The JPYS Academy is the recreational soccer division of Jamaica Plain Youth Soccer. It strives to develop passionate and skilled soccer players by offering an inclusive, fun-first program focused on soccer education for boys and girls, ages 7-10 (1st through 4th grades). The Academy was established to advocate the enjoyment of soccer and the patient development of fundamental skills. More information on the schedule and age groupings can be found on the U8 Academy Information and U10 Academy Information pages.
The JPYS Academy is founded on three guiding principles:
Soccer for kids should be, first and foremost, fun. Many formerly enthusiastic young soccer players quit playing by the age of 13. The reason cited by the vast majority of kids who leave the pitch for good? “It wasn’t fun anymore.” A fun-first focus helps to foster ongoing passion for the sport.
Technique is key. At young ages, the developmental priorities should be: skill and confidence with the ball, stable and precise movement, and creativity and flair. These come through repetition, unending touch on the ball and uninterrupted play – both in technical activities and in small, tight games.
Free play leads to creative play. The best way to get better at soccer is to play soccer, freely and with little intrusion, in an environment where experimentation is encouraged and where mistakes can lead to new insight.
More information on our coaching principles can be found hereandhere.
The Academy’s program is player-focused and builds from the following progression of soccer logic: 1) develop skills, that allow players to 2) control the ball, which allows teams to 3) control the game, which positions teams to 4) win the game. The program dispenses with some of the regular features of youth programs -- identity with one team and one coach, game results and standings – that can lead to a reversal of that logic such that winning is prioritized above skills development. The Academy program is structured as follows:
Age-specific practices. The Academy features age-specific practices and cluster coaching. Kids are invited to attend either or both of two weekly practices where they work with community coaches and parent volunteers. Practices follow a curriculum that is age-appropriate and aligned with developmental programs from premier leagues worldwide. They typically involve a period of intense technical training followed by small group challenges and small-sided scrimmages.
Weekend games. On Sundays, kids are organized into teams and play games for an hour. Teams and games are organized to ensure that kids spend no time -- or next to no time -- watching from the sideline. Teams are re-constituted each week.
The JPYS Academy makes the following pledge to players and parents/guardians:
Kids will play a lot of soccer. Crisply organized practices provide more time on the ball; the structure of weekend games provides more playing time. Overall, kids have more ball contacts and confront more real soccer situations, which are the foundations of development
Kids will enjoy consistently good instruction. The coaching ensures that all kids have access to and are guided by experienced and resourceful coaches. And it ensures that less experienced coaches continue to progress in their learning and development. The end result? Players enjoy stimulating and valuable practices and encounter a coherent, well designed progression of soccer teaching through the U8 to U10 levels.
Kids will be free to play and to have fun playing. The player-centered approach puts the emphasis on enjoyment and consistent development during practice and on freedom and soccer smartness during weekend games. The pressure to “get a result” in the weekend game is minimized as is the pressure to perform that often comes from well-intentioned but misguided coaches and parents.