Kings Hammer and Dayton Dutch Lions FC Join USL Academy League

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TAMPA, Fla. – The United Soccer League (USL) today announced Kings Hammer FC and Dayton Dutch Lions FC as the latest clubs to join the USL Academy League. Both Ohio-based clubs will compete in the East Central Division of the USL Academy League beginning in 2021.

“I’m thrilled to welcome not one, but two Ohio clubs to the USL Academy platform,” said Liam O’Connell, Technical Director of the USL. “The addition of an Academy League team will bolster each club’s efforts to create a pipeline of talent and a clear pathway to pro for youth players out of the Ohio region.”

As the newest club to join USL League Two, Kings Hammer FC has been a prime example of what it means to grow the youth game in the American soccer system. The club prides itself on its mission to serve as active community members through leadership, development and personal growth of both players and staff. Through the club’s extensive youth network in Ohio and Kentucky, Kings Hammer FC has created a development platform for all players and coaches to be able to reach the highest level possible within the game and their personal lives, while helping develop leaders and individuals who will inspire others to do the same.

“We are extremely excited to be joining the USL Academy,” said Paul Nicholson, Kings Hammer FC Technical Director and League Two Head Coach. “Our USL Academy will be a U19 program that will create a fantastic bridge from youth to senior and bolster a true player ID system for our USL League Two team. This is an incredible addition to the Kings Hammer development pathway and will provide elite level competition for high school age players throughout the region. Having the chance to compete against USL Championship and USL League Two clubs in the region will be a fantastic test and opportunity for our players.”

Founded in 2009, Dayton Dutch Lions FC is a long-standing member of the USL, having joined League Two in 2010. Through partnerships with youth affiliates such as the Ohio Galaxies FC, the Dutch Lions have formed a line of youth networks out of the Dayton region that allows players to maximize their potential within their soccer careers and collaborate on the overall growth of youth soccer in America. The Dutch Lions mission to enhance the player development platform for youth in the region aligns with the USL Academy’s collective approach to growing the game from the grassroots level to the professional level.

“Not only do we want to put a quality product on the field at the USL League Two level but we also want to be part of the development of youth soccer players in the greater Dayton region,” said Sid van Druenen, Dayton Dutch Lions FC’s Technical Director and League Two Head Coach. “Partnering with the Ohio Galaxies FC and joining the USL Academy League will provide new, high level training and playing opportunities to high school aged players aspiring to play at the highest level. We are very excited about this opportunity and looking forward to playing our first games this summer.”

The USL Academy platform’s collaborative approach to youth development will allow the best players from both clubs to seamlessly move between each club’s League Two and Academy teams, providing each player with the competition level that best suits their individual needs at any given time.

To learn more about the USL Academy League, visit

Tryout FAQ’s

How do I register for tryouts?
ALL soccer-athletes MUST COMPLETE the tryout registration online before participating in the tryout process. Click here to register now!

*Please make sure that you register online at least 24 hours in advance to ensure that the soccer athlete is in the system and we have your information to notify you after the tryout process.  There is a Registration Steps document on the Tryouts page that will walk you through the process. Each soccer athlete should attend both tryout days if possible. If you are unable to attend both days please reach out to the Program Director listed below.

Birth Years for the 2022/2023 Season
For the 2022/2023 season, Kings Hammer will follow U.S Youth Soccer’s guidelines and will organize its teams by birth year:

*Interested players must register to try out for their birth year.

Can my child play up an age group?
Any player playing up will be at the discretion of their respective director. All players need to register and attend the tryout for their correct age group.

What should I wear/bring to tryouts?
Please come prepared with a fully inflated soccer ball, proper footwear, shin guards, and water. Each prospective soccer-athlete will receive one free Kings Hammer Soccer Club tryout t-shirt with a tryout identification number on the back of the t-shirt.  Each prospective player will be identified by the identification number throughout the process and MUST wear this t-shirt at each tryout session for the 2022/2023 soccer year.

We will not be able to attend tryouts or are new to the area and missed tryouts. Is there a process in place to allow for an alternate tryout?
Yes! If you are not able to attend tryouts or missed the tryout dates, please register and then contact the Director for the Program/Age Group you wish to tryout for so that arrangements can be made. We also hold supplemental tryouts throughout the year. Roster openings may be limited after the initial tryout period.

What are the differences between Academy and Premier?
Our Academy provides a highly competitive environment for higher-level soccer athletes. This program provides those athletes with the best local training offered by our qualified and professional staff. Our Academy teams play at the highest possible level providing showcase opportunities to College, Professional, and National level programs.

The Premier Program is a community-based program. The Premier Program provides the opportunity for players to play other sports or have other interests outside of soccer. This program is designed to be flexible, convenient, and affordable.

Can I try out for multiple programs?
We encourage anyone who wants to tryout for all levels to do so. Current KHSC players can ask their coach/director for guidance if they are unsure about which program to tryout for. You will need to register for each tryout separately.

If I tryout for a program and don’t make it, can I try out for another program?
Yes. If you don’t make an Academy team, we strongly encourage you to tryout for a Premier team, attending tryouts for at least one day.

If you don’t make a Premier team, the Classic Program may be an option. Contact Michelle Okumura ( if you’d like to pursue this option.

Will there be more than one team in each age group?
Yes, when possible, there will be more than one team per age group, per program. It all depends on the number of players at tryouts and their skill level.

If my child doesn’t make the top team, can they move up during the year?
Yes, there may be opportunities to move up throughout the year as long as the coach/director feels it is in the best interest of the player’s development. There may also be opportunities to guest play across all levels.

What can I expect after tryouts?
After tryouts you can expect communication from the club in the form of an email.  (Please double-check that your email is correct in the PlayMetrics system, this is the email we use) This will either be an acceptance email, offering your child a position on a team, or an email letting you know that they should tryout for a different program. Players who are offered positions on a team may also receive a phone call from their coach. All communication will come within 24-48 hours of the end of the last tryout. You will then have 24 hours to either accept or decline your email before your spot is offered to another child.

What are the next steps if my child makes a team?

  1. If you are new to the club, you will receive more information regarding your uniform ordering in your confirmation email.
  2. If you are part of the Academy or Premier Programs, you will receive the link to Demosphere to register your child in the state system in your confirmation email as well.

How long is the season?

  • Academy
    • U11-U14: August-November, January-May (possible post-season in June)
    • U15-U19: November-May
  • Premier
    • U7-U14: August-October, March-May
    • U15-U19: November-December, March-May

My child is in middle school but plays on a U15 team. Will there be a fall U15 program for trapped players?
Yes, we will offer a program for trapped 8th graders for the fall season depending on interest. The program will run from August to October and is open to players that are currently in the 8th grade that will be playing on a U15 team starting in November 2022. Questions please contact:

Academy North: Ryan Handbury |
Academy South Boys: James Thomas |
Academy South Girls: Chris Black |
Academy Bluegrass Boys: Dan Ensley  |
Academy Bluegrass Girls: Megan Adkins |

Can a team come to the club and join as a team?
Yes! The team can join the Classic Program. For more information please reach out to Michelle Okumura at

Who is in charge of hiring coaches?
If you are interested in a coaching opportunity, please fill out the following coaching form –

Program Directors:

Academy North: Ryan Handbury |
Academy South Girls: Chris Black |
Academy South Boys: James Thomas |
Academy Bluegrass Boys: Dan Ensley |
Academy Bluegrass Girls: Megan Adkins |
Premier Xenia: Brent Lewis |
Premier North: Wil Cagle |
Premier Sycamore: Ryan Handbury |
Premier Central: Michael Ratliff |
Premier South: David Shemilt |
Premier Versailles: Brandon Cummons |
Premier Lexington: Fonyam Atanga |