US Club National Premier League

MN Thunder Academy is pleased to announce its participation in US Club Soccer’s newly-formed National Premier Leagues (NPL) – Midwest Conference for boys for the fall of 2011.  MN Thunder Academy is the only club in Minnesota

MN Thunder Academy will participate in the Great Lakes Division of the Midwest Conference, which includes the U-13, U-14, U-15, U-16 and U-18 boys’ age groups.

The National Premier Leagues will consist of multiple conferences throughout the country, and will offer the best platform for long-term player development by providing consistent and meaningful games between the region’s top players. Additionally, the league will provide opportunities for players to be scouted by U.S. Soccer national staff. Finally, winners of each National Premier Leagues conference will qualify for US Club Soccer’s League Champions Cup in July 2012.

The 23 clubs competing in the National Premier Leagues – Midwest Conference include all of the U.S. Soccer Development Academy clubs and the top clubs outside the Development Academy in the Midwest:

Great Lakes Division:

• Bavarian SC (WI)
• Chicago Fire Academy (IL)
• Chicago Magic (IL)
• FC Milwaukee Nationals (WI)
• FC United (IL)
• Blue Valley SC (KS)
• Madison 56ers (WI)
• MN Thunder Academy (MN)
• Rockford Raptors (IL)
• St. Louis Scott Gallagher-Metro (IL)
• St. Louis Scott Gallagher-Missouri (MO)
• Sockers F.C. Chicago (IL)
• Sporting KC Juniors (KS)

Erie Division:

• Carmel United (IN)
• Cincinnati United SC (OH)
• Crew Juniors (OH)
• Fort Wayne Fever (IN)
• Grand Rapids Crew Juniors (MI)
• Internationals SC (OH)
• Michigan Jaguars FC (MI)
• Michigan Wolves SC (MI)
• Vardar (MI)
• WAZA F.C. (MI)

“We are very excited to be a founding member of the National Premier Leagues – Midwest Conference,” said Rob Zahl, MN Thunder Academy Boys Director of Coaching. “This provides an avenue for our top male players to compete against the best players and clubs in the region every year, and at every age group. We expect the NPL to be an important part of improving player development and opportunity for our players.”

Games in the Midwest Conference will kick off in September 2011 in the U-13 and U-14 age group, where participating teams will play 12-14 total regular-season games over the fall and spring season. The U-15, U-16 and U-18 teams will play 9-11 regular-season games in the spring of 2012. Cross-divisional games will be played at optional showcase events throughout the year.

Midwest Conference champions will be crowned in a postseason tournament in which eight qualifying teams in each age group at U-14 and above will compete. From there, Midwest Conference champions will compete at the League Champions Cup.

Details of other conferences in the National Premier Leagues will be announced in the coming weeks.

The National Premier Leagues website

The Midwest Development League website

Overview of NPL vision, structure and future

For information about MN Thunder Academy National Premier League’s program, please contact

About US Club Soccer:
US Club Soccer is a non-profit organization whose mission is to develop competitive club soccer in the United States. A member of the United States Soccer Federation since July 2001, US Club Soccer has grown to include member clubs and leagues in all 50 states. In addition to sanctioning and administering tournaments, leagues and other competitions as well as offering a range of programs for its members, US Club Soccer annually conducts the National Cup. US Club Soccer also directs its own player identification and development program – id2.