Colorado United offers the Academy program primarily at ages U9 and U10. In recent years this has also been extended to the U11 and up age group. The Academy program is typically a 2 year program designed for the player who desires a higher level of training and play. Players, regardless of their ability level, who are committed to becoming a better soccer player and have a passion for soccer, are a perfect fit for this program. The goal of the Academy program is to create a fun and passionate environment to help each player along their soccer playing experience. The program offers a more challenging and structured environment to improve each player’s fundamental technical skills and their understanding of the game. This is not a competitive program or advanced league, but is a more progressive division that requires more of the players while focusing on their skills in a fun and enthusiastic environment. Each team will receive between 6 and 8 staff training sessions per season with United’s professional staff trainers. The training is the most important aspect of the Academy program, this helps develop the player and also the volunteer coach.
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The goal of this program is to enhance the development of each player’s technical ability. By focusing on technique this will ultimately improve their soccer experience with the goal of creating life-long soccer players. Passing and receiving, ball striking, dribbling and ball control are the most important topics for this age group. Each player will see their individual skill and technique improve during the first year of the Academy program. To effectively create this environment players practice twice a week, typically on Tuesday and Thursday for 75 minutes. Boys and girls practice separately but at the same times, this allows for greater social interaction within each gender. Teams in this age group play 7v7 with a GK. This encouraged format provides players with more opportunities to touch the ball in the game and ultimately improves their decision making skills. Teams typically play against other Colorado United teams in an in-house league.
The U10 Academy focus is to continue with the development of each player’s technical ability with a shift towards team related development. The cognitive awareness and understanding of concepts develop with age, and at U10 the players are able to comprehend more tactical related thoughts and ideas. The Academy program begins to implement more tactical information to increase their game understanding and decision making skills. Players practice two to three times a week, typically on a Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Teams in this age group play 7v7, typically these teams move into state run leagues (CSA) such as Recreational South or Intermediate Bronze and play a mixture of home and away games.
Over the last 2-3 years there has been a demand from players and parents to continue the Academy program into older ages. This program continues the development and benefits of the U9 & U10 Academy. This program has proven to be a great alternative to competitive soccer for many players while still providing quality training. For many players this provides a bridge between the Recreational and Competitive program, allowing each player to develop their skills and potentially move to the Competitive program when the time is right for the player and/or team. Teams in this age group play 9v9 (U11-12) or 11v11 (U13-14) and practice 3 times a week. Typically these teams play at the Gold/Silver Rec level of play through CSA and play a mixture of home and away games.