MYSA U9/U10 Academy
MYSA’s Academy program is designed to provide an introduction to travel soccer and a more rigorous training environment for U8-U10 aged players who are looking to take the next step in soccer. The goals for Academy are to establish an environment where individual player development is emphasized with a focus on developing the technical skills needed to play at higher levels in the future. Academy soccer was established by NCYSA in 2010 and seeks to improve individual player development, satisfaction, and retention, and to build a less pressured youth soccer environment for coaches, adult spectators, and match officials. MYSA is joining over 50 other NCYSA associations who participate in Academy soccer. A few details about the Academy Program:
- Academy was instituted to shift the emphasis from a team-centric mentality to a player-centric mentality. Nationwide, Academy programs have emerged as a 21st century alternative to the frustrating shortfalls in soccer development displayed by most pre-teens. This void is heavily influenced by coaching quality and the pressures to win at critical periods in the development process. In Academy, player development is the number one priority.
- A training curriculum has been established for the Academy, designed to focus on the development of individual skills and fundamentals of team soccer.
- Players participating in the Academy are not assigned to fixed teams are instead placed into training groups which are primarily based on age and gender for their two weekly training sessions. Players within a particular gender/age group will have training based on the same curriculum. This allows the Academy Coaches to group and challenge the players at their own developmentally appropriate levels. It also gives the Coaches the freedom to structure teams and constantly re-evaluate players so that training sessions and games provide the most developmental benefit to the players. The team identity is still maintained, but players are now part of a larger team…the Academy Team!
- Like all travel soccer programs, there is some travel involved with the Academy program. Approximately half of the games will be held at home and half will be away, and the academy teams will participate in festivals during the year where larger groups of teams gather to play. Academy players will have opportunities to play more than one game on a game day, depending on how many players and player groupings the opposing club can field. No standings or scores are kept in Academy matches, to de-emphasize winning or losing and focus on players applying what they learn in training during match situations.
- The Academy structure allows the player to be challenged at an appropriate level in both training and games. If a player is dominating a game and is not challenged he/she can be moved to a game where they are with other players of the same ability/size/speed. If a player is not engaged or has difficulty playing at the level of a particular group, he/she can be moved to another game/Academy team with other players of the same ability/size/speed so as to maximize their development and confidence. The Academy Director and Coaches will continually evaluate players to ensure that they are in the group that will be best suited for their development and growth. Players are part of the Academy team which allows them to train, socialize, and compete within the larger group, increasing the level of interaction between the players and helping to develop an awareness of the club culture they are part of.
- The Academy will also provide a coaching development platform for volunteer coaches. The intent is to help volunteer coaches who are interested in coaching at higher levels develop their skills over the course of the two year Academy program. A limited number of spaces for volunteer coaches are available based on the number of players in each age/gender group, interest level, and previous experience.
- Academy players will receive two written evaluations each year (one in the second half of the fall season and one in the second half of the spring season)
- MYSA’s Academy program is aimed at U9 and U10 players, but U8 players are welcome to attend assessments. U8 players may be accepted into the program based on skill level.
MYSA has partnered with Premier UK to facilitate the Academy Program. The MYSA Academy structure will be as follows:
- The MYSA Academy Board will govern and support the program.
- The Academy Director will be Andy Thompson of Premier UK, who is responsible for overall Academy program, including developing the Academy curriculum, arranging matches with other area clubs, and interacting with the NCYSA Academy staff. Andy holds the USYS National Youth License in addition to numerous other coaching licenses.
- The Assistant Academy Director will be Matt Brewster of Premier UK, who is responsible for leading and organizing the training sessions to deliver the curriculum to the players along with game day coaching.
- The Academy Staff Coaches will consist of volunteer licensed coaches who will work with the Academy Director and Assistant Academy Director in training sessions and game day coaching.
The Academy Curriculum document is suggested reading for all parents. The Curriculum provides an overview of concepts and terminology that will be presented in the Academy. A link to the Curriculum can be found HERE.
MYSA is very excited about this new direction in player development. A parent’s guide to the NCYSA Academy Program can be found at http://www.ncsoccer.org/home/..%5Cfiles%5CAcademy/academy_parent_guide.pdf.