- Associated Press - Monday, December 8, 2014

CHICAGO (AP) - The U.S. Soccer Federation is adding under-16 and under-19 national teams to its men’s and women’s programs.

The USSF announced the decision Monday. The new groups join the existing under-14, under-15, under-17, under-18, under-20 and under-23 programs.

The federation also will add an under-12 group to its development academy program starting in autumn 2016.

In another initiative, the USSF upgraded its coaching licenses to add youth technical director and pro licenses and will start an online digital coaching center.

The USSF will hire an organization to evaluate its youth national teams and the development academy program and clubs. The federation also said it hopes to persuade the NCAA to extend the college soccer season.

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