The Iowa Soccer Association Academy is a program in which parents of 9U-10U players have the option to register their child for academy or Level 3 soccer -- provided yours is a qualifying club.
Why two levels of Level 3 soccer?
The impetus behind offering two levels of play at 9U-10U is to allow players to play with and against players of similar ability and at a level where they will experience the most success and have the most fun playing the sport.
What's the difference?
Players registered for Academy soccer will play in an Iowa Soccer Academy League that is subject to a number of player developmental guidelines. Qualifying clubs must follow these guidelines to maintain their academy status.
Guidelines include following a set training curriculum, mixing training groups, mixing teams after each playing season, small roster sizes, mandatory coach education for academy coaches, parent education and most importantly a focus on the individual player, not on the team. Players who register for rec. soccer, because of its structure, will experience more consistency from season-to-season with team formation and coaching than an academy player would.
Ok, so is Academy really Level 3 soccer?
Clubs with the Academy option must still follow Level 3 play guidelines like 50% playing time in matches. However, the emphasis is placed on creating a playing environment that is more conducive to the individual's development over the team's.
As well, parents may choose Academy -- there are no selections to this level. To help parents decide which is most appropriate, below are the characteristics of typical players who would participate in an Academy program. If your child displays a majority of them, they are probably more suited to that level of play. However, it should be noted that during a player's soccer development, they may move back and forth between Academy and Level 3 play.
- Demonstrates sound technical skills (ball control, dribbling, shooting)
- Physically stronger, athletically quicker than most players within their age group
- High level of coordination and good agility
- During games is agreesive in their attitude and approach to getting involved and tends to dominate play
- Demonstrates high level of focus and concentration during practices and games
- Started to narrow down the number of extra-curricular activities
- Soccer is a high priority
- Practices with a ball on own time outside scheduled games and practices
- 9U-10U player who will tryout for the 11U competitive age group in the following year
- More information is available in the Academy Manual