While the club hasn’t exactly been successful on the pitch over the last two seasons the Fire are taking steps to building for the future through their academy programs. The club has announced a partnership with Indiana United Soccer Club Development Academy, one of the top ranked youth academies in the country.
The organization has deservedly taken a beating for the on-field product and some off-field decisions in the last two seasons but their continued emphasis on the youth academy and the importance of developing talent from within is encouraging. As the release points out, the Fire Academy program was the highest ranked MLS youth program in 2010 by Soccer America. The youth academy tentacles that produced home-grown signing Kellen Gulley out of Mississippi now theoretically has access to one of the top youth soccer development regions in the country. It will take time and patience to see some benefit with the parent club but the Fire’s commitment to youth development in what essentially amounts to something of a “minor league” program reminiscent of baseball’s system is a step in the right direction.