"We have 3 kids that have all played NYSA soccer. They all started out as little kiddos playing rec. Our oldest played a couple of years competitive Celtic. The Academy program has been a great addition to NYSA! Our daughter was in the first Academy group back in 2007and our younger son has been fortunate enough to play up and be in the Academy program for a 3rd year. Having watched a lot of soccer over the years, I can tell you that Academy has help our kids be stronger players, faster... And the quicker you get in the program the better."
- Karen Wynn, Fury 99, Academy boys 03
I feel like the Academy program has been a great opportunity to my children. I have successfully sent one of my sons through the program while my younger son is still involved in the program at this time. Though I was fortunate enough to have had great coaches in the rec program I feel like my kids have been able to improve upon their skills by leaps and bounds in the Academy program in part by having consistantly tough competition from the other teams and tournaments that we play at this next level. The coaching staff does a fantastic job of keeping the kids engaged during a variety of drills that keep practices enjoyable but also very useful to their skill development. My kids are allowed many opportunities to be on the practice fields to hone their skills and participate in special skills clinics. It is wonderful to have access to the regulation fields and goals in order for the kids to continue to learn the positions and rules of soccer as the field size and team size change as they get older. My son entering the competitive program has been able to transition into his first competitive season very comfortably and is familiar with the coaches faces. Having gone through the Academy program he was able to gradually learn what the coaches expectations would be at a competitive level and has been able to make an easy adjustment to a slightly more intense style of play. It is rewarding to watch the kids develop their skill and aggressiveness, individually and as a team, with their understanding of the game combined with the level of footwork skills that is exciting to see when they apply it in their games. I appreciate very much the effort that the NYSA has made to make this program available because my kiddos love it!
- Heather Wade, Celtic 02, Academy boys 04
My daughter enjoyed rec soccer so much that switching to Academy scared her. She loved playing soccer, but what about her friends? What if she wasn't good enough? What if it wasn't fun? As her rec coach, it was scary to let go of the control...who's on the team, who coaches it, when they practice, etc. And, I knew the Academy coaches understood soccer better than me, but would they "get" kids?
I can safely say she still loves soccer. Her new team grew into a great team of friends. Every player is good enough to learn better soccer, and you can combine focus and fun. As the rec coach/parent, letting go and believing in the Academy coaches allowed my daughter to grow both on and off the field. She would not be the player or person she is today without her Academy experience.
-Rhonda Mayberry, Fury 01
As the mom of 4 boys it was inevitable that I would end up with at least one soccer player. Two of my older boys dabbled in soccer 10 years ago, well before the academy program was in place. Number 4 started with NYSA early, first with co-ed then working his way through rec, academy and now competitive. There is a huge difference between the program my older boys went through and the current one; all for the better.
Academy was a great stepping stone for my son between the recreational and competitive leagues. Practices were a little more frequent and serious with more concentration on skills and technique but at a level a 9 year old could understand. I saw a major improvement in his understanding of the game and he was able to find the position that he liked best and best suited his abilities. He learned what it really meant to be a team and the importance of playing together as a team. When the time came to try out for the competitive team he knew and I knew that he was ready for that next level of playing and the transition was quite easy.
- Helen Parker, Celtic 01