U.S. Soccer is launching a Girls' Development Academy program next year aimed at the cultivation of elite-level players.

The program is modeled after the Boys' Development Academy, which was launched in 2007 and now includes 152 clubs in five age groups.

The girls' program announced Tuesday will initially include three groups: under-14/15, under 16/17 and under-18/19. The teams will play only other academy teams, on the local, regional and national level, and will practice a minimum of four times a week.

Academy players won't be able to participate on high school teams or Olympic development teams. But the program will serve as a potential pathway to the federation's youth national teams.

Club applications to the program will be evaluated based on multiple criteria, including quality of the coaching staff.