For the 2014-2015 season, the NPL’s Midwest Development League will split into two Divisions - an Academy Division and an Independent Division. The Academy Division will consist only of clubs that also have a program in the US Soccer Development Academy. As Minnesota’s only member of the US Soccer Development Academy, MN Thunder Academy will be the only club in Minnesota to participate in the NPL Academy Division.
The Academy Division will consist of the following Midwest clubs:
- Chicago Magic
- Crew Soccer Academy
- Crew Soccer Academy Wolves
- FC Wisconsin Nationals
- Internationals (OH)
- Minnesota Thunder
- Sockers FC -Chicago
- St Louis Scott Gallagher - Illinois
- St Louis Scott Gallagher – Missouri
- Vardar SC (MI)
The NPL Academy Division will follow the same schedule as the US Soccer Development Academy. The pairing of the schedules and structures of the NPL teams with the Development Academy teams will provide huge advantages in player development, staffing, and club structure.
The MN Thunder Academy NPL teams will travel with the MN Thunder Academy Development Academy teams to play NPL opponents at the same venues and locations as the Development Academy. This will allow Academy and NPL staff to work together and across both programs, will create a unique club culture, and will allow player movement between programs. In addition, with similar schedules beginning in 2014-2015, the NPL teams will now be on the same developmental training curriculum as the Development Academy teams.
The U13 and U14 NPL Teams will compete year round, while the U15-18 NPL Teams will compete in the spring.