CHARLOTTE—Charlotte MLS has been formally invited to join the United States Development Academy, the club announced Tuesday.

Since 2007, the Development Academy has provided education, resources and support to clubs and youth organizations across the United States and Canada, in order to develop world-class players.

The Development Academy sets the standard for elite environments for youth soccer clubs nationwide, and is a part of U.S. Soccer’s global leadership position in youth soccer, which impacts thousands of players.

“We are delighted to unify the city of Charlotte, and the home-grown territories of North Carolina and South Carolina by providing a fully-funded academy program,” said Charlotte MLS Technical Director Marc Nicholls.

“The program is part of a long-term strategy to develop players that can represent Charlotte MLS on the pitch, as well as the wider community,” said Nicholls. “We have been very encouraged by the relationships we have made with the area’s existing soccer clubs. We look forward to working together as our programming evolves.”

Charlotte MLS will join the Development Academy for the 2020-21 season and is committed to commencing its youth academy program by August 2020. Technical staff are currently observing the talent pool in the region, and will use data and analytics to make informed, evidence-based recruitment decisions.