In soccer terms, an "Academy” is when a club keeps a collection of players within an age group as opposed to placing them on individual teams. All players of the particular age group will train together. This will allow players to work with a USSF licensed training staff to improve their overall individual skill development. The emphasis will be on technical training and working to instill a passion and love for playing with the ball (and less on competitive matches).
The purpose of the "Academy” is on player development through a greater emphasis on training and by creating the most fun and supportive player-centered environment as possible. Trainers will also have an emphasis placed on coaching education to enhance the youth coaches' knowledge and teaching of the game of soccer!
Academy ages are u9 and u10. Depending on numbers the u9 and u10 players might be grouped together for teams or may be separate. Teams will often train together. As teams move up in age it is important that the group of 2 years continue to stay connected and train and play together from time to time. Once these groups reach the high school age, they will all be playing together on one team, and having previous playing experience with each other if extremely beneficial.
- Emphasis on true player development over winning
- More qualified coaching staff
- Long term player retention and more development for late bloomers
- Less stress on coaches
- Parent Education Opportunities
- Focus on technical training to improve advancement of touch and comfort on the ball
- Less pressure on players because there is less focus on winning
- More qualified coaches working with more players to develop overall talent and allow late bloomers to develop
- Show creativity and improvisation without fear of losing
- Build confidence on the ball
- Create "Player Centered Environment” rather than adult environment (parent, coach, and referee)
- Increase a passion and love of the game
Parent and Coach Development
- Focus on positive reinforcement
- Avoid putting pressure on players to win
- Encourage a love and passion for the game
- Focus on player's enjoyment versus on personal gratification
- Involve more parents without fear of having to please others by winning
Teams should expect to practice twice a week (weather allowing), have regular pro staff lead sessions, attend 2 fall and 2 spring tournaments, and 1 winter tournament, a condensed technical focused winter season with additional winter playing options, and average 10-14 games from league and tournament play each fall and spring season.