Columbus Crew Academy is currently looking for prospective host families for the 2021-22 season and beyond

Through our Billet (Homestay) Program, Crew Academy offers high potential youth soccer players across the United States of America the opportunity to live in Columbus and to play with our Academy.

The Billet Program is made possible by local families who accommodate the housing needs of players from outside of Central Ohio as they participate in the Crew Academy. In most circumstances, Billet players enroll in the local public school district of their host family.

By matching players with safe, caring and healthy families in the Columbus area, we are able to ensure meaningful development of each player, both on and off the field.

We invite any interested families to complete the Billet Program Application to learn more.

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Our main objectives within the Crew Academy Billet Program are:

  • To accommodate the holistic development of Crew Academy players in need of homestay support
  • To enable the Crew Academy to recruit High Potential Players from outside of Central Ohio and across the United States

Columbus Crew Academy is a fully-funded, free-to-play professional academy, overseen by Crew President and General Manager, Tim Bezbatchenko, Technical Director and VP of Soccer Operations Pat Onstad, and led by Academy Director Kelvin Jones.

The purpose of our Academy is to develop professional players that embody excellent character for the Columbus Crew of Major League Soccer. For more information please contact Manager of Academy Scouting and Recruitment, Nathan Cotton, at ncotton@columbuscrew.com.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the benefits of becoming a Columbus Crew Academy billet family?

  • As a Crew Academy billet family, you will play an integral role in supporting the Columbus Crew's player development pathway.
  • Billet families will have an opportunity to build a relationship with and offer support to a dedicated young athlete as he works to achieve his goals.
  • Crew Academy players can serve as positive role models for younger family members.
  • A chance to connect on a deeper level with the Columbus Crew and to gain a new perspective on soccer, as seen through the eyes of an elite player.
  • Crew Academy billet families receive a monthly stipend to support the financial expenses of hosting a player.
  • Crew Academy billet families receive Columbus Crew season tickets for all members of the immediate family.

How are players placed with billet families?

Several factors are considered when finding the right placement for a player and his potential billet family, including by not limited to geographical location, children in the home, school district/academic needs, and transportation. Each billet placement is a unique, case-by-case process. Our intent is to build safe, sustainable, and comfortable relationships between Club, player's (home) family, and billet family in each case.

What are billet families committing to when they agree to host a player?

Billet families commit to providing a family away from home for the player they host, and in doing so, they help an individual reach his full potential. Billet families are responsible for providing support in the following areas:

  • Three healthy meals per day, snacks included;
  • Their own room, which must include privacy, a bed (double size or bigger), desk, dresser, closet and bathroom;
  • Transportation to and from Crew Academy training and games;
  • Access to internet, television use and laundry;
  • A safe family environment;
  • Access (key, code) to the home environment;
  • Support and inclusion as one of the family members;
  • Inclusion in family activities at the player’s discretion;
  • Assistance with the player’s Academy and personal growth process; and
  • Appropriate homeowners or renter’s insurance.

How can my own children benefit from being part of a billet family?

Players for the Crew Academy have been hand-selected. They are not only outstanding athletes, but they are young men with excellent character. Crew Academy players are young men who have demonstrated commitment to the values, the excellence and the unique and elite opportunity that Columbus Crew represents. The Club has selected athletes dedicated to training for the sport they love, determined to maintain high academic standards and inspired to pursue their dreams, even at the cost of leaving their own families.

Is there compensation for the billet family?

While each billet placement is unique, billet families can normally expect to receive a monthly stipend for each player they host from that player's family (which may be subsidized partially or wholly by the Club). Hosting a player will incur extra food expenses, just as they would with any other teenager or young adult. The stipend is intended to provide support to the billet family, and not necessarily to cover all costs associated with the program. Families are not responsible for the player's medical, academic, or other incidental expenses.

At what age are players eligible for the billet program?

The Crew Academy features players across the ages of 12 to 18. The Billet Program does not have an age requirement. We select individuals of high soccer potential who embody the values of the Columbus Crew.

How and when can a player join the billet program?

The Billet Program is intended for high-potential players through invitation only. Our program uses a rolling admission process as every player’s situation is unique. A few determining factors could include, but are not limited to, school deadlines, the academic calendar and the academy registration window.

What school will the player attend?

Players participating in the Billet Program will normally attend a high school located in the district of their host family or a school selected by our staff, the player and his family that will best fit his academic needs.

How long does the player stay with the billet family?

The Academy season spans a 10-month period, from August to June/July. A billet family should expect to house a player for the duration of their season.

What are your transportation policies?

Transportation to and from school, training, and matches will be coordinated by the billet family and/or the player. In most cases, carpool options are available and routinely coordinated.

Who pays for extracurricular activities for the player?

Each player’s immediate (home) family is responsible for providing money for any extra-curricular activities such as dining out, going to the movies, etc.

Will players be joining the billet family for personal events?

This answer varies depending on each circumstance. Columbus Crew encourages players to join their billet families in any and all activities, whenever appropriate and possible.

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