As the soccer landscape in the United States evolves, one of the newest way to advance towards regional and national teams is Nike's new Player Development Program. The prestigious ID2 program is fully sponsored by the shoe giant, meaning that invited players pay nothing and even receive free Nike gear. Recently, ten invited FC Alliance players participated in a camp in Charlotte, North Carolina. All ten had been scouted at December 8-9 National Premier League games, a league which FC Alliance has exclusive membership to as East Tennessee's representative. Now, the players anxiously await to see if they will advance in the program.
One of the biggest differences between Nike's program and the more traditional ODP program is the exclusivity. A player must be recommended for Nike ID2 PDP before being allowed to try out. FC Alliance's membership in the US Club National Premier League gives players access to an official stage for program scouts.
"PDP invitations are based upon objective scouting of elite clubs and leagues, combined with recommendations from top Directors of Coaching," states US Club's informational web site on the program. "U.S. Soccer staff may also be on-site to scout players for potential U.S. National Team [inclusion]."
FC Alliance players who participated were:
In addition, FC Alliance Director of Coaching Josh Gray was selected as a coach for the boys program. Several other FC Alliance players were invited, but did not attend due to a state league game conflict. Those players will likely participate in the near future.
"The fact that we had ten players and a coach there speaks volumes about how far we have come," said Director of Operations Jon Schneider. "It's exciting to see players and coaches get these high profile opportunities in a national forum."
FC Alliance will publicize the results of the camp as soon as they are released. Even if none of the players advance, just the volume of players invited to try out has made the club proud.