1. What’s the Academy’s mission/vision?
“Teach with the aim to develop individuals socially, emotionally, mentally, technically, and tactically. Create a culture of love and respect with dedication and passion for the game. Cultivate a growth mindset in myself and the students. Improve and reflect on coaching methods with the purpose to challenge players in a supportive and familial environment.”
2. What is the Academy?
The academy provides a fun environment for boys and girls ages 8-11 to develop their skills, both to ignite a passion for soccer and to reach their potential in the sport. This is typically seen as the bridge between Micro Strikers, which is Strikers’ recreational introduction to soccer for 5-11 year-olds, and our Competitive program which begins around age 12.
3. For how many weeks does the program run?
The 2018 Spring Academy will run for 10 weeks: starting April 2nd and ending on June 6th. There will be additional training sessions for those participating in the Intermountain Champions Cup here in Missoula which is on June 22-24, likewise anyone that wants to come to training those last two weeks are more than welcome.
4. Can my son/daughter play Micro and do Academy?
Yes, they can do both. For an additional $15 fee, players can play both Academy and Micro. Since Micro games occur every Sunday, it fits in well with the Academy’s schedule of Mondays, Wednesdays and free optional in-house small sided games on Saturdays. Please note that your child may not be able to make it to all of their Micro practices if the Micro coach sets their practice time for Monday or Wednesday afternoon.
5. Can my son/daughter play for another club and still participate in the Academy?
Yes. This is not a problem as long as the schedule works out for your family with the other club’s practice and game schedules. You may have to make some decisions throughout the season but there is nothing stopping you from doing this.
6. Who should I contact if I want feedback on my son’s/daughter’s progress?
Dan Lochridge, the director of the Academy program, is going to do his best to be informed on the entire group. He of course cannot be with all 130-150 players every day, but he will be able to direct you to your child’s coach. As the players won’t be shifting as much this year they will be able to give you more information as the season progresses.
7. How are players grouped together and how are coaches appointed to groups?
Players will be grouped mainly by age. There may be a few exceptions to this. We try not to do too much grouping by ability/skill at the youngest ages, but as they progress into the U11 age group we will start to form the Premier Development Teams. These teams are broken up into groups of kids who have shown a desire to get better and already possess a certain skill set to have success receiving more tactical instruction while still working on the same skills that the rest of the group will be working on. All of our Academy kids are developing their skills no matter what their current skill level is. Our coaches are all qualified and will be placed according to where we need them and which age group and gender we think fits their personality best.
8. What equipment do we need/what additional costs are involved?
All you need for practice is a soccer ball, soccer cleats, shin guards, a water bottle and appropriate clothing for the weather. If you choose to sign up for any of the tournaments you will need to purchase a white and a red uniform available through Soccer.com, two pairs of soccer socks (one white pair and one black pair) and you will need to have a pair of black soccer shorts. For each tournament you attend, there will be an additional cost of $85. Any one day play dates will cost an additional $15 per player.
9. What happens if practice is cancelled or my son/daughter has a conflict and can’t attend?
We understand that kids have lots of activities and we feel it is great for a child’s development to participate in many different activities. We hope that your child can make it to as many sessions as possible, but if your child has to miss a practice for another activity, that is fine. If practice is cancelled, we will simply continue the next schedule date. We will not do make-up sessions. We cannot control Mother Nature. If there is an exorbitant amount of bad weather this spring and we have to cancel practice more than a few times we can look at adding some sessions after the end of the season.
10. When can we sign up and what are the dates?
Registration is now open. The dates of the academy training sessions are every Monday and Wednesday. Additionally, every Saturday we will offer free in-house small-sided games where we split up everyone who shows up into small-sided teams and play. Academy season starts Monday April 2nd and ends Wednesday June 6th. There will also be three optional tournaments (for additional costs) on May 19-20th in Helena, June 2-3 in Kalispell and June 22-24 in Missoula. As well the PDT will send a team to Coeur d’Alene on May 12-13.
11. Does my son/daughter have to travel as a part of Academy?
Only if you want to. The tournaments are completely optional. That is why they are not included in the cost of the Academy and will therefore incur an additional cost to attend.
12. Are there tryouts for Academy?
No tryouts. We want to include as many kids as possible. Kids develop at different rates. That being said, we (the coaches) are always evaluating players and determining skill levels so we know what group is the best fit for each kid. We find that tryouts and cuts at this age are premature and they would only limit the number of kids that want to play, and we feel that soccer is the best sport in the world so we will make space for every kid. Everyone should play because they love it, not because they are necessarily already good at it.