SKY Soccer Club Pre-Academy Program Information

Updated: Jun 26

Thank you for your interest in our Pre-Academy Program. Our Pre-Academy program is a professionally designed and directed program delivered via our partnership with Mighty Kicks Southern Kentucky. As a key part of the SKY Player Pathway, the Pre-Academy program is for our youngest players (ages 2-5), and provides kids a fun, positive, first soccer experience that progresses players each season and year to prepare them technically and mentally for our Junior Academy program. Players are taught skills and life lessons, while developing a love for the game under a player-first development framework, in alignment with the U.S. Soccer player development framework. Below, we will share more details and specifics of the program.


The Purpose:

The Pre-Academy Program exists to provide an early soccer experience that is fun, developmentally appropriate, and teaches the fundamentals of the game of soccer to all children. The Pre-Academy is for all levels of players and teaches the foundational skills of the game while also incorporating a curriculum that teaches important life skills.


The Facts:

The Pre-Academy Program is designed to create an environment that helps all children learn the important components of the game, while also developing friendships, learning important values, and establishing the foundation for participation in a healthy sporting activity. The Pre-Academy Program utilizes a professionally designed and developmentally appropriate curriculum, led by licensed coaches, to deliver a challenging and fun environment for all children.


The SKY Pre-Academy provides young players an opportunity to grow their individual soccer skills in a fun professional environment as part of the SKY Pathway to Academy soccer. It provides a firm foundation for children of all ability levels to participate in the game of soccer. As part of our continued investment in this program, we are adding multiple licensed coaches to the roster.


We are always looking for volunteers that are interested in helping with the players and have interest in working/learning under a licensed coaching staff. If you are interested in volunteering, please email Coach Zach at zsalchli@skysoccer.org


The Objectives:

Pre-Academy will provide:


  • A structured, age appropriate curriculum, that promotes skill development

  • Repetition of essential technical skills

  • Professional, enthusiastic training with defined curriculum

  • An enjoyable and exciting experience in every session

  • Emphasis on skill development in a non-intimidating environment that encourages players to challenge themselves while focusing on technical skills

  • Emphasis on quality and long term development over short term gains.

How are teams formed?


Players are randomly assigned to teams by age. Each team has a volunteer head and assistant coach. Our professional staff coaches, led by Coach Zach Salchli, are part of every team’s session as they lead all children through a series of activities with the support of the volunteer coaching staff.


As a commitment to ensuring a high level experience for all participants, all of our professional staff coaches are licensed. All of our volunteer head and assistant coaches undergo professional development with the Kentucky Youth Soccer Association to complete their US Soccer Grassroots License. Additional training is provided by Director Zach Salchli, the United Soccer Coaches Association, and other SKY Soccer Program Directors. We provide this training for free to all coaches. If you are interested in taking part in our coaching program, please contact Zach Salchli at zsalchli@skysoccer.org.


Practices and Games


All practices and games are being held at Lovers Lane Soccer Complex. Practices will be one day per week for ages 4 and 5 with games on Saturdays. For ages 2-3 they will only meet once a week on Saturday Mornings.

On game days, players will participate in a 30 minute practice session prior to their game. Game lengths vary depending on the age group.


Communication:


SKY Soccer Club uses the TeamSnap application for the Pre-Academy Program. This application enables the Pre-Academy coaches and parents to communicate in real time via instant messaging capabilities as well as share regular updates via instant message and email. The schedule will also be updated in TeamSnap, including field numbers with reminders being emailed. TeamSnap will be free to download from app stores and used by our Pre-Academy participants. You will receive a TeamSnap invite to join the Pre-Academy group. Simply accept your invite, create a login and download the app on your phone and you’ll receive all program related information directly.


Uniforms:


All Pre-Academy players are provided a uniform t-shirt as part of registration. You are not required to purchase anything additional. Players may choose their own color of shorts and socks. Shin guards are required for all players aged 4 and up but are also highly recommended for ages 3 and up.


Curriculum


Would you feel good about sending your child to school if the teacher just showed up and taught whatever they felt like teaching that day, no plan, no progression? Neither would we, so we are deliberate in our approach to player development in the Pre-Academy Program. Our approach holds the players and the coaches accountable to a plan with age and developmentally appropriate training sessions.


Typical Weekly Plan:


Week 1: Ball Control/Stopping and Moving with the Ball


Week 2: Ball Control/Changing Speeds with the Ball


Week 3: Striking a Ball with the Inside of the Foot


Week 4: Striking a Ball with the In-Step


Week 5: 1v1


Week 6: Turns


Week 7: Shielding the Ball


Week 8: Review


All players will learn the following foundational skills as part of the Pre-Academy Program:


  • Dribbling the Ball with all surfaces of the foot: Inside, Outside, Laces, and Sole

  • Striking the Ball for accuracy with the Inside of Foot

  • Striking the Ball for power with the In-Step

  • Dribbling “Moves”: Pull back, Inside Cut, Outside Cut, Scissors, Mathews, and Step-Over.

  • The Pre-Academy Program follows the United States Soccer’s Play-Practice-Play

Model for player development. A typical session includes:


10-15 minutes of guided free play.

20 minutes technical ball work

15 minutes of guided play

Parent Participation Program


Our youngest participants (2019 for the Fall 2021 season) take part in a Parent Participation Program, also known as a “Mommy and Me” program. Parents are expected to participate with their child in this introductory program. All children who are 2 Years Old at the time of the season must participate as part of the Parent Participation Program. This program focuses on gross motor development, listening skills, and the ability to follow directions. This introductory program provides children with the foundation needed to successfully join the Pre-Academy in their next season.


Parent Handbook


You will be provided with a Parent Handbook for the season that outlines all parent expectations, as well as provides more detail regarding the program. Please be sure to read the handbook in detail. It will answer many of the questions you may still have. You can view that on our resources page.


Registration


To register for our Pre-Academy Program for the upcoming Fall 2021 Season, click HERE.