(Via Toronto FC) – Toronto FC announced today that the TFC Academy’s application to join the U.S. Soccer Development Academy (USSDA) for the 2018-19 season has officially been accepted by U.S. Soccer. Toronto FC will field three teams (U-19, U-17, U-15) beginning play in September 2018.

“Our goal for Toronto FC is to eventually have the core of our roster built with local Canadian talent that has developed within our Academy,” said Toronto FC General Manager Tim Bezbatchenko. “In order to ensure that happens we need our players to regularly play against the best competition in North America both as a development tool and a measuring stick.”

The USSDA was founded in 2007 with the intent of creating an environment to assist in maximizing youth player development. The USSDA currently comprises of 197-member clubs now including all 23 MLS Academies. TFC will join both the Montreal Impact and Vancouver Whitecaps as the only Canadian members of the USSDA.

“In addition to the pro environment we create at BMO Training Ground with our first team, TFC II and our academy training together, playing in the USSDA will set us apart,” said TFC Assistant Academy Director Anthony Capotosto. “Our academy players will be heavily scouted and get exposure to international competition that will aid in their development and create opportunities to play professionally and at the university level in both Canada and the U.S.”