West Michigan Youth Soccer Association
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WMYSA Annouces Plans for Fall 2009 U8 Academy

WMYSA Announcement for Fall 2009

As part of WMYSA’s strategy and long term vision and commitment to:

·         Improve youth soccer player opportunities to play travel soccer

·         Advance youth soccer player development for all youth interested in growing in soccer skills in an affordable environment

·         Give youth players the best soccer progression opportunities by being aligned with USSF’s largest and most recognized nationwide Youth Soccer program

In the summer of 2008, the WMYSA Board explored options to best serve a growing interest in select level soccer opportunities below the U9 level currently offered by the league.  At that time two important changes were made for the Fall 2008 season:


1.       WMYSA opened the U9 division to all U9 and U8 players without restrictions.  The limitation of a maximum of three (3) U8 players on a U9 team was eliminated effective for the 2008 tryouts and team formation for play in Fall 2008.


2.       WMYSA sanctioned the creation of a U8/U7 Training Squad within each club for those players who were interested in advanced training but the requirements of a travel schedule of a U9 team was not desired or appropriate for the U8/U7 player.  This style of training and play is strongly encouraged by the USSF US Youth Soccer organization as being the best for player development. It is important to have young players grow into the game with fun and freedom to experiment rather then structured league/standings type programs. Players on the U8/U7 Training squad were registered as a single academy per club.  WMYSA did not create any formal structure instead the first fall season was limited to a local only practice / development activity with potential ad hoc inter-club scrimmage sessions.


This Training Squad or better known as Academy style play was intended for players in a Recreational program that wanted an additional opportunity for more advanced training.


WMYSA targeted this Spring 2009 to start a pilot a formal Academy program assuming there were enough clubs with Academy rosters.


Status for Spring 2009

There was a limited number of member clubs that created Academy teams and/or rostered players using the single Academy registration process.  WMSYA believes that the creation of the next stage a formal academy pilot program is not justified based on current participation numbers.  There will be no changes to Academy program within WMYSA for spring 2009.


Formal Academy Launch - Fall 2009

Early Planning

The 2008 timing of the decision by WMYSA to create the academy concept did not allow all clubs time to adequately plan and develop a club strategy to effectively create academy teams for the 2008/2009 season.  By working to create a structure and organization now, WMYSA and its member clubs can create a program that will allow those interested clubs to take advantage of the Academy concept if they so choose.


Proposal for Fall 2009 Academy:

  • Create a 3 or 4 “Sunday Academy Jamboree” schedule/session - Each session would be 60 to 90 minutes at a common location.  All academy teams play round-robin games on a small size fields temporarily set up on one or two full sized field.
  • The Sunday concept would allow academy players who are interested to continue to participate in local recreational soccer programs such as AYSO which traditionally do not play on Sunday.  The limited number of Sundays for Jamborees is designed to focus on learning and skill development, limit time commitments for these young players, and allow for an introduction to formal competition without the need for league standings.
  • Sunday Academy Jamboree scheduling would be fixed.  Therefore, the dates would pre-establish but the team matches would be assigned after it is determined which Academy Club’s and how many small sided teams would be participating.
  • WMYSA would be responsible for scheduling Sunday Academy Jamboree sessions, including field costs and setup.  WMYSA would provide: miscellaneous equipment, coaching sticks or portable goals, scrimmage vests for potential color conflicts, cones to mark field, etc.  WMYSA would also provide a Volunteer Organizer and Jamboree Manager. Attending clubs would be responsible for providing one match manager/referee who could be a parent referee (USSF referees would not be required in accordance with USYSA guidance for U8 play).


Club Structure/Costs for Academy:

  • In order to participate in the Sunday Academy Jamboree program, a club must have enough Academy players for a small sided game. Club Academy’s with sufficient players could field 2 or 3 teams.  
  • Clubs would provide at least a colored tee shirt per player, full uniforms are not required.
  • Recommend/require that the club academy coach be an experienced licensed coach.
  • Recommend that the club academy practice once but no more than twice a week.
  • U8 age appropriate players can play on U9 team or U8 Academy but not both.  U7 players can only participate in the Academy.  U6 players will not be accepted.  Of course, for clubs too small and not ready for Academy style play, then those U8 players would continue to have the U9 team option.
  • Player fee would be reasonable for the 2009/2010 season.  This would cover their insurance and a portion of the cost to run the program.
Posted on 19 Feb 2009 by wmysa
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