As a WYSA Accredited Academy club, and a standard-bearer in the structure for U7-U10 player development in the state, AFC Union is a founding member of the WYSA Academy Accreditation Program. We will compete in a group with other accredited academy programs in the southeast part of the state. AFC Union will operate identical locally-based Academy programs both in the North (Racine) and South (Kenosha) communities.
Academy play dates will be a mixture of multi-club events and single-game dates taking place on weekends throughout the standard Fall & Spring seasons. On some dates a team may be scheduled for 2 games. Also, since many teams will be playing at the same site on the same day, more opportunities could exist for extra playing time and player movement. Below is a sample calendar for the soccer year:
WYSA has implemented a pool roster format at these age groups. All players in age group will train together on the same nights with the same coaching staff. This allows for players to be continually evaluated and placed in a developmentally appropriate environment throughout the season.
While players are most often grouped by ability levels for competitive events, the flexible roster structure allows for players to be moved and given extra opportunities based on their rate of development. This can sometimes lead to anxiety amongst parents when it comes to game day rosters and the team that their child is scheduled to play on for a particular event; remember that the coaches’ main goal is to place each player in an environment where they can have the best chance for success.
Some players will play only on specific teams for much of the year while others will move around between teams. The coaches are constantly evaluating all of the player’s development during training sessions and games and will always to try to do what is best for every single player in this group.
It is our goal to align the training groups into a pool format, with all players from a given bracket (i.e. U9 Boys) training on the same nights in the same location with all staff members for that group present. The main objectives of pool training are to set a consistent training methodology in place for all players in the group, and have the coaches exposed to all players in the age group. The pool format allows for player development be noted by all staff members and also for players to be exposed to different coaches on a consistent basis. The coaching staff can be found in the general AFC Union coaching matrix listed on the club website; it will be continually updated and added to as needed.
At AFC Union, we believe in developing intelligent players that are also allowed to express themselves creatively on the field, with the club style of play being a brand of progressive possession-based attacking soccer. That means building the attack from the back lines while continuously looking to play forward when available. We believe that players in the Academy Program need to learn to play everywhere on the field as soccer is a free-flowing sport that is constantly in flux between attacking and defending. Consequently, players will learn and experience all positions and playing time will be maximized as much as possible. We believe that competition and winning is important at this age but that player development comes first.
The AFC Union Youth Academy is just the beginning of a player’s journey through their soccer career. The foundation being built for each player at these early ages will propel them to success as an individual and in a team environment through each stage of their AFC Union playing experience. Players will have the opportunity to compete at Classic, State League, Premier, and Regional League levels as they continue to grow older and develop. AFC Union is also excited to be a member of the Wisconsin Developmental Academy for ages U11-U14. All of these outlets mean that possibilities are endless for players to develop and reach their highest goals as an AFC Union player.