How to Get Help to Start a Soccer Academy

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The most important first step in creating a soccer academy, or club, in your town is becoming affiliated with one of the major national soccer associations, U.S. Club Soccer, U.S. Youth Soccer, the American Youth Soccer Organization or SAY Soccer. The soccer associations register players and coaches, sanction leagues, tournaments and soccer programs and have a variety of resources to help you get your new program off the ground.

Choose a national soccer association and become affiliated with it. If you plan to play competitive soccer, the two major competitive soccer groups are U.S. Youth Soccer and U.S. Club Soccer. U.S. Youth Soccer is the oldest organization and has the most competitive programs. However, U.S. Club Soccer includes clubs and academies in more than 50 states. Most league play is still under the umbrella of U.S. Youth Soccer, but many soccer clubs affiliate with both organizations. If you are looking to create an academy focused on recreational soccer, affiliate with either SAY Soccer or AYSO.

Develop relationships with existing soccer academies and clubs in your region. If you want to participate in recreational soccer tournaments in your area, you should be sure you are affiliated with the same national soccer associations as the majority of teams in your region to secure competition for your club. Competitive soccer teams usually travel for games, but it’s good to have several local teams in your area affiliated with the same organization with which you can compete on a regular basis.

Secure soccer fields where your teams can train and play games. Many communities have soccer fields available for rent through the parks and recreation department or at local schools. Sometimes you can also seek help from private youth athletic clubs to negotiate using their fields.

Purchase goals and nets. For competitive soccer you will need to buy regulation goals and nets, but for recreational soccer you can get by with cone goals to begin with when your program is just getting started. Some parks departments have goals available for rent.

Arrange for field lining. Some schools and parks provide field-lining services. If that is not available, you will need to purchase field-lining equipment.

Reach out for parent volunteers. It will be helpful to have parents who are willing to help coach, recruit players, act as referees and set up fields before games.

Develop a website to promote your program. You will need to have a merchant service account available to accept credit card payments.

Determine what you can offer to draw players to your program. Grow your organization by recruiting players from existing soccer clubs. Lure new players to your academy by offering a lower price than competitive clubs and providing better programs.

Tips

A soccer academy can host teams or individuals. If not hosting a team, market your organization as a training camp for soccer players.

Warnings

Contact your state attorney general’s office to obtain information about what is necessary to establish the proper legal status for your club in the state.

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