Youth Development Academy
Coach Tony Niccoli introduced us to this widely-acclaimed program that incorporates all of the Best Practices recommended by the US Soccer Association. The written curriculum provides age-appropriate activities based on the cognitive, psycho-motor, psycho-social and emotional stage of each age-group. Each session is instructed by BSA Coaches and Brecksville-Broadview Heights Soccer Players.
There is one fall session and one spring session. The fall session usually runs from early September through mid-October. The spring session usually begins mid-April and goes through the end of May. The Academy is for children ages 3 through 8. The U3, U5, and U7 age groups train Saturday mornings on the Blossom Hill turf for 6 weeks.
U3 Academy (age 3-4) is a parent-child program for children who are interested in having fun and learning the fundamentals of soccer. The program allows children the opportunity to work one-on-one with a parent, teaches a variety of soccer skills, and offers exercises that become increasingly more challenging.
U5 Academy (ages 4-5) will engage in the ABCs of player movement—Agility, Balance & Coordination. The ball will be used in most activities to facilitate body-movement and ball control. These players will play 1v1 and 2v2 games. Constant activity will be the target, so balls will be in continuous play.
U7 Academy (ages 6-7) will engage in small-sided games with 4v4 being the best format, but 3v3 and 5v5 might also be employed for older players. Their training will be games-based with a variety of competitive games that will challenge players to learn the tactics of the game—how to get a team shape; how to avoid pressure by passing back; how to defend; how to switch the ball to the side with less pressure.
U8 League (ages 7-8) will serve as an introduction to traditional league play in a 4v4 setting. There is one training session weekly and games to be played on Saturday mornings. An additional Street Soccer practice with BSA teams is offered each week. Teams will be formed, and volunteer coaches will manage teams. This division will help grow the "club" concept and stress individual player development and team concept. An explanation of what we do and why we do it will be provided to parents who will be able to comprehend our long-term player development scheme. We have found that the players coming out of our Academy are well-prepared to play 7v7 and the emotional hook has been set. The passion to compete in a team-sport will be embedded.
Registration for the Youth Development Academy is done through the City of Brecksville's Webtrac system.
This acclaimed program, which has completed numerous seasons, has prepared hundreds of players for successful maturation into travel and premier soccer programs. In 2009, Coach Niccoli was inducted into the Youth Soccer Hall of Fame for his impact on communities in developing successful programming in Ohio. Over a period of 20 years, he had traveled to many European countries to both study youth development programs as well as to share his vast experience in producing talented athletes and soccer players. He was also inducted into the Ohio Scholastic Hall of Fame in 1992 as one of the winningest high school coaches in the Midwest region.