WMSC is excited to offer it's first ever Junior Academy Program, which is replacing the U8 Fall Travel teams. As you may have heard, US Soccer has mandated some changes in how youth soccer is implemented, and the most significant change comes with the under-8 age group.
Traditionally, Travel teams in the U8 age group would compete against other teams in the Morris County Youth Soccer Association, playing ten games per season with 8 players aside (7 players plus goalie). The US Soccer rule change now states that U8 teams should play 4 players aside, without goalies. This rule change is a positive thing for young player development, as it promotes footskills, proper positioning and passing, as opposed to the "swarm of bees" that we have all seen at the younger ages.
The goal of the Junior Academy will be for the kids to have fun while developing our future WMSC super-stars! The Academy will teach our U-8 age group the fundamentals of possession, passing, shooting, positioning, footskills and teamwork. Additionally, the Junior Academy will differ from the rec program in that it will introduce our youngest players to more advanced, competitive soccer with the opportunity to compete in local festivals (think tournaments), but will not lose sight of the fact that first and foremost these players should be having fun!
To facilitate this, Junior Academy players will have a specialized practice one weekday and then participate in the rec program another weekday, with Academy players participating in local festivals with neighboring towns some Saturdays. On weekends when festivals are not scheduled, Academy members will participate in the rec program. We are also pleased to inform you that although the Academy program offers developmental opportunities over the rec program, the increase in cost is nominal. Most other clubs in the area are adopting a similar process so this should be a positive and rewarding developmental experience for Junior Academy players.