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OVERVIEW

The AFC Lightning U13-U19 Select program is designed to offer players with the highest level competitive club soccer on the south side of the Atlanta Metro area. Our teams compete at the top-level of the Georgia Soccer Classic and Athena leagues, and for regional opportunities, our most competitive teams compete in the Piedmont Division of U.S. Soccer’s National League (formerly Southern Regional Premier League) and in the South Atlantic Division of U.S. Club Soccer’s National Premier League.

Our Select program provides a solid foundation of training and development for serious competitive players to excel to the apex of his or her ability. The program emphasizes the progression of soccer skills necessary to prepare and advance players to higher-level programs such as regional leagues, collegiate, semi-professional, and professional soccer. We offer a variety of opportunities, recruitment, and exposure to colleges through our ability to host College Identification Camps and College Showcase events at our PAC and McCurry Park locations and by providing opportunities for collegiate coaches to train our players during regular practice times.

Participants receive training 3x per week with AFC’s professionally licensed coaching staff and receive 25 hours of strength, conditioning, and nutrition training at Elite Performance Institute in Peachtree City. Select players have access to additional training opportunities through specialized striker and goalkeeper training, as well as through AFC’s “open training policy” which allows players to receive additional training when it is appropriate.

Our directors and staff coaches are dedicated to creating an environment that challenges players to grow their technical, tactical, psychological, and leadership skills in order to reach their goals both on and off the pitch.

Select team participation requires a one-year commitment consisting of a fall and spring season.

 

CONTACT



Jon Williams
Boys Select Director
[email protected]
(901) 828-2694



Christian Dane
Girls Select Director
[email protected]
(404) 217-2913

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Who is eligible?

Any player whose birth date falls in 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001 and 2000 are eligible to play in the 13U-19U program age groups for the 2018-2019 seasonal year.

When and where are the training sessions?

Most Select teams train two times a week on weekdays for 1.5 hrs per training session. Typical times are 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.  Each Select team will also have a strength, speed and agility session with the Elite Performance Institute (EPI) in Peachtree City that is one hour on a separate night. Some teams will have additional training sessions as well. Training days, times, and locations may vary from time to time depending on the schedules of the coaches and field availability.

In addition to goalkeeping, striker, and other supplemental training opportunities, AFC Lightning maintains an open training policy for those player who desire to train more frequently.

 What “level of play” or leagues do you offer?

Georgia Soccer Association – Georgia State League

All AFC Lightning teams from U13 through U19 participate in the Georgia State Soccer Association (GSSA) state league (excluding Boys U13/U14 Development Academy teams).

  •  For Boys teams, the league is called Classic and teams are grouped from Classic I through Classic V.
  •  For Girls teams, the league is called Athena and teams are grouped from Athena A through Athena E
  •  Additional information can be found here: http://www.georgiasoccer.org/

U.S. Club Soccer - National Premier League (NPL)

AFC Lightning U13 through U19 “Gold” teams will participate in the U.S. Club Soccer National Premier League South Atlantic Premier League. The league is comprised of teams from Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, South Carolina, and North Carolina.

The NPL was created to elevate and change the competitive youth soccer landscape by extending developmental principles espoused by U.S. Soccer into more age groups and clubs, by linking competition with player development and identification platforms, and by providing meaningful weekly competition culminating in the NPL Finals.

NPLs are independent leagues, unified under one national competition platform, and based on a common technical framework designed to improve long-term player development. The NPL provides a platform:

  • focused on long-term player development;
  • for the country’s top soccer clubs, allowing consistent, meaningful high-level games appropriately scheduled with higher training-to-game ratios;
  • that allows players to be scouted and evaluated by U.S. Soccer National Staff and Technical Advisors;
  • that is designed and structured by the clubs, based on the needs of the clubs; and
  • that provides an avenue for qualification to the Elite National Premier League (ENPL).
  • for additional information on the National Premier League – Click Here

U.S. Youth Soccer - National League (formally Regional Premier League RPL)

AFC teams who have earned a place through their competitive results will participate in the US Youth Soccer National League Piedmont Conference. The Piedmont Conference is comprised of teams from Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina.  The National League provides tiered competition in which teams can qualify directly for the Southern Regional Championships and even for the US Youth Soccer National Championships.

To read more about the new U.S. Youth Soccer League – Click Here

When and where are the games?

Georgia State League – Half of the games will be held on our home fields (PAC/McCurry Park) and the other half will consist of game in the metro Atlanta and other surrounding areas.

National Premier League (U.S. Club) – Teams in this league will play games in Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, North Carolina, and South Carolina.

National League (U.S. Youth formerly RPL) – Teams in this league will play games in Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina.

U13 and U14 teams participate both a fall and spring league seasons and tournaments

U15 teams participate in fall leagues and potentially a friendly spring season, as well as, tournaments in both seasons

U13-U19 teams participate in fall leagues and tournaments/showcases in both fall and spring seasons

When are tryouts?

Tryout dates are mandated by Georgia Soccer. Select tryouts are usually held in the beginning of June. We recommend that players attend all of the tryout/evaluation days to help the coaching staff identify player’s existing skill levels, strengths, and needs going into the fall season.

Supplemental tryouts or evaluations can be scheduled throughout the year for any player who is not registered in another club’s Select or Academy program, all registered recreational players, or any unregistered players.

How are teams/rosters formed?

Players are selected and teams are formed through an evaluation process that takes place prior to the beginning of the fall season. Our coaching staff evaluates players based on the four components of soccer:

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

For maximum exposure, players are encouraged to attend all tryout sessions.

Upon completion of the final tryout session, player selection will begin. Players will be selected in order by level of play. Beginning with the Gold team, the coach will select and contact players for verbal commitment and acceptance of a position on the team. Once the Gold team is complete, the process repeats with the Red, Black, and White teams in respective order. This process takes several days and it is the goal of the coaching staff to complete the process by the Monday after tryouts. Players not selected for a team will be notified after all teams are selected and confirmed. Coaches reserve the right to offer positions to players anytime during the tryout process.

How long is the commitment for?

Players are registered through Georgia Soccer and are committed to AFC Lightning for one year. The fall season runs from August to late November/early December and the spring season runs from February to May/June. The expectation is for players to commit to their team and have regular attendance and give maximum effort during training and games. The full amount of player fees are due if a player decided to leave a team during the year.

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 parents should consider when making the select verses recreation decision is whether or not one wishes to accelerate a 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. When it comes to playing at a select level, the end result is 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?

Competitive 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. Unlike recreation soccer, Select coaches are experts in their field, skilled communicators and teachers, 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 with a USSF National D License 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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