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Philadelphia Union and YSC Academy Partner to Launch New Era in U.S. Soccer Development

September 3, 2013 - Major League Soccer (MLS) - Philadelphia Union News Release

Chester, Pa. (Sept. 3, 2013) - Philadelphia Union and Official Youth Development Partner YSC Sports are excited to announce the launch of a new era in youth soccer development in the U.S. with the opening of YSC Academy, a state of the art private school for 8th through 12th grade elite soccer players.

Located adjacent to YSC Sports in Wayne, Pa., YSC Academy is a college preparatory school that provides motivated youth soccer players the opportunity to pursue their dreams of playing professional soccer while engaging in a top-level education program that prepares them for life beyond the game.

"Congratulations to YSC Academy on this historic announcement," said Philadelphia Union CEO Nick Sakiewicz, excited to see this opportunity come together for Philadelphia youth players. "We are proud to be affiliated with such a top class group of educators and look forward to being the motivational inspiration to the students to achieve their dreams."

All 32 students entering YSC Academy's inaugural year originate from Philadelphia Union's amateur youth soccer development programs, which are provided to selected youth players in the greater Philadelphia market free of cost. Student-athletes from the school will either play for their local club team or for Philadelphia Union amateur Academy squads (U14, U16 or U18). Some of YSC Academy student-athletes are also US National Team pool players. Over 60 percent of student-athletes enrolled in YSC Academy for the 2013-2014 school year are receiving financial aid, which is provided on an as need basis following NAIS guidelines.

"As an educator, I could not be more excited about the rigorous academic program we have developed utilizing current brain research on metacognition and learning for the student-athlete," YSC Academy Head of School Dr. Nooha Ahmed-Lee said. "Our educational curriculum is focused on developing skills of critical thinking, collaboration, character, creativity and confidence. In an ever-changing world where learning is 24/7 our blended learning approach ensures that each student is fully prepared for the world that lies ahead."

Success at YSC Academy will not exclusively be measured by how many players are produced to represent Philadelphia Union at PPL Park, but importantly in the quality of students and the strength of character developed as they pursue excellence both on and off the field of play. A daily routine for students will combine a strategic mixture of technical soccer and athletic development as well as rigorous academic courses.

"Core to YSC Academy's philosophy, and equally emphasized in Philadelphia Union's amateur youth development programs, is the idea of kids taking significant ownership in their learning process," YSC founder Rich Graham stated. "Teachers, coaches and parents can guide and facilitate, but ultimately education is in the hands of the student-athlete. Above all else, I am excited to see this special learning environment being made possible for kids in our community, and I can't wait to see the positive things they will achieve in life when given the chance to maximize their potential."

YSC Academy exists in support of Philadelphia Union's belief that youth development is the foundation for sustained on-field and off-field peak performance. Philadelphia Union and YSC Sports are deeply committed to being leaders in giving proactively and investing directly in the development of youth soccer.

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The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.