U8 Development Academy

UpdatedThursday June 17, 2021 byTravel Soccer.

 A supplemental development opportunity for those soccer players that would be considered U8 for the seasonal year that runs from fall to following summer.   U8 Academy players benefit from a higher level training program run by professional trainers.  Practices are 1x/week typically on Friday evenings to avoid conflicts with other.  We encourage players to participate in the IM program as well so that they may get weekly game experience.  But our Academy players will also experience local 4v4 or 7v7 tournament competition in the fall at local surrounding soccer clubs (Play Days).  Led by highly qualified, professional trainers, this program is designed to prepare the players, parents and potential coaches for Travel Soccer at the U9 level.


What is the U8 Academy?

The Academy program’s objective is to develop the technical ability and game sense of passionate, motivated, and advanced U8 players who desire to be challenged in every aspect of their game. The academy will serve as a bridge between IM and travel soccer, and follow the US Soccer Small-Sided Initiatives.

The program will include (subject to change based on number of participants on the boys’ and girls’ sides):

  • One weekly 90 minute professional trainer-led practice sessions, from roughly mid-August to mid-November
  • Several 4v4 intrasquad games and festival-style 4v4 games / tournaments with neighboring clubs on Sundays in the fall.
  • optional regional tournaments (likely 7v7 format)
  • opportunity to continue winter indoor and or spring outdoor training as well


How will my son or daughter benefit from the Academy program?

Our goal is to create an environment that will nurture the ability of the many talented U8 players within the club and prepare them for higher-level soccer. We believe that implementing the US soccer small-sided standards is the best way to accomplish this goal:

  • Fewer players on the field means more touches on the ball and more game involvement, which develops more individual skill
  • Players who are more skilled become more confident and comfortable when they have the ball
  • Field sizes are designed to assist players in decision making and improve overall awareness
  • This approach builds on itself as players get older and numbers increase on bigger fields

Source: US Soccer Player Development Initiative


How is this different than travel soccer?

The quality and level of instruction and coaching for the Academy will be exactly the same as it is throughout the rest of the travel program. However, we will not be forming 7v7 teams to “play up” in a U9 travel division within the area leagues that our older kids plan in. Instead, we will focus on 4v4 weekend games (intrasquad or with neighboring clubs) in a friendly and fun, but competitive environment. Therefore, the travel requirement will be less than that for the older travel teams.


How is this different than intramural soccer?

The Academy will be oriented toward the U8 player who is ready for a more competitive, focused soccer environment and who is interested in the travel soccer program for U9 and older.  It is also an opportunity for families to gain experience in this environment and for potential coaching volunteers to begin their preparations to lead a team.


If you are interested, please check for open registration in late spring/early summer or contact one of our Club Coordinators

U8 Academy Coordinator       Paul Laub - sports@pjlaub.com 

Club Coordinator                    Patrick Bailey - baileypat13@comcast.net

Boys Program Coordinator      Brendan Hill – brendan.hill@yahoo.com

Girls Program Coordinator      JR Defeo - jrdefeo1@msn.com