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Ocean City Nor’easters launch a youth academy



Ocean City Nor’easters has long been known for developing players for the next level but with their new youth academy they are aiming to get involved in the pathway to the professional game even earlier.

“The academy is the logical progression of our player development pathway,” said Nor’easters Sporting Director Kevin Nuss in a news release. “We have helped promote the country’s best college players to the professional ranks for the last 25-plus years but only a handful have come out of South Jersey. We know there are extremely talented young players in South Jersey and as a club, it is vital that we identify them and begin working with them as early as possible.”

The academy will be based in Camden County at Camden Catholic High School. Academy leadership is comprised of current first-team Head Coach Matt Perrella, Nuss and Nor’easters Director of Soccer Operations Alex Lewis.

The club’s exclusive territory as assigned by USL covers all of Cape May, Atlantic, Cumberland, Salem, Gloucester, and Camden counties as well as parts of Burlington County.

“When you think about South Jersey, you think about the entire region from the shore to the suburbs,” Lewis said. “Philly soccer culture is rich, but through the Academy, we’re providing a unique offering that can’t be found anywhere else in the area. We want to add something new to the South Jersey picture and bring a wider group into this Nor’easters tradition.”

By entering USL Academy, players in the Nor’easters Academy will participate in the same ecosystem as the club’s first team which plays their matches in USL League Two. USL-2 is a pre-pro league designed to prepare college-aged players for professional contracts. The full USL system encompasses a single pipeline from the youth level up through semi-pro and all the way to the fully professional USL League One and USL Championship levels.

The Nor’easters are the reigning two-time Mid-Atlantic Division champions in USL-2. The club has produced more than 110 professional players including 35 Major League Soccere draft picks. Recent Philadelphia Union signing Nick Pariano starred for the Nor’easters in their 2022 and 2023 USL League Two seasons, and other pro alumni include MLS Cup Final MVP John McCarthy and striker Simon Becher, who currently plays for Danish 1st Division side AC Horsens.

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Philadelphia Lone Star, Real Central Jersey and Lancaster FC are also part of the USL Academy, which has clubs fielding both boys and girls teams in the league.

Matthew Ralph is the managing editor of Philadelphia Soccer Now / Brotherly Game. He's covered soccer at all levels for many years in the Philadelphia region and has also written for, NPSL, PrepSoccer and other publications. He lives with his wife and two young children in Broomall, Pa., but grew up in South Jersey and is originally from Kansas.

Copyright © 2024 Philadelphia Soccer Now and Brotherly Game

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