The Roseville Premier U8 Academy is a soccer program designed for promising young players born in 2016. Its primary goal is to help these players transition from small-sided 4v4 games to full-sized 7v7 matches, with a focus on preparing them for competitive soccer and building confidence for competitive tryouts in May 2024.
Here are some key details about the U8 Academy:
Exceptional organization, technical instruction, and player development.
Starting in early January 2024 and running through competitive tryouts in May 2024, the U8 Academy will provide the following:
• Exceptional instruction from experienced, US Soccer Federation Licensed coaches
• Training and/or games 3-4 times weekly
• A holistic training plan that introduces complex concepts to young players over the course of the Program
• Introduction to—and ultimate mastery of—the 7v7 game
• Fun—but with exceptionally high expectations
• Turf and grass events
• A spring league season competing against other Sacramento-area teams
• Weekly parental communications
• Professionalism and respect towards players and families
• A focus on player development—not winning; “success” will be defined by player improvement, not the number of wins
You love the game of soccer, and you want a coach and teammates who push you to be your best.
You will lean into—not run away from—the qualities and skills required to improve:
• Hard work, dedication, commitment, honor, teamwork, and respect. That’s right: we didn’t even mention soccer first. For any team to be successful, its players must have the character and conduct required to create a successful environment. Exceptional skill will only take you so far as an athlete: you need to be a leader, a great teammate, and committed
• You have a history of being a strong soccer player
• Attendance at team events
• Flexibility to try new positions and do new things
• Focus and determination
• You love soccer and want to have fun. If everything above sounds a little intimidating, that’s okay: we want you to become your best. And for that to happen, we know we have to make it a LOT of fun
You want your child to be coached by professionals who know the game but also coach in a way to support kids.
You recognize your role as a loving parent who will support the team, not try to coach from the sideline:
• Make every effort to have your son or daughter in attendance: neither a player nor a team can be its best if frequently absent
• Attend and enjoy team events—but allow coaches to motivate and coach. It’s extremely difficult to be quiet when our child seems less motivated or is making mistakes, but addressing such matters is a coach’s job
• Support a positive view towards overcoming adversity: working hard, speaking with coaches and teammates, and persevering
• Ask your child questions about the day’s events, but don’t tell them what they did wrong; understanding WHY the team focused on certain areas makes players better in the long run
• Have fun: this is youth sports
• Understand that no professional contracts will be awarded 😊
A maximum of sixteen boys and sixteen girls will be selected for the U8 Academy Program. All players born in 2016 are eligible; if truly gifted and mature, players born in 2017 are also eligible. The program cost will be $415 per player.
Players will be evaluated and invited from a variety of sources and fall 2023 events—current Roseville Juniors participants, Rec2Comp drop-in training sessions (if your child’s 2016 team has elected to participate), recreational “All Stars” training sessions in December (if your child’s coach selected him/her to attend these events), or separate evaluation sessions in December. If you wish to have your son or daughter attend these evaluation sessions, please fill out this form. If you would like to speak with the Program Director to learn more, please email U8academy@rosevillesoccer.com or call 650.248.8003.
Our tentative schedule for practices and games is below. Please note that days and times are subject to change due to field permits, weather, and other unforeseen circumstances.
March – Mid-May:
With updated field permits and daylight savings time, practice times and locations may change. We hope to maintain a similar schedule but may need to adapt. Spring league games will begin in March. Note that not all players will play all spring league games. All players will be excused from a roughly equal number of league games, so families should anticipate having a few open Saturdays. There may also be additional activities (skills/fitness, game watches, or other), which will be scheduled in such a way as to minimize conflicts.
Players will be exposed to the Roseville Way: team-based soccer that emphasizes player intelligence, possession, dynamic attack, and high-pressure defense. Kids are smart and capable of understanding quite a bit, but adults can overwhelm them by trying to get them to think about all aspects of soccer simultaneously. Our training sessions will focus on targeted objectives instead of peppering players with dozens of different requests. One day may emphasize possession when we have the ball (“make it big”), whereas another may emphasize team defensive shape when our opponent has the ball (“make it small”). By breaking down instruction into manageable chunks—instead of asking players to think about all aspects of the game at once—players become more proficient. Over time, they subconsciously apply various principles simultaneously and achieve more success on the field.
Maybe. This can get philosophical, but the truth is that the answer will differ for each child. Some parents and sports clubs try to force kids into things that they’re not ready for, and it’s a shame when that happens. Most younger kids enjoy a more casual relationship with a game early on, and if we try to push them too hard, too early, we end up turning them off instead of fostering a love of the game.
However, the opposite is also true: some kids are obsessed with a sport and/or show exceptional promise at an early age. These players are best served by additional opportunities to think and grow as players—with age-relevant activities, supportive coaches, and high expectations that will enable them to achieve more success.
Other clubs offer similar opportunities under names such as “academy” or “comp in training” programs. With specifically-designed programs, clubs are acknowledging that there is something different about U8 players who are transitioning into the U9 game. Furthermore, they’re recognizing that young athletes are different—with different maturities, attention spans, and more.
We certainly won’t disparage any neighboring clubs, many of which share our passion to help players thrive and develop a lifelong passion for the game. We’ll just reiterate our approach and let you decide if it’s the right one for your child and family: our nationally licensed coaches will deliver a curriculum that is custom-tailored to the needs of U8 players; expect hard work, respect, commitment, and dedication from players above all else; set high expectations; but also coach, nurture, and support young athletes in a way that makes the game fun and fulfilling. We have to approach young players differently than professionals if we hope to bring the most out of them.
In a sense, yes, given that it will take place outside of a Fall recreational season, have professional coaches, and incorporate a spring league against area competitive teams. But it’s very different from a full competitive season in that it’s designed specifically for players transitioning from U8 recreational soccer and who have an interest in understanding the competitive soccer experience. It’s fair to say that it’s a five-month competitive soccer experience tailored to 2016 players, after which players and families can decide if they’re interested in more
No. Being selected for this program doesn’t mean that you bypass May 2024 tryouts: everyone interested in playing competitive soccer participates in these. And it’s important to mention that NOT participating in this program doesn’t exclude a player from making a U9 competitive team in May. Parents should evaluate this opportunity as a player development experience and determine if that is right for the child; please don’t look at it as a “leg up” or “preference” come tryouts.
That’s okay: nobody is going to lock your kid into a soccer life that s/he doesn’t want. If s/he wants to instead return to his/her recreational team in the fall, we’ll be happy to support that registration. However, we do ask that if you choose to participate, you commit to January – May. We want to teach not just soccer, but also values such as commitment, dedication, and teamwork. Seeing something through will not only benefit the team but also each individual player.
Absolutely. While many Clubs encourage younger and younger players to specialize in one sport, Roseville believes that it’s healthy for kids to be involved in different activities. With that said, however, the value your child gets will be impacted by the commitment and dedication shown. We’ve published a tentative schedule for practices and games because we want families to consider whether they’ll be able to be committed members of the team.
Not all players will be selected to participate in the U8 Academy Program, but anyone not selected can still register for the Roseville Juniors Program, which offers instruction from equally qualified coaches. If your child enjoys soccer and wants to play more this winter/spring, s/he will have the opportunity to do so one way or another.