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 2017 Fall academy will run for 7 weeks: starting August 28th and ending on October 15th.

4. Can my son/daughter play micro and do academy?

Yes they can do both. For an additional $10 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 optional in-house mini-tournaments 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 will shift coaches every two weeks, the coaches from the weeks before may be able to give you more information than the current coach if it is at the beginning of the next two week session.

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 this age. 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. Again, the players groups will change every couple of weeks and with that the coaching assignments may change from day to day or from week to week as well.

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. In the event we send any teams to traveling play dates, those 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 kids’ development to participate in many different activities. We hope that your child can make it to as many sessions as possible, but if you 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 mini-tournaments where we split up everyone who shows up into small-sided teams and play. Academy season starts Monday August 28th and ends Wednesday October 11th. There will also be two optional tournaments (for additional costs) on September 23/34th in Kalispell and October 14/15th in Helena.

11. Does my son/daughter have to travel as a part of Academy?

Only if you want to. The two tournaments that we will travel to are 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 each player needs to work on and what we need to do as a program to improve. We find that tryouts at this age would limit the number of kids that want to play, and we feel that soccer is the best sport in the world. Everyone should play because they love it, not because they are necessarily already good at it.