Chivas USA's Youth Academy Earns Better Grades in Latest USSDA Evaluations

The Revs are leading the pack on the Academy front, but Chivas USA are moving up. - Jared Wickerham

The Junior Goats keep climbing upwards, and the USSDA agrees.

Recently, the U.S. Soccer Development Academy released their annual evaluations of all of the member clubs, and the good news is that Chivas USA's Academy has been upgraded over the previous evaluation. In comparing the graded categories between the last two years, Chivas USA got a better grade in three categories, stayed even in one, and dropped a half-point in the other.

2010-11 Evaluation 2011-12 Evaluation
Style of Play 2.5 3
Training Environment 2.5 3.5
Administrative 3 3
Funding 4 5
Respect Initiative* 3.5 3
Total 15.5 17.5

* RESPECT is an initiative to promote good discipline. It combines the disciplinary record of the team with the staff and parent/spectators' behavior on the sidelines.

Overall, this is good news for the Goats' Academy, if somewhat expected. Although some of these factors aren't normally visible from the results, the Chivas USA Academy has been on an uptick over the past year, with the Goats getting to the U18 USSDA Finals, and the U15s winning the Generation Adidas Cup.

In terms of the division that Chivas USA plays in, here's how the teams stacked up in the new evaluations:

Team Total Evaluation
Real Salt Lake-Arizona 17.5
Chivas USA 17.5
LA Galaxy 16
Real So Cal 13.5
Strikers FC 13.5
Pateadores 13
San Diego Surf 12.5
Arsenal FC 11
Nomads SC 11

Clearly, this shows that Chivas USA has built an infrastructure and is putting it together on the field. However, they are moving from an upstart role to a power, and will have to maintain the performances on the field if they want to break out of a tough USSDA division.

To further put these latest evaluations in perspective, Dave Clark over at Seattle Sounders SB Nation blog Sounder At Heart recently compiled a table of the MLS clubs, plus some of the non-MLS Academy evaluations. It shows that while Chivas have made improvements in the past year, they still have work to do if they want to have the top academy in the league or country. Tied for fourth among MLS clubs is strong, but the Goats can't sit on their laurels for this season if they want to be the best.

All in all, the latest evaluations are good news for Chivas USA's Academy, one that is hopefully training the first team Goats of the near future.

What do you think? Leave a comment below!

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