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Pre Development Academy #711886 09/06/18 11:48 AM
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It seems like the Development Academies are the highest level of soccer now for the older age groups.
What's the landscape for the best leagues/clubs below the DA? Is it the pre-DA programs like Red Bulls RDS?

It's quite confusing with NPL, EDP, NYCSL, WYSL, Premier, blah blah blah...
not to mention all the marketing from the local clubs.
Can someone break it down objectively?

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Re: Pre Development Academy [Re: spaceboy] #711887 09/06/18 12:04 PM
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There is no "pre-academy" except as a marketing term. The only true Academy program is USDA run by USSF. So called pre-academy teams run by DA clubs really just offer the hope of making a full academy team some day. Some will have very good training and as long as you look at it like that - just good training with no expectations - then that's fine. RDS fits that bill - a few players may get pulled into DA from RB RDS but for the vast majority it's just training and at a price. It helps RB pay for their DA program. So called pre-academy teams run at non DA clubs are just using it to hook parents. It means nothing.

All the other leagues are just that, other leagues. They all have pros and cons and good and bad clubs within each. Try not to get caught up on leagues but focus on clubs near year you that have quality coaching, fit your $ and time budget. By the time its explained the landscape will change again. The fragmentation and constant change has gotten out of hand.

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Re: Pre Development Academy [Re: spaceboy] #711896 09/06/18 02:58 PM
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Pre-Academy should just mean teams at DA clubs at the ages younger than the DA programs begin (Boys U12, Girls U14).

They use that term to make you believe that by joining at U10 you will be "on track" to make the DA team. Make no mistake, when newer, shinier toys come to trial at the club they will choose them in a heartbeat over their "pre-academy" members.

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Re: Pre Development Academy [Re: Anonymous] #711911 09/06/18 07:46 PM
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Nicely said!

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Re: Pre Development Academy [Re: Anonymous] #711951 09/08/18 09:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Anonymous
Pre-Academy should just mean teams at DA clubs at the ages younger than the DA programs begin (Boys U12, Girls U14).

They use that term to make you believe that by joining at U10 you will be "on track" to make the DA team. Make no mistake, when newer, shinier toys come to trial at the club they will choose them in a heartbeat over their "pre-academy" members.


Exactly - it's just marketing. It's no guarantee of anything, not even of good coaching. Always go for the best coaching no matter the club. If your kid is talented and works hard and wants DA then do it later on. Don't think they have to be at the "right club" when they're ten. There's incredible turnover between11-16. Many kids won't even be playing by HS.

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Re: Pre Development Academy [Re: Anonymous] #711953 09/08/18 08:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Anonymous
Originally Posted by Anonymous
Pre-Academy should just mean teams at DA clubs at the ages younger than the DA programs begin (Boys U12, Girls U14).

They use that term to make you believe that by joining at U10 you will be "on track" to make the DA team. Make no mistake, when newer, shinier toys come to trial at the club they will choose them in a heartbeat over their "pre-academy" members.


Exactly - it's just marketing. It's no guarantee of anything, not even of good coaching. Always go for the best coaching no matter the club. If your kid is talented and works hard and wants DA then do it later on. Don't think they have to be at the "right club" when they're ten. There's incredible turnover between11-16. Many kids won't even be playing by HS.
Agreed, but the problem is that usually you don't know who the coach is going to be when you are asked to commit to a club/team. And I have seen a lot of variance at most clubs - where excellent coaches work side by side with incompetent ones. Love to hear if anyone has any novel ideas on this issue or judging new (to you) clubs in general, other than "reputation" which tends to strongly favor the bigger/better known clubs.

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Re: Pre Development Academy [Re: spaceboy] #711954 09/08/18 10:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Anonymous
[quote=Anonymous]There's incredible turnover between11-16. Many kids won't even be playing by HS.


Can you elaborate? What leads to the turnover?

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Re: Pre Development Academy [Re: Anonymous] #711958 09/09/18 11:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Anonymous
Pre-Academy should just mean teams at DA clubs at the ages younger than the DA programs begin (Boys U12, Girls U14).

They use that term to make you believe that by joining at U10 you will be "on track" to make the DA team. Make no mistake, when newer, shinier toys come to trial at the club they will choose them in a heartbeat over their "pre-academy" members.


Northeast has GDA at U13. I believe its just in a pilot mode

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Re: Pre Development Academy [Re: Anonymous] #712057 09/11/18 01:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Anonymous
Originally Posted by Anonymous
[quote=Anonymous]There's incredible turnover between11-16. Many kids won't even be playing by HS.


Can you elaborate? What leads to the turnover?


In no particular order

- puberty (it isn't kind to everyone)
- lose interest/want to play other sports or do other things
- player flatline, especially if they don't work at it, while other accelerate and surpass
- bigger players flatline if they've been relying on athleticism instead of skill

Soccer is a big funnel. By U13-14 player start to see there's much more work and not as much fun. You have to want it and work at it to reach the upper levels. Some just don't have the skills, the drive, or both

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Re: Pre Development Academy [Re: Anonymous] #712074 09/12/18 06:23 AM
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Originally Posted by Anonymous
Originally Posted by Anonymous
Originally Posted by Anonymous
[quote=Anonymous]There's incredible turnover between11-16. Many kids won't even be playing by HS.


Can you elaborate? What leads to the turnover?


In no particular order

- puberty (it isn't kind to everyone)
- lose interest/want to play other sports or do other things
- player flatline, especially if they don't work at it, while other accelerate and surpass
- bigger players flatline if they've been relying on athleticism instead of skill

Soccer is a big funnel. By U13-14 player start to see there's much more work and not as much fun. You have to want it and work at it to reach the upper levels. Some just don't have the skills, the drive, or both




Great response. Our coach at U13 had said only 25% of the U13 stars will be stars at U16 and he was about right. The good news is 75% of the U16 stars will remain on top by U18 so most of the changes are at the early puberty years.

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Re: Pre Development Academy [Re: spaceboy] #712094 09/12/18 12:22 PM
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Do you have any thoughts/advice on positions?
Is it easier to stick if you're not trying to be the primary striker/goal scorer?
How do you learn about what the other viable positions/archetypes are?

I feel like at the younger ages, it's really only about scoring goals.

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Re: Pre Development Academy [Re: spaceboy] #712097 09/12/18 01:13 PM
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YOu learn by having a coach that doesnt pigeonhole you, even if your natural tendency is to score goals or distribute balls. Even great offensive players can benefit from a few stints at centerback or even goalie.

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Re: Pre Development Academy [Re: Anonymous] #712163 09/14/18 08:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Anonymous
Do you have any thoughts/advice on positions?
Is it easier to stick if you're not trying to be the primary striker/goal scorer?
How do you learn about what the other viable positions/archetypes are?

I feel like at the younger ages, it's really only about scoring goals.


Run away from a coach that pigeon holes players in the early years, even more so if it's just about winning. The more positions you play the better, even in the net. You gain critical understanding of the role of each position and how each can work together/compliment each other. A coach that doesn't fixate on wins will take more risks with lineups, trying out different players around the field, and making sure everyone gets good PT. Even in HS and college coaches value a player who can fill multiple roles depending on need. Get stuck in one spot you're not only losing development experiences but you're more likely to get replaced by someone who does it slightly better

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Re: Pre Development Academy [Re: Anonymous] #712176 09/14/18 11:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Anonymous
Originally Posted by Anonymous
Do you have any thoughts/advice on positions?
Is it easier to stick if you're not trying to be the primary striker/goal scorer?
How do you learn about what the other viable positions/archetypes are?

I feel like at the younger ages, it's really only about scoring goals.


Run away from a coach that pigeon holes players in the early years, even more so if it's just about winning. The more positions you play the better, even in the net. You gain critical understanding of the role of each position and how each can work together/compliment each other. A coach that doesn't fixate on wins will take more risks with lineups, trying out different players around the field, and making sure everyone gets good PT. Even in HS and college coaches value a player who can fill multiple roles depending on need. Get stuck in one spot you're not only losing development experiences but you're more likely to get replaced by someone who does it slightly better


All good politically correct advice BUT goal scorers are valued at 2X over defenders in the pro's and same as an amateur whether club, HS or college. The higher up the field you play the higher the recognition and the rewards, not ideal but it is a truism that is hard to argue. Please don't start the "defense win's leagues" argument , my kids are defenders and we have seen this from peewee league to now college.

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Re: Pre Development Academy [Re: Anonymous] #712205 09/14/18 05:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Anonymous
Originally Posted by Anonymous
Originally Posted by Anonymous
Do you have any thoughts/advice on positions?
Is it easier to stick if you're not trying to be the primary striker/goal scorer?
How do you learn about what the other viable positions/archetypes are?

I feel like at the younger ages, it's really only about scoring goals.


Run away from a coach that pigeon holes players in the early years, even more so if it's just about winning. The more positions you play the better, even in the net. You gain critical understanding of the role of each position and how each can work together/compliment each other. A coach that doesn't fixate on wins will take more risks with lineups, trying out different players around the field, and making sure everyone gets good PT. Even in HS and college coaches value a player who can fill multiple roles depending on need. Get stuck in one spot you're not only losing development experiences but you're more likely to get replaced by someone who does it slightly better


All good politically correct advice BUT goal scorers are valued at 2X over defenders in the pro's and same as an amateur whether club, HS or college. The higher up the field you play the higher the recognition and the rewards, not ideal but it is a truism that is hard to argue. Please don't start the "defense win's leagues" argument , my kids are defenders and we have seen this from peewee league to now college.


Not everyone can play striker. That isn't how the world works.

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