Academy FAQs

What is Academy soccer?

The Academy Program is designed to maximize INDIVIDUAL PLAYER DEVELOPMENT rather than team development. Team development can only be accomplished with a group of individuals who are technically proficient. With this concept in mind, the Academy age group strives to develop the players individually, so they can be effective TEAM PLAYERS as they move into the older age groups and higher level programs. Emphasis is placed on technical progress in the areas of dribbling, passing, receiving, striking balls, and basic decision-making. This program is designed for players who are finding success in their recreational soccer experience and want to improve and learn about the game in a fun, exciting and emotionally safe environment.

What is the level of Academy soccer?

Academy soccer is the highest level of play offered to U9 and U10 players in ABYSA/HFC. Academy soccer serves as a bridge between ABYSA Recreation soccer and BOTH U11 Challenge and U11 Classic programs. The training and game environment we create introduces players to the expectations of soccer at the next level. While a disciplined approach is expected by the players, the intent of the program is to make sure soccer remains fun, challenging, and educational!

How will I know if my child is ready to participate in Academy soccer?

This program is not for every player. It is designed for players who are excelling at the recreation level and are ready to benefit from a more challenging learning environment.

When does the Academy Program train?

Training will take place on Tuesdays and Thursdays from mid August until early November. The spring season begins in mid February and concludes early May. All training will take place at the John B. Lewis Soccer Complex. Training sessions last 75-90 minutes.

When do Academy players play matches?

Academy matches are played on Friday evenings, Saturdays, and Sundays. Most games will be played on Saturday mornings and Sunday afternoons. Our Academy Staff are drawn from HFC’s most talented coaches who also have responsibilities in other ABYSA/HFC programs. Utilizing these coaches requires that we have flexibility in game day scheduling.

How much travel is involved?

Travel in the Academy Program is minimal. Some players will be given the opportunity to travel to play against players from outside the Asheville Area. These events will be limited and may be in the Charlotte area, Greensboro area, or Hickory area. While some travel will occur, there are other associations that will travel to us when we host festival events.

Can I play on the same team as my friend?

Players that participate in the Academy are not placed on permanent teams. Having the flexibility to assign players to play with different groups throughout the season helps us maximize each individual player’s growth. This is a key concept in our approach to player development and providing appropriate competition for all players. The Academy is about learning to play soccer and making many new friends.

What is the Academy placement evaluation process?

ABYSA/HFC conducts placement evaluations for players in May and also some supplemental placement evaluations through the year. The evaluation process is ongoing throughout the season following the initial evaluation. Some players will be best advised to continue their soccer development in our recreation program in the fall season. Many players will be invited to participate in the program beginning in August.

While we recognize that we are working with younger players of differing physical and emotional development levels, we also understand that some players are not capable of reaching the expectations in the Academy Program. Therefore, the first several weeks of Academy training will also serve as an evaluation period, and some players may be asked to leave if they are not ready for the program. Placing players in the appropriate program is a goal of ABYSA/HFC because playing in the right environment makes soccer more enjoyable for all involved. We feel players who are not prepared for the demands of the environment will not benefit from or enjoy the program, so those players may be referred back to the Recreation Program. Participation in the Spring Academy Program will be by invitation only. If you are not invited to continue in the program for the spring, we highly recommend that your player continues his/her soccer in our ABYSA Recreation Program for further development.

When will I be notified?

Following the second group tryout, coaches will decide which players will be asked to join the program. Players will be informed of their status within 7 days of the completion of placement evaluations.

How long do I have to accept an offered position? What if I am uncertain?

In order to file the required paperwork with NCYSA in time for our Academy season, we ask that families indicate in their registration if they will accept positions (if offered) prior to attending placement evaluations. If you are undecided, please mark that box on the registration form and provide a brief explanation of the reasons for your uncertainty. An ABYSA/HFC Director will contact you to discuss your concerns and answer questions, so you can make a decision about what is best for your child. If your child is offered a spot in the Academy Program after the placement evaluations, you will be sent an email with a link to use to confirm that you will accept the invitation. We will need a decision from you within 7 days of receiving an invitation.

What if I can’t make both days of placement evaluations?

In the event that players are only available for one day of evaluations, coaches will only have that one day to evaluate them for a position. IT IS HIGHLY RECOMMENDED THAT PLAYERS ATTEND BOTH EVALUATION SESSIONS.

What is the cost of the program?

The total cost of the program is $452 for this fall or for first season players – $365 program fee and $87 Uniform (new players only). Subsequent seasons will be $365. Program fees include coaches fees, field rental, referee fees, festival entry fees and administration costs. They do not cover the cost of travel for individual families to out of town events. The uniform fee includes two training shirts and a complete home and away uniform, including shorts & socks. Financial Aid is available for families with a documented need who otherwise could not participate in the ABYSA/HFC Academy Program. ALL ACADEMY PLAYERS MUST HAVE A UNIFORM.

Can I play up an age group?

Players in the Academy will be placed in their proper age group. The Academy Director may move a U9 player into the U10 age group if he/she feels that it is developmentally appropriate. ABYSA/HFC players in the U9 and U10 age groups are not permitted to participate in the U11 Challenge Program.

ALL PARENTS MUST ATTEND A MANDATORY PARENT ORIENTATION MEETING THAT WILL BE HELD DURING THE SUMMER. The meeting will be offered on two dates and will be announced well in advance. Players may not start training until their parent(s) have attended an orientation meeting. At these meetings, we will explain the details of how the program works, the learning environment that we provide for our young players, and the responsibilities of ABYSA/HFC and Academy Families.

For any additional questions or concerns about the Academy Program, please contact:

David Knapp

ABYSA/HFC Academy Director of Coaching
ABYSA/HFC Challenge Director of Coaching
david@abysa.org
828.299.7277 ext. 306