Columbus Crew SC to discontinue U12, U13 levels in Academy program


The Columbus Crew SC is making cuts to some of its programs for kids.

A letter sent to Crew SC Academy families this week says it will not continue play for the under 12 and under 13 Academy teams next year.

Some soccer parents say the announcement is disappointing.

"Right now she's having two practices a week and a game on Sunday," parent Rachel Brown said.

Rachel Brown's 5-year-old daughter Reagan kicks the soccer ball around as much as she can.

Her goal is to go pro after all.

"Not a lot of MLS clubs have something for females so the fact that Columbus Crew did was amazing," Brown said.

Little Reagan is part of the Columbus Crew SC Player Development program.

"So they are trying to teach them the very basics of soccer and teaching them teamwork and just coming together and playing as a team," Brown said.

Reagan could be sidelined though, after Rachel learned the program would be moved.

"So the player development is now being transitioned into Sporting Columbus," Brown said.

That means Reagan might need to find a new soccer club to play for, and she isn't the only one who's been benched.

"There were 5 families that were going to move into U12's, and we're going to have to bring 17 new families in, so we had a communication with those 5 families, saying here's what the plans are," Columbus Crew SC Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter said.

A letter sent this week to Academy program families from Columbus Crew SC Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter, said "we are shifting the Club's strategy to broaden the pool of players affected by our program."

The letter went on to say the U12 and U13 Academy teams will not continue next year.

"I don't think we're good enough to say that 22 12-year-olds are the only 12-year-olds that need development and we'd rather affect a broader pool," Berhalter said.

Reagan's mom is disappointed in the announcement.

"I felt for the parents, I felt for the kids," Brown said.

Brown hopes the cuts aren't a sign the Crew is leaving Columbus.

"In a perfect world we keep our team, we get a new owner. I would love for Player Development Academy to come back," Brown said.

Brown's daughter will keep playing the sport she loves though, no matter what.

The Crew SC will continue its Academy program at Under 14, 15, 17 and 19 levels through the 2018-19 season.