FC Westlake Junior Academy - Program Details
FC Westlake Junior Academy is a program designed to provide age appropriate development and competition to boys & girls who have shown the ability to be successful at the recreational level of play. Players are grouped on teams by birth-year. Players born in 2012 will be placed on teams with friends/schoolmates for their first season when possible. Players born in 2011, 2010, & 2009 will be grouped on teams based on playing ability.
FC Westlake Junior Academy teams participate in the Lonestar Academy League, this is simply a league created by soccer professionals for developmentally appropriate competition. The league is comprised of 4 main locations; Westlake, Town & Country, Williamson County, & Slaughter Creek. Teams play home & away games at these 4 locations; Westlake (Westlake H.S.), Town & Country, Williamson County, & Slaughter Creek.
Who Should Participate?
The FC Westlake Junior Academy program is designed specifically for players born in 2012, 2011, 2010, & 2009 who are ready for advanced training. The program is built around creating an environment for youth players to excel both technically and tactically. Although still a fun based learning program, players are expected to demonstrate focus, and a willingness to compete and develop as they prepare for Select soccer. Although open to anyone, the professional coaching staff will determine if the Academy program will benefit your son/daughter. Additionally, WYSA is a huge advocate of children playing multiple sports, and while we recognize the demands of the Academy, we’d like everyone to be aware that each season we work with all our families to allow the children to play Football, Basketball, Baseball, Softball, Volleyball etc…
To continually strive for the best developmental program for all of our Academy age players we offer two different game formats:
Players born in 2012 will play 5v5 (4 field players plus a goal-keeper)
Players born in 2011, 2010, & 2009 will play 7v7 (6 field players plus a goal-keeper)
These modifications to game-play have been made to maximize our Academy players touches on the ball, and opportunities to play in front of goal, both offensively and defensively on an appropriately sized field.
Academy players practice twice a week. Practices are usually Mon/Fri or Wed/Fri, locations are always at EISD schools (not including Westridge Middle School, or Barton Creek Elementary).
Academy Teams participate in the Lonestar Spring Shootout each Spring season. There is no tournament for Academy teams in the Fall season.
The success of our Academy program is heavily dependent on the coaches we place on the field. Coaching young players effectively is a unique trait, and the coaches we provide possess phenomenal characteristics and personalities allowing them to teach the game through fun based learning, while also pushing every individual to achieve and focus on improving their abilities.
FC Westlake Junior Academy Mission and Curriculum Introduction
The overall goal of our FC Westlake Junior Academy is to give players the foundation on which they will build all of their soccer success and experiences. Basic skill mastery and an understanding of simple tactical ideas will be our bricks, and a love for the sport will be the mortar that holds it all together. The program is meant to be developmental and fun-based, but we will not shy away from the challenge of teaching them how to play.
Our Academy Program believes in the same fun-based concepts as the Unites States Soccer Federation, but we are also a part of the largest Junior Academy in Texas, which allows us greater means to accelerate our players’ development.
This curriculum has been designed to help our players successfully recognize and solve the challenges of the game on his/her own. Soccer is a team sport, so we will teach them how to use their teammates -- but we are trying to develop players, and it is this aspect that makes working with such young players interesting and unique. Each age group (2012, 2011, 2010, & 2009) has its own theme and with that a separate curriculum, and each practice should always incorporate the opportunity to actually play the game.
GAME PLAY IN PRACTICE!
Playing games is essential.
At the Academy level, children learn and develop to their fullest potential through game-like experience in an enjoyable environment that supports individual growth.
Playing is not only essential to having fun, developing social skills, fostering creativity, improving dexterity, and promoting sportsmanship; playing games is where players hone their instincts for the sport. How does a great player know just the right moment to pause, the exact second to change direction, and anticipate opportunities before they appear? They’ve practiced it 1,000 times without even knowing they were practicing…they just thought they were having fun playing a game.
2012 – BUILD A CULTURE OF ACTION
The very first thing our U7’s have to learn is how to be effective, how to fend for themselves, and to be confident enough to take part in the game. Mistakes will be forgiven and poor decisions will be excused, but we want our U7’s to be brazen, bold, and audacious enough to get out there and try things. Be assertive and play, let the chips fall where they may. The most common phrases used with our U7’s are, “Go! Go! Go!” & “Dribble!”
2011 – CONTROL THE BALL AND MAKE DECISIONS
The most fundamental skill in soccer is individual mastery of the ball and the creativity that comes with it. Our U8 sessions are built around facilitating the development of the skills necessary to move and control the ball well. As the individual skills and the creativity to make them come alive in the game are developed to a level of competence, the finer points, like passing and team organization, can be taught. The most common phrase used with our U8’s is, “Control the ball.”
2010 – PASSING & “SPACE THE FINAL FRONTIER”
Academy soccer at U9 is where we see the most significant jump in our players’ abilities and general understanding of the game. With this in mind, we want to try to encourage comfort with the ball and the confidence to use this skill creatively. Our teams at this age should be full of "little dribblers,” so we can start to slowly introduce and organize the art of finding space, moving without the ball, and combining with your teammates. The most common phrase used with our U9’s is, “Find Space!”
2009 – HARDER, BETTER, FASTER, SMARTER
We want our U10’s to be able to recognize and understand how the skills learned in U7, U8, & U9 are connected to solving problems during play. The goal is to develop players who are clever, and able to quickly and effectively make “soccer decisions.” The most common phrases used with our U10’s are, “Play when you don’t have the ball” and “Was that a good decision?”