as our top priority.

For our club, we look to utilize both USYS and US Club. In some cases our club or a select numbers of teams may use both platforms. For example, there are two state cups in Virginia. A team can technically sign up for state cup through USYS and also US Club with the opportunity to advance to a national event in both USYS and US Club Soccer.

However, the majority of our teams currently participate in USYS competitions based on league and program offerings in Virginia.

Our club will always put our teams and players first. One of the best ways to provide benefit to our membership (teams, players and parents) is to provide a premium training experience every week. The games on the weekend give us the opportunity to showcase our training environment. Like winning, if we "focus on what we can control" within our club we will always have access to local, regional and national events for our membership. 

Contact Us

Virginia Beach City FC

Jadyn Wright Club Operations Director, 930 Denison Ave Suite 105
Norfolk, Virginia 23513

Email: [email protected]

Virginia Beach City FC

Jadyn Wright Club Operations Director, 930 Denison Ave Suite 105
Norfolk, Virginia 23513

Email: [email protected]
Copyright © 2023 Hampton Roads Soccer - Virginia Beach City FC  |  Privacy Statement |  Terms Of Use |  License Agreement |  Children's Privacy Policy  Login