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U09/U10 Academy

Soccer West U09/U10 Academy Program

The Iowa Soccer Association Academy is a state-initiated and state-led program for U9 and U10 players.  Soccer West Soccer Club partners with the Des Moines Menace on this program.  The Menace are a qualifying club which offers our parents with the option of registering their child for the U9-U10 Academy or for recreational soccer at these age groups.

For more details on how Soccer West and the Des Moines Menace run the U9-U10 Academy program and to sign up please visit:  www.menacesoccer.com/u9u10/

The impetus behind offering two levels of play at U9 and U10 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.

Players registered for U9-U10 academy soccer will play in an Iowa Soccer Association Academy League that is subject to a number of player developmental guidelines. 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 registering for recreational soccer will follow the same format that they currently play in and will experience more consistency from season to season concerning coaching and team formation than an academy player would.

Academy clubs must still follow recreational 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 as opposed to team development.

To help parents decide which level of play is most appropriate for their child, listed below are the characteristics of typical players who would participate in an Academy Program. If your child displays a majority of the characteristics listed 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 recreational play.
  • Demonstrates sound technical skills (control, dribbling, and shooting)
  • Physically stronger than most players within their age group
  • Athletically quicker than most players within their age group
  • High level of coordination and good agility
  • During games is aggressive in their attitude and approach to getting involved
  • During games tends to dominate the 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 & practices
  • U9 player who will try-out for the U11 competitive age group in the following year
  • More information is available in the Academy Manual.