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Organized and Competitive Soccer at the Youngest Ages in Western New York – WNY Flash Jr. Academy

04/08/2019 6:23 AM -

Organized and Competitive Soccer at the Youngest Ages in Western New York – WNY Flash Jr. Academy

We hope the following article helps you find the best fit for young young soccer player in Buffalo. Wherever your young soccer player plays the game, encourage them to always have a smile on their face, and then sit back and enjoy watching them train and play! Try to let the game and their coaches coach them, while you support and love them.

For more information on the WNY Flash Jr. Academy Program, please contact Gary Bruce, gbruce@wnyflashsoccer.com

In the greater Buffalo area, the more competitive and organized soccer generally begins at the Under-9 age group where many house/travel clubs form teams to participate in the Buffalo and Western New York Jr. Soccer League.  

So... What happens on either side of the “go moment” of U-9 soccer?  First, what does U-9 mean?

U-9 means any player “under 9 years of age”.  For the current 2018/19 season, U-9 means any player born in 2010 or after.  For the 2019/20 season, it will be any player born in 2011 or after.

For many players, the year of U-9 soccer is when they make a decision to transition from House programs to a Travel program or a Premier program. Now, what do House, Travel and Premier mean when describing youth soccer programs?

House programs are organized to offer an entrance into the sport.  Many House programs group birth years and genders together, offering programs that are largely game-play based, with not much time spent in a traditional practice setting. House programs are volunteer run and an awesome entry level for any young player aged 4-8+.

Travel programs begin to separate by gender and ability, offering programs that include dedicated volunteer coaches, a more traditional schedule with team practices and competition in league games and local tournaments.  Travel programs typically train/play through only a portion of the year. Some travel programs will have a professional coaching influence, usually in the form of a part time director.
The Flash Academy currently collaborates and partners with four House/Travel Clubs in the area to help and support them in improving player development throughout their club. West Seneca SC, Grand Island YSC. Fort Erie SC & Enchanted Mountain SC are all in our youth club partner program. We continue to reach out to other clubs in the hope we can collaborate and improve the landscape for as many young players and families as possible.
Premier programs are typically run by qualified and licensed soccer coaches and in the case of the WNY Flash Academy are led by a full-time coaching staff. The teams and players inside the program train consistently throughout the year, offering an environment where committed players and families have the chance to train/play year round.  To best understand how a Premier program like The WNY Flash operates, a good place to start is with our Mission, Vision and Core Values.

How does the WNY Flash Jr. Academy fit into this model?

The WNY Flash Jr. Academy is a hybrid house/travel/premier program.  It is an entrance into the game of soccer for some, a way to build a base of skills and learn how to be around a more structured training environment for others. It is also a place where experienced house/travel players can take things to another level with more of a premier training environment.  It is run by qualified, professional soccer coaches.  It is the realization of the Flash Mission, Vision and Core Values at the youngest ages.

Through the WNY Flash Jr. Academy, players learn skills in an educational environment, players learn how to compete in a safe and respectful setting, but players also learn the core values necessary to be part of The Flash Academy. It is a training environment for players in the age groups on either side of the U-9 “go moment”.  For some players, the Flash Jr. Academy will be a home for them to develop as they anticipate their “go moment”.  For some players, the Flash Jr. Academy will be a way for them to accelerate the development of their skills in order to join a Flash Academy team they want to play for.  For all of the participants, it will be active and fun, helping them work together with a group of peers and coaches in an environment that values improvement and involvement.  It is one step in a pathway to the top for elite, or aspiring elite level players. Enjoy every step!


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