Having been in the nation's capital for three weeks, head coach Vicki Linton has quickly got to work in developing her plan for the Canberra United Academy.
"It has been great being here in person, learning and getting to know how things are operating here," Linton said. "I have already conducted two workshops with the coaches to start building in some structures and some framework that we can really roll out next season."
Having worked in development programs in Australia for the past 20 years, Linton has spent the last three years with the U.S. Soccer Federation’s Development Academy, where she mentored academy directors to improve player and coach development.
Linton also played a part in the U.S. Soccer's Academy Directors Course, which is a 12-month program designed for academy directors and their leadership roles with their clubs.
"As part of the course, there were seven modules throughout the year, including an overseas trip to the UK, where we visited with the FA and we learned about their development programs," Linton shared. "We also visited Manchester City and Birmingham City's Girls Academy programs.
"The special thing about the U.S. Soccer landscape is the diversity, so for me, it was a real privilege to be exposed to all these different environments and how they did things. It really challenged me about how to help them, because I had to provide individualised support to each club.
"I got to see an array of different things over those three years, which has been really good for me coming into this role with the Canberra United Academy because I see things differently now."
Linton said the last three years has helped her gain a real understanding of the framework and processes needed in place for an Academy.
"My aim for CUA is to provide the best environment for individual player development within the team environment," Linton said. "That doesn't just happen. There needs to be a clear framework for development and a system in place so that we are very purposeful in how we go about it.
"That is what I am starting now, which takes time. We also want to link in with FFA with what is happening in junior and youth national teams, so it is not just about what we are doing by ourselves.
"It is really important that we are linking in with the national teams as we try to produce not only for Canberra United in the Westfield W-League but also giving players opportunities in the national system as well.
"I can't do it on my own so I want to empower and equip the coaches within the Canberra United Academy to deliver the program and these outcomes."
If you are interested in playing for the Canberra United Academy, please contact Canberra United Manager Caleb Smith on (02) 6189 2219 or via email.