Frequently Asked Questions
1. How is the Junior Academy different than recreation soccer?
There are several differences; the main one being the experience level of the coach. All of our Junior Academy coaches are paid staff members and are licensed through US Soccer. We find the best people we can to work with our players. The Junior Academy follows a developmentally appropriate curriculum through the fall and spring seasons focusing on individual technique and ball control. The ratio of training sessions to games is about 3:1. Each Junior Academy team trains twice per week.
2. How do I know if my child is "good enough" to be in the JA?
Registration for Junior Academy opens in the month of May each year. We look for players who enjoy playing, try to execute appropriate technique, have great attitudes, and are able to take coaching instruction and follow directions. The hardest working players are undoubtedly the ones who improve the most and thrive in the Junior Academy environment.
4. How much travel do they do each season?
There are only a few travel dates each season, and those travel locations will be within the Piedmont Triad only. Every fall and spring there will be around 8 total events, with at least half of those being home events.
5. How long is the commitment? One season? Two seasons?
During registration, players can commit for a single season or for both the fall & spring seasons. If you are wanting to join the Junior Academy for the spring soccer season, please contact Patrick Bridges, the Junior Academy Director, or Nick Smith, the Junior Academy Administrator.
6. What are the start dates for the fall? For the spring?
Typically we begin training the week before public school starts in August, and in the spring we start during the last week of January or early February.
7. What is Juniors Camp, and when is it?
Juniors Camp is offered over two weeks at the end of the summer before training begins. Players are encouraged to attend one week of camp, and are welcome to attend both! It’s a great chance for the Junior Academy Staff to get to know the players before the season begins. Camp goes from 8 AM-11 AM Monday-Thursday. We play a big group warm up, go through a training session, take a break inside with some trivia or games, and then finish the day playing barefoot soccer. There is an extra cost to attend.
8. Why is the cost so different from Recreation?
The higher cost reflects the licensed coaching staff, a 12-week season with 24 training sessions and 8-10 games, facility use, and all games and events included in the Junior Academy schedule. In contrast, the recreation program has volunteer coaches and an 8 week season with 8 training sessions and 8 games. If you would like to learn more about the differences between the two programs, please contact Patrick Bridges, the Junior Academy Director, or Nick Smith, the Junior Academy Administrator.
9. When you schedule games, why are there only days, and not times until 2 weeks before the date?
The Junior Academy Director and the Junior Academy Administrator work hard to set schedules with as much advance notice as possible. However, several factors play a role in delaying our release of game times for Junior Academy games, including but not limited to:
- Recalibrating the schedule and teams to ensure fair competition
- Navigating coaching schedules to determine game coverage options
- Adjusting to changes and field obligations in other NC Fusion programming
Game times for all events, with the exception of the festival and tournaments, usually fall between:
- 8:00am & 12:00pm for events hosted by the West Junior Academy
- 12:00pm & 4:00pm for events hosted by the East & Central Junior Academies
10. What is the difference between the Junior Academy and the Elite Academy?
The Elite Academy teams train 1 extra day per week (3 days a week), and are coached by either the Junior Academy Director or another highly qualified coach. They will play in one extra festival or tournament each fall and spring, and will occasionally play additional games. The U10 teams will play in a U11 Classic Division during the spring season, experiencing high-level soccer in a way few players are able to at this age. Elite Academy teams are created and managed by the program director. If you are interested in having your player considered for these teams, reach out to Patrick Bridges, the Junior Academy Director, or Nick Smith, the Junior Academy Administrator.
11. Does the Junior Academy provide opportunities for the players to have a little fun now and then? It sounds so serious!
From our Junior Academy camp at the end of the summer where kids finish each day playing barefoot soccer, to having Wake Forest Soccer teams come train with us, to our epic Halloween bash, there’s always something exciting around the corner! Training activities are mostly game-based, so players get to attack at goal often, score, and compete, which they love! We think structure is important, but we balance that with energetic coaching, fun events, and a positive environment for players to be in, no matter what team they’re on!
12. Why is the Junior Academy right for player development?
The goal of the Junior Academy is to create an environment where each player has the opportunity to excel. The staff, training sessions, and events are all chosen carefully to aid in the development process. The curriculum is specific for the 8U-10U age groups, and the emphasis on competing in training and in games helps foster creative attacking play and a great base of soccer skill for players to continue on to the next level.