Welcome to the Youth Academy Program at Dacula Soccer Club! We are very excited at successes of our Academy Program; you and your children are very important to our success. The Academy Program is a development program that focuses on the technical, tactical, mental and physiological development of players ages U9-U12. This is achieved through a progressive curriculum and outstanding, professional coaching staff that have played and or coached at every level and possess professional coaching licenses and diplomas from the United States Soccer Federation and/or the National Soccer Coaches Association of America.
The Academy is structured so that our players are part of an age group pool (boys and girls train separately). All players within the age group will train at the same time and practice space with an appropriate number of coaches to maintain a good player to coach ratio. The philosophy behind this structure is to allow the group (both players and staff) to be able to interact with everybody involved in the age group, so their exposure is more than a typical “team” environment. On the weekend, we roster teams that will compete at varying levels against other clubs in Metro Atlanta; this system provides fluidity where players can be rostered at a level that is relevant to their development and receive the benefit of learning from multiple coaches over the course of the year. The coaches can also specifically tailor the practices to the needs of the players based on where they are on their own developmental ladder. Each coach, over time, will work with every player in the group.
As children grow, rates of development (physically and emotionally) can vary drastically; the age group pool provides an arena that there is always an appropriate place for each player to compete no matter where the child is on their journey. By being familiar with every player, each coach will be able to make the transition much easier when it is time to move a player “up” or in some cases "down". At times an individual may need to rebuild some confidence or maybe their soccer growth has slowed and may need to be placed in a less competitive environment in order to have a chance to be successful. In other cases, a player might LOVE playing goalie. This player might even be an exceptional goalie, and as a goalie, might fit in at the top level of competition on the weekends but not as a field player; since we are trying to develop well-rounded soccer players, we may offer this player the chance to play in two games occasionally: one game at a higher level where the primary position would be as a goalie, and one game at lower level, so the player can still develop field player skills. Other times, the same player might play half a game as a goalie and half a game as a field player at one "level". This is just one example of how we can tailor the program to meet each individual player's development needs.
Training takes place twice per week, and there are optional training sessions throughout the week that we encourage our players to attend which include speed, agility, extra technical training, Futsal, and goalkeeper training. The Academy Program prepares the youth soccer player to enter the Select program at U13 with a wealth of knowledge regarding all aspects of the game. Our ideal goal is to have around 34-36 players at U13 that have been a part of the Academy program since U9. Obviously, this varies from age group to age group based on the depth of the talent pool, but this is our goal.
The focus of our Academy is not on wins and losses but the development of the individual player. These are the "Golden Ages" of development. Players will learn and improve faster at these age groups than any other age for the rest of their soccer careers. Technical, or skill, development is the primary focus. Team shape and small group attacking/defending principles is also a significant part of players' devleopment and training at these ages. Additional "tactics" are progressively introduced throughout the four year Academy program. The curriculum for the Academy program is similar to that of a typical educational curriculum: each week, month, season, and year will build from the foundation from past experiences and developments. It is for this reason that we encourage players (if appropriate) to enter the Academy at the U9 age group, so the foundation is solid for years to come! We hold annual evaluations (basically tryouts, but less stressful) each year to determine if the Academy program would be a good fit for each individual. The commitment required for this program is two seasons: Fall and Spring.
Finally, like any of our soccer programs at DSC, we promote teamwork, enthusiasm, enjoyment, and a lifelong love for the "beautiful game" of soccer. We look forward to working with you and your children this upcoming soccer season.
Yours in Soccer,