A common critique of the Development Academy, which was run by U.S. Soccer until the federation pulled the plug last April, was players couldn't compete for their high schools.

There were waivers and exceptions, of course, but players were expected to be with their club team for the 10-month academy season, stretching from preseason in August through playoffs in June/July.

The club-run Girls Academy League took that into account upon launching in 2020-21, opting for a hybrid model. Simply put, players can choose between year-round academy soccer and spending the fall with their high school and then joining their club team.