ABYSA has made significant improvements to the HFC Challenge Soccer Program that will provide for a much better player and family experience!  A summary of these improvements can be found in red font at the bottom of this page.

The goal of the HFC Challenge Soccer Program is to provide players experiencing success at the recreation or academy level an opportunity to develop their individual skills in both the technical and tactical aspects of the game. For those players not involved in our HFC Classic Program, the Challenge Soccer Program offers the best opportunity for players to gain the skills needed to bring their game to a higher level.  To accomplish this, we utilize coaches who have significant coaching and playing experience. Many of the Challenge coaches also work in the HFC Classic and/or Academy Programs.

All teams train twice each week and play approximately one game per week under the supervision of our professional Challenge Coaching Staff.  The HFC Challenge Program is a stand alone in-house player development program.  All game-days are held in the Asheville area, primarily at the John B. Lewis Soccer Complex and Buncombe County Sports Park.

HFC Challenge Improvements:

For several years, the HFC Challenge Program has become increasingly popular while the number of teams provided by non-ABYSA associations to the Western North Carolina Challenge League (WNCCL) has continually declined.  The declining quality of competition provided by the WNCCL combined with our desire to structure the training and game-day environment for our players to be more developmentally focused, has led us to evolve HFC Challenge Soccer into a stand-alone in-house program.  Administering Challenge as an in-house stand-alone program will provide our players the following specific benefits:

  • Improved Coaching - ABYSA will no longer utilize volunteer coaches to manage game-days.  Moving forward, the same coaching staff that provides instruction on training days will also provide the game-day coaching.  This will greatly enhance the continuity between the curriculum that is taught in training and what is reinforced on game days. 
  • Improved Training Environment - In our experience, the best training environment for U11-U14 players combines the attributes of both team training and pool training.  At these age groups, it is recognized that feeling part of a team is important.  Therefore, our Challenge players will be assigned to teams.  At the same time, pool training allows much more flexibility to address the specific needs of individual players and the group as a whole.  Training groups can be combined and modified by the coaching staff to best achieve the goals of the Challenge Program curriculum.  Players will benefit from both identifying with their assigned team and making friends with their entire Challenge age group.
  • Improved Game-Day Environment - There are many advantages to be realized on game day from moving the Challenge Program in-house.  With all games now taking place in Asheville, it allows for HFC to utilize staff coaches rather than volunteer coaches.  The player experience will greatly improve as the players are asked to put into practice on game day the same concepts that were taught during the week.  Additionally, lopsided games became the norm rather than the exception in the WNCCL.  No one benefits from or enjoys lopsided games, or games where a team needs to play shorthanded or without adequate substitutes.  As an in-house program, players will primarily play games with the team they are assigned, however, the coaching staff will have the flexibility to make adjustments to ensure the competitive balance of games.  For example, if a team is short handed or if the score becomes lopsided, the coaches will make adjustments to provide for a game that is beneficial to all participants from a player development standpoint.