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Academy - Frequently Asked Questions

Who is eligible?

Any player whose birth date falls in 2009, 2008, 2007, and 2006 are eligible to play in the U9-U12 program age groups for the 2017-2018 seasonal year.

How the teams will be formed?

Our coaching staff will be evaluating players based on the four components of soccer:

1)   Technical
2)   Tactical
3)   Mental
4)   Physical

Places on the teams are offered to players who want to join the AFC Lightning U9-U12 Academy program under the following conditions:

  • Players must possess a minimum level of skill and a maximum level of desire and determination to improve.
  • Players have regular attendance to training, games, and tournaments.

Teams will be based on a player to coach ratio, which will provide an environment for proper player development.

 We recommend that players attend at least two of the tryout/evaluation days to help the staff identify player’s existing skill levels, strengths, and needs going into the fall season.

When and where are the training sessions?

Depending on the schedules of the coaches and field availability, most Academy teams train during the week (M-Th.) from 5:30pm to 7:00pm or 7:00pm to 8:30pm at either McCurry Park in Fayetteville, or the Peachtree City Athletic Complex in Peachtree City. Training days, times, and locations may vary from time to time.

What are the training schedules and priorities?

All U9-U12 teams train three times per week for one and a half hours. These teams will be under the direct supervision of the Academy Director of Coaching and AFC Staff Coaches. The emphasis in training will be on the technical development of the players. This will be accomplished by a maximum number of touches on the ball, getting players comfortable with the ball at their feet, the encouragement of players to be creative and take players on, a development of a passion for the game through a fun training environment, and age appropriate tactical knowledge.

When and where are the games?

Games are organized by the AFC Staff against other club teams predominantly from the Metro Atlanta area.

At the U9-U12 level, players will be grouped into teams to play in games against teams from other area programs. The selection process will be guided by player’s attitude towards the staff and fellow players and by performance in all games and training sessions. This will be decided at the coach’s discretion and can change from week to week.

Generally teams play one game per week, although occasionally players may be asked to play twice at the same location.

What Is the difference between Recreation and Select Soccer?

Deciding whether or not your child should play recreational soccer or competitive (“select”) soccer is often a daunting task for parents not familiar with the world of competitive sports. The primary deciding factor that you should consider when making the select vs. recreation decision is whether or not you wish to accelerate your child’s soccer development in a professionally guided training environment.

In recreational soccer, the focus is most often on social interaction, “having fun” with friends, which often comes at the expense of instruction. In select soccer, the focus in on teaching in an enjoyable manner that is appropriate for the child’s age level. Individual skills and team tactics are taught by high-level, professional coaches in order to more fully develop the child’s level of play. The end result – young athletes that know how to play soccer at a much higher level than their corresponding recreational players.

What are the differences between Select and Recreational coaches?

Select soccer differs from recreational soccer in several ways but the primary difference is in the level of coaching provided. Coaching is like teaching – it requires extensive knowledge of the subject and the ability to communicate that knowledge to young athletes. In recreational soccer, the coach is typically a noble parent with little or no competitive or high level soccer experience. Select soccer differs from recreational soccer in that coaches are experts in their field, have the demonstrated ability to share that knowledge with their team, and are paid a professional salary.

Competitive soccer coaches have extensive playing experience – most at the professional level. Select coaches are licensed at a national level, most at Grade D or higher, and many have college degrees in education or sports related degrees. Their training will have included proper individual player and team techniques, how to conduct efficient practices, and how to motivate a young athlete.

Most Recreational coaches are volunteers. Select coaches are interviewed and go through an extensive selection process before they are hired by the club. They are paid from dues collected from the team and for many, coaching is their full-time job.


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