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Updated at 6:46 p.m. on Monday, March 18, 2019, with more information.

As final preparations are being made for the inaugural season kickoff to USL League One, a building block for the future was announced.

This fall the Chattanooga Red Wolves SC will launch its youth soccer academy.

The academy will foster the "path2pro" philosophy and is directly affiliated with the professional club that finished the preseason Saturday with a 1-1 tie against back-to-back USL Championship League winner Louisville City FC.

"The addition of Chattanooga Red Wolves SC Academy is an important step for our organization, because it allows us to begin laying the groundwork for player development at an early stage," said Red Wolves coach Tim Hankinson, who has 40 years of experience as a head coach. "We want to generate as many opportunities as possible for players, families and coaches looking to pursue the sport at the next level.

Founded last August, Chattanooga Red Wolves SC is sanctioned by the United States Soccer Federation and is in the third level of American professional soccer behind Major League Soccer and USL Championship.

The United Soccer League unveiled its new vision for the league's academy landscape, which includes the USL Academy Cup. The new platform will bring together the top three tiers of the USL — Championship League, League One and League Two — allowing academy teams from all three to play against one another and display their potential.

Age groups and tryout dates for the youth soccer academy will be announced by the club in the near future.

The USL Academy Cup will feature top young talent from the under-13 and U-17 age groups. All clubs must identify players they believe can play up and be challenged at a higher level. The competitive league's first national event is set for May 22-25, 2020, at Tampa Bay.

A youth-to-pro path will be present in every community where there is a USL club.

"A true path to collegiate and professional play will greatly impact our region and soccer community," Red Wolves owner Bob Martino said. "Our goal is to create a soccer environment that will advance and amplify trust among players, parents, coaches, families and community to create a culture in which all participants are given opportunities to thrive."

The Red Wolves SC Academy plans to make use of the new facility at Camp Jordan, which will break ground in the near future. The club has yet to announce the site of its professional stadium, which is expected to seat around 3,000-5,000 and was said to be ready by the 2020 season.

Chattanooga opens the first USL League One campaign March 30 at North Texas SC. The first home match at Chattanooga Christian's David Stanton Field is against Forward Madison FC on April 6 at 7 p.m.

Contact Patrick MacCoon at pmaccoon@timesfreepress.com.

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