LOWER TRAINING ACADEMIES
During training, players within their age range will be split into manageable groups with players who have similar technical skills and decision-making ability. These smaller groups, or player pools, will be based on a player's current abilities (not age) and may involve playing with players 1-2 years older or younger. Certain players, where appropriate, may also play in an older academy age range based on their current ability level.
If you are unsure about what age division your child would fall under, please click HERE to access the USYS Age Chart.
Our emphasis will be on individual development. Due to the varying rates at which young players develop physically, psychologically, and socially, players will often move up or down within the pools or academies.
We want to ensure that every player is training in an environment conducive to developing and challenging their current skill set while also allowing them to achieve a measure of success. In the big picture of development where a player is today does not reflect where they may be in 5, 6, 7 or even 10 years. Our goal is for every child in our club to have a good core base for learning and development, and for them to grow at their own rate in a safe, challenging and supportive environment.
In the lower academies there are no "set" teams, rather teams are formed for competitive games based on coaching assessments, player's current abilities and/or the level of competition. At these ages, the specific team a player is on for a weekend game is far less important than the emphasis on engaging and fun training sessions and playing games in a positive environment. The environment which is both challenging and allows the player to achieve success while implementing what they are learning in training.
With the exception of 'free play' and certain training activities, pools in training and teams formed for weekend games will rarely involve what some term 'parity.' Players will primarily be grouped with players of similar technical skill and decision-making ability. Players can and will be moved between pools and teams but only when it makes sense for the players involved. A typical example of player movement would be between pools A and B, B and C or D and E etc. Players certainly have the potential to move up or down between multiple pools over a short period of time, but this is not very common. Learning and player development is a process and all players will learn and develop at different rates. Our Academy Lead Coaches and coaching staff are licensed and experienced and will strive to place players in the best environment for them to grow as young players.
The Lower Academies will play at least 2 local tournaments per season, 4 per year. Talented teams may play ‘up’ against older teams to challenge them. Lower Academies will also play local friendlies, may often have additional weekend training sessions and at least one weekend off per month.
“True player development focuses on the development of the player, not the development of the team! Up to age 12, this should be the only criteria used in designing and running youth soccer programs.”
Ron Quinn, US Youth Soccer
Claudio Reyna, National Soccer Hall of Fame player — and Jason Kreis' boss at NYCFC — puts it best: “For me, it’s irrelevant if coaches win state cups, regional cups, and national cups. How many trophies they have in their cabinet isn’t important. It’s about the kids, it’s not about you. We care about how many players you develop rather than how many tournaments you win.”
BENEFITS OF TRUE ACADEMIES
• Training/competing/socializing with a larger group of players
• Building more friendships
• Learning from the full complement of Academy coaches
• Players develop a full awareness of their “Club Culture” among peers of different ages and levels of experience
• Coaches have the freedom to structure teams and move players to ensure a competitive balance and encourage player development
• Players can be kept in an environment that challenges them and suit their ability/size/speed
“Let us say that you and I coached two teams with kids that are 10, 11, and 12 years old and all about equally good. You try to teach them to play good soccer, a passing game with tactical basics while I tell mine to only play long balls and try to shoot. I can assure you that at first, I will always win against you, by using your mistakes. Intercept a bad pass and goal. If we, however, continue with the same training methods during a three-year period, your team will have learned how to play while mine hasn't. That's how easy it is.”
LAUREANO RUIZ (former Barcelona youth coach)
Our "true" training Academies are not specifically age based. Lower Academies will be split into age ranges: