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Three area clubs join new Girls Academy League

SJEB Rush, PA Classics and Philadelphia Ukrainian Nationals joining new league

A new girls elite development league that has formed out of the ashes of the U.S. Soccer Development Academy has recruited three area clubs to join for the 2020-2021 season.

SJEB Rush and PA Classics are both joining the league after the announcement earlier this month that U.S. Soccer was pulling the plug on both the girls and boys development academy leagues. Philadelphia Ukrainian Nationals has also joined the nascent league.

The three area clubs will be part of the eight-team Mid-Atlantic Conference. Cedar Stars Academy, Baltimore Armour, Arlington Soccer, TSJ FC Virginia and Metro United have also been announced.

Penn Fusion announced last week that is was rejoining the Girls Elite Clubs National League, which it was one of the founding clubs in before departing for the newly formed girls development academy in 2017.

The announcement of the new Girls Academy League covers all four of the local clubs that fielded teams in the Girls Development Academy. The Philadelphia Union will be part of a new league run by MLS; announcements have not been made about FC Delco and PA Classics on the boys side. Both clubs fielded teams in the DA dating back to its inaugural season in 2007.

Don D’Ambra, executive director of SJEB Rush, said being able to continue to work with many of the “like minded clubs” they’ve worked with in the past was a draw of the new league.

“We feel this will be the best national platform for our players because of the elite level competition, the regional and national events planned for college recruitment and the strong emphasis on player development,” he said in a team statement.

The statement from Ukrainian Nationals said the league will provide a platform for their teams to “challenge themselves.”

Todd Wawrousek, PA Classics Girls DA Director, referred to the Girls Academy league as “an incredible alliance of clubs in our region and across the country.”