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United Soccer League continues innovating the Women’s Pathway, appoints Sarah Brady to lead USL Academy for girls

By Staff, 08/18/22, 1:00PM EDT


The United Soccer League has appointed Sarah Brady as the USL Academy Director for the women’s pathway.

TAMPA, Fla. - The United Soccer League reinforced its commitment to growing the women’s game in America by announcing Sarah Brady as the USL Academy Director for the women’s pathway.  

Brady, a well-respected coach, instructor, and youth director, will lead the USL’s efforts to build out the USL Academy program for girls — a foundational layer in the USL’s unique “youth-to-pro” player-development structure. This expansion of the USL women’s pathway is designed to identify more talented young players in local communities and provide them a clear roadmap from the developmental Academy level to the pre-professional W League and, upon its launch, to the fully professional Super League. 

“The hiring of Sarah is the latest milestone in the continued evolution of the USL’s unprecedented women’s soccer developmental pathway,” said USL Super League President Amanda Vandervort. “She brings years of experience coaching at a high level and, as a former coach in the W League, has direct experience within the USL ecosystem. Her passion and knowledge of the game will help the USL and our clubs continue to develop one of the best pathways in the world.”  

Supporting USL clubs’ local player-development initiatives and evolving the USL Academy competition structures for girls are integral to the USL’s long-term strategy to unlock the potential of talented girls across the United States. The USL developmental pathway provides more opportunities than ever for young American girls to pursue professional soccer, and with the upcoming launch of the Super League, those opportunities will grow exponentially as the USL’s women’s soccer ecosystem becomes the United States’ most holistic integrated player pathway to the pros.  

“The USL’s incredible dedication to growing the women’s game at all levels is an inspiration for anyone with a passion for women’s soccer,” Brady said. “We are laying a foundation for our complete player-development pathway for girls, and I am delighted to be a part of that evolution.” 

A native of Liverpool, England, Brady comes to the USL with more than 12 years’ experience developing young talent in the United States. She holds a UEFA “B” License, a USSF “B” License, and a United Soccer Coaches Premier Diploma. 

Most recently, Brady was head coach for AC Connecticut SC in the inaugural season of the USL W League, while also serving as the club’s Girls Director of Coaching. Previously, Brady was the Girls Head Coach for New Jersey ODP, the Girls Technical Director at Parsippany Soccer Club, and the Girls Director of Coaching at Easton Redding Soccer Club. Sarah has also held coaching positions at Manhattan College and Iona College.

She earned her Bachelors in Sport & Exercise Science from Leeds Metropolitan University and recently completed her Masters in Soccer Coaching Education at Ohio University.

Success of the USL Women’s Pathway 

Dedicated to creating thousands of opportunities for players, fans, coaches and staff in the women’s game, the USL women’s pathway is already seeing positive outcomes after being formed little more than a year ago.  

The launch of the pre-professional W League in May 2022 with 44 teams across the country saw more than 1,600 players compete in a professional-level environment and fans turn out in remarkable numbers. The season culminated with a dramatic W League Final won by South Georgia Tormenta SC, 2-1, over hosts Minnesota Aurora FC in front of nearly 6,500 fans and an international broadcast audience. 

The W League’s success provides early proof that the USL’s women’s pathway is helping develop talent: 

  • 11 W League players who participated in the inaugural season have so far gone on to sign professional contracts; 

  • 27 players with USL Academy Cup experience competed in the W League this season. 

The W League is projected to expand to more than 60 teams in 2023. 

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