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Philadelphia Ukrainian Nationals joining U.S. Soccer Development Academy

Horsham-based club will field a U12 team beginning this fall.

The Philadelphia Union Academy will be gaining another local rival beginning this fall at the U12 level of the U.S. Soccer Development Academy.

Horsham-based Philadelphia Ukrainian Nationals are one of 15 clubs joining the USSDA at the U12 level for the 2017-18 season. A total of 17 new clubs have joined the Academy across multiple age divisions as part of the second largest expansion the league has had since its founding in 2007. The U12 and U13 divisions both launched last fall.

“This expansion is a direct reflection of the commitment from existing Academy clubs and the permeating effect of the Academy influence on additional clubs across the country that are adopting the Academy philosophy,” Development Academy Director Jared Micklos said in a news release.

Other teams in the region in the U12 division include the Philadelphia Union Academy, PA Classics, Continental FC, and Lehigh Valley United. LVU competes at the U12, U13, and U14 level but not at the two higher age levels.

“The club’s very proud and honored to be chosen,” Boys Development Director Andy Stackhouse said in a recent interview. “We can’t wait to get started.”

Stackhouse said the hope is that additional age groups will be added in the future and that girls teams could also join the new Girls Academy that is kicking off its inaugural season this fall.

While new on the USSDA scene, the Philadelphia Ukrainian Nationals have a long tradition dating back to the club’s founding in 1950 and its heyday in the 1960s as six-time American Soccer League titles and four-time U.S. Open Cup champions.

The club’s director of soccer, Omid Namazi, is currently the head coach of the U.S. U18 team.