Skip to main content



NUSA's academy structure is unlike 'academy' models at most other clubs in the US which are specifically age-based. Most clubs, even at U12 and below, separate their players into A, B, and C teams based on their current age during training where they experience limited player movement and often train at different locations under the guidance of different coaches. Our Academy structure more closely resembles that of professional academies from Europe and South America which are ability based, not strictly age-based. Lower Academies train at the same place and time and the Academies are overseen by an Academy Director.

In the lower academies there are no "set" teams, rather POOLS are formed for competitive games based on on-going coaching assessments, player's current abilities and/or the level of competition. At these ages, the specific "team" a player is on for a weekend game is far less important than the emphasis on engaging, challenging and FUN training sessions and playing games in a positive learning environment for player growth.

Due to the varying rates at which young players develop physically, psychologically, and socially, players will often move up or down within an academy or academies. NUSA's focus is on the long term individual development of each and every player. The goal is for players to train and play in a learning environment which both allows them to achieve success while also challenging them. A learning environment with too much of one or the other is not conducive for long term player development.

“True player development focuses on the development of the player, not the development of the team! Up to age 12, this should be the only criteria used in designing and running youth soccer programs.”

Ron Quinn, US Youth Soccer

In the Upper Academies (U13-19) player movement still occurs during the season or year. whether it’s weekly at training, guest playing or a permanent move between teams or age groups. NUSA would like to have more fluid movement of players between teams (like most professional youth academies around the world) however due to TSSA rules movement between team rosters (not guest playing) during the season is often permanent for the remainder of that season.

NUSA players are being evaluated every week and discussions with age group directors are happening often to insure what is best for the players. Part of our process is to validate roster selections early in the fall season and make necessary changes before we get into competitive events. We’ll re-evaluate our rosters again over the winter and obviously again during summer tryouts.

Moving players to the appropriate environment can improve confidence and increase playing time and often influence their commitment to the new team in a positive way!

The goal for every player in the club is to place them in an environment where they are both challenged yet also achieve success. Too much of one or the other is not conducive to longterm player growth and development.


NUSA is proud of our consistent training curriculum, throughout the club, which is focused on long term individual player development over focusing on short term game results . Our licensed coaching staff implement our curriculum and assure that the players are exposed to a training environment which covers the principles and phases of play from every aspect of the game. The consistent philosophy and methodology within NUSA's curriculum and the balance in training between making sessions fun, competitive and challenging is key for true long term individual player development.

NUSA adopts a “Whole-Part-Whole” method to their training sessions. We believe that the Whole-Part-Whole learning model goes beyond a holistic, behavioristic ‘Whole-Part’ and ‘Part-Whole’ learning model. The Whole-Part-Whole learning model suggests that there is a natural Whole-Part-Whole rhythm to learning.

The Whole-Part-Whole learning model provides the player with a higher understanding of the content (Phases of Play/Game Principles) at various levels of performance and allows for higher order cognitive development to the levels of improvement and invention.

“Let us say that you and I coached two teams with kids that are 10, 11, and 12 years old and all about equally good. You try to teach them to play good soccer, a passing game with tactical basics while I tell mine to only play long balls and try to shoot. I can assure you that at first, I will always win against you, by using your mistakes. Intercept a bad pass and goal. If we, however, continue with the same training methods during a three-year period, your team will have learned how to play while mine hasn't. That's how easy it is.”



In the US, youth soccer has become big business. Often the players and long term development are not the first priority. Many clubs have their teams play several games every weekend and participate in many tournaments both locally and out of town per season with no weekends off. Their training to game ratio is often low. Team costs can mount up, often putting stress on families, and burnout can occur with both players and families members.

At NUSA we believe that training is the major driver of true development and a scaled (pyramid) approach to the number of games played and the amount children travel for games is very important for keeping the game FUN and exciting, while avoiding burnout and keeping the game affordable and accessible.

We strive to maintain high training: game ratios that allow our coaches to best prepare players develop long-term.

We have a scaled approach from Lower Academies through U18/19 regarding the amount of travel and games played to avoid high costs for families and player burnout.

U12 and below Lower Academies will stay local (with the exception of one out of town event) and do not play every weekend.

NUSA’s Upper Academy Teams will compete in a variety of competitions ranging from Tennessee State League (TSL), Regional Premier League (RPL), National League, Showcase Tournaments, ‘Super’ Friendlies to local friendlies.

U13-15 teams will compete up to a Regional Level but not play and travel every weekend.

U16-19 teams will compete up to the National Level and will compete in Showcase events where more games and traveling may be involved.

**At NUSA, excelling players in the club from U12-19 will train up with either the team above or age group above once per week.**
**Excelling U16-19 players and teams will train 3x per week at no additional cost**

Since NUSA was formed in 2015 many NUSA players have received soccer based scholarships to play in College or University (from Division 1 to NAIA across the country), signed with professional clubs and playing for the Youth National Team. A scaled and player focused approach to development has been key to this success.


NUSA's Mission, Vision, and Philosophy is to make competitive soccer more affordable and accessible for all players and give more players the opportunity to play competitive club soccer and achieve their goals. Financial aid is available for players who make the competitive academies from any of NUSA's recreational or outreach soccer programs.

Having fewer salaried positions in our club allows us to keep overheads low and focus on our member’s bottom line costs. We believe that our members’ monthly dues should be paying primarily for our experienced, licensed, and professional coaches.

In the Lower Academies, players will learn the game and be appropriately challenged by staying and playing locally. Too many out of state tournaments can become very costly for families, not to mention that playing 4 sometimes 5 games in a weekend is not conducive to player development.

We firmly believe and have proven that there is plenty of competition and many ways to challenge our young players here in Middle TN. Teams that are having a lot of success locally in their own age group can always play up an age or two, or the coach can put various challenges on the players in any game to challenge them.

NUSA's Upper Academies we will compete statewide in Tennessee State League, Regionally and Nationally when teams advance, however, we will also limit excessive and unnecessary travel and tournaments for our Upper Academies. Players benefit the most from good, consistent training and can be challenged locally by playing older teams if necessary.



We believe competitiveness is an important core value and character trait, but we also realize that through soccer we can teach our players many other positive core values that far transcend the game. We believe that developing “champions of character” is just as important as developing champions on the field.

Two teams of players with equal athleticism, technical and tactical ability play one another. The only thing separating the teams is that one team has confident and disciplined players with strong core values. Which team do think will win?

We also understand the important role that parents play as part of our club. We want to encourage parent involvement at Nashville United Soccer Academy. There will be many volunteer opportunities on our various committees and with our Leadership and Outreach Programs.


NUSA coaches and College Recruitment Advisors will be responsible for helping our players set realistic expectations and guide them through the college recruiting process. Who could be better than a coach who knows players abilities and personality to help them find a program or school that will be a good fit?

NUSA's staff is experienced in the recruiting process and has connections with many schools ranging from D1 to NAIA.

Multiple NUSA players have received offers from, or currently train and play with, MLS Development Academies. There are former NUSA players now playing overseas and in a range of collegiate programs ranging from Division 1 to NAIA.

**NUSA’s current structure is aligned with our family centered core values and is an excellent fit for those that trust in our player pathway and the long-term process of development and growth. We may not be a good fit for those whom are not.**

Claudio Reyna, National Soccer Hall of Fame player — and Jason Kreis' boss at NYCFC — puts it best: “For me, it’s irrelevant if coaches win state cups, regional cups, and national cups. How many trophies they have in their cabinet isn’t important. It’s about the kids, it’s not about you. We care about how many players you develop rather than how many tournaments you win.”

Creating Players for Life and Developing Champions of Character

Traducir »