Academy Program Overview

The Academy Program builds upon the LTAD foundation started in earlier programs and introduces players to a faster-paced level of technical training that provides a developmental bridge to higher levels of play at U11 and above. By providing an environment and curriculum where players are challenged according to their ability, we help them develop into skillful, creative and intelligent players in the future. A GCS staff coach, assisted by a volunteer coach, will train the teams twice per week and lead the team during games. Teams are placed in league brackets with other teams of like ability to provide an optimal developmental competition and greater enjoyment of the players.

The Academy Program provides playing options for all U7-U10 players based on their birth year. Upon completion of the U10 Academy Program, players will have the option of continuing their play in the Senior Recreational Program or trying out for one of our higher level Select Soccer teams.

Key Objectives & Methodology of the U7-U8 Academy Program 

· Key Objectives: Aid the development of gross motor skills, learn basic soccer skills, improve social interaction, and inspire players to love and grow in the game.

· Methodology: Players are organized in ability-based groups led by professional staff coaches for all practices. Fun, soccer-related practice activities develop confidence with the ball and challenge players to experiment with new techniques. Small-sided games reduce coaching interventions and teach players to cooperate with teammates while competing with opponents.

Key Objectives & Methodology of the U7-U10 Academy Program 

· Key Objectives: Build on prior athletic development, gain confidence in performing a wide variety of skills (using the left and right sides of the body) under pressure, expose players to different tactical roles, prepare players to succeed at the Select Program level, and inspire players to love and grow in the game.

· Methodology:  Players are organized in ability-based groups led by professional staff coaches for all practices. Practices focus on skill mastery by using repetition to maximize ball contacts for each player and introduce small-sided tactical concepts. 7v7 games require players to work in units of 2s and 3s to solve a full range of tactical challenges using the skills rehearsed in training.

U7-U8 Academy Team and Season Information

· Season Length: 14 weeks (fall) or 10 weeks (spring), plus 1-2 tournaments or jamborees

· Game Format: Small-sided 4v4 (no goalkeepers)

· Team Structure: 7-8 player/teams, co-ed

· Practice Frequency: Two (2) per week, 75-minutes each, beginning approximately 1 month prior to the first game.

· Games: One (1) each Saturday, with Three (2) 20-minute halves.

· Coaching: GCS staff trainer & volunteer coach, full-season GCS curriculum, free online and in-person training from US Soccer and mentoring from GCS Technical Director.

U9-U10 Academy Team and Season Information

· Season Length: 14 weeks (fall) or 10 weeks (spring), plus 1-2 tournaments or jamborees

· Game Format: Small-sided 7v7 (with goalkeepers)

· Team Structure: 12-14 player/teams

· Practice Frequency: Two (2) per week, 75-minutes each, beginning approximately 1 month prior to the first game.

· Games: One (1) each Saturday, two (2) 25-minute halves

· Coaching: GCS staff trainer & volunteer coach, full-season GCS curriculum, free online and in-person training from US Soccer and mentoring from GCS Technical Director.

Equipment:

· Size 3 soccer ball U7-U8 (inflated with name on it)

· Size 4 soccer ball U9-U10 (inflated with name on it)

· Soccer cleats

· Shin guards

· Adequately sized water bottle (with name on it)

· GCS Rec Uniform Kit (purchased separately at registration)