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AC Syracuse Academy Structure & Curriculum

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  • To be recognized as the premier soccer organization in Central New York by providing the ultimate fan experience at an affordable cost, simultaneously promoting and enhancing the game of soccer for the fans. Athletic Club Syracuse will be the team that regional soccer fans look to for excitement, engagement and community and the team that every player wants to play for. We will reflect the diversity and inclusiveness of our home city and will strive to have the best and most experienced licensed coaches and support staff available--to not only help the players continually improve and the team flourish, but to set the standards for professional soccer team organizations.Text

Player Development/Academy Structure

    • The AC Syracuse Academy Goal – ‘’Developing the COMPLETE Player at every level of the game’’. The mission of the AC Syracuse Academy is to promote and develop the game of soccer. We strive to develop the complete player from youth to adult, where each soccer player achieves the maximum of his/her ability and goals. We are committed to soccer excellence and sportsmanship, and strive to be the premier soccer club in Central New York

Player Development/Academy Structure

      • EXPERIENCED STAFF: Our Coaching Staff possess extensive soccer knowledge, coaching and playing experience.
      • HIGHEST EMPHASIS PLACED ON PLAYER DEVELOPMENT: AC Syracuse players develop individual skills and an understanding of the team game, in an enjoyable format. Players are trained using proven coaching methods. Individual player development surpasses the importance of team development -- a team will only be as strong as its individual players.
      • TECHNIQUE & SKILL ARE EMPHASIZED: The main component of training sessions will emphasize technical training where players will spend most of the time working on foot skills and becoming comfortable on the ball. Players will begin to be gradually introduced to self-solving basic and dynamic tactical scenarios through small-sided games. Where other clubs tend to focus solely on ball skills or moves, AC Syracuse Academy players will also learn to work with teammates to become complete players.
      • Open Houses
      • Local influencer
      • Indoor centers/ schools (kindergarten, middle schools, high schools)
      • PROFESSIONAL SERVICES: trainers, dieticians, strength-fitness
      • PRO-PLAYER MENTORS: pro-players will mentor small groups of Academy players
      • AC Syracuse Cup
      • Academy games prior to pro-team games. Local clubs will have an opportunity for     pregame walk-on with the pro-players on the field and half-time field time.
      • Livestream Academy’s games

COMPLETE Player Development Plan



Emphasis on the importance of four cognitive skills (perception, anticipation, critical thinking and memory)



Facilitate the fundamental behaviors of punctuality, respect and responsibility to promote life skills



Priority on focus, concentration, building confidence, team atmosphere and peak performance stress management



Instilling learned behavior through goal setting, conflict resolution and self-evaluation  

 “The secret is to believe in your dreams; in your potential that you can be like your star, keep searching, keep believing and don’t lose faith in yourself."

– Neymar Jr.



Develop role models who motivate with integrity, make effective decisions and embrace challenges on and off the field



Provide a unique professional pathway to learn, grow and maximize player’s potential



Foster growth through shared experiences and challenges with individual accountability to achieve a common goal



Cultivate a professional, player-centered environment specifically tailored for success using age-appropriate methodology

AC Syracuse Player Pyramid

Our vision is to provide a straight pathway for our young players to a professional team.

The Academy at AC Syracuse aims to deliver a player development pathway that supports our Club’s Philosophy. It is through this groundwork that we will provide all players the chance to succeed on and off the field.

Academy Structure

Stage I - Juniors – ages 5-8 years old
This will include a U-8 team. Anyone above 5 can be training with the team and will be introduced to league games based an ability, physical and psychological readiness. Training sessions will be 2 per week, local weekly game, 1 coordination and balance session a week and local tournaments. No travel out of town needed at this stage.
This is be the introductory stage of developing the COMPLETE player. The main component of the training sessions at the start of the development process should and will be focused on the technical side of the game. Players under the age of 8 do not have the same capacity as adults to analyze the environment. It is important to develop technique and create a strong ball-foundation for players as they go through the growth stages. At this age, players develop basic mechanics and will be introduced to light agility and coordination movements. Very importantly, the sessions will be structured to include the element of fun – where players enjoy the experience and the training, and where they fall in love with the beautiful game.

Stage II - Pre-Academy – ages 8-12 years old
This will include a U-10 group and a U-12 group. Training sessions will be 2 per week, local game weekly, 1 speed, agility and plyometric fitness session a week and local tournaments. No
travel out of town needed at this stage.
Players’ capacity to solve problems increases during this stage. Coaches will continue to focus on individual technique while slowly introducing basic tactical scenarios and fitness elements. Players at this age are starting to better understand the game, but are still limited by their physical size. Players grow at different rates physically as well as mentally, and the physical elements should not hinder technical growth. However, we do believe that it is pivotal that our players are introduced to light and fun agility, balance, and coordination activities. Through that, we hope to instill learned-behaviors and create habits that will help them down this path.


Stage III - Academy - ages 13-19 years old
Intermediate Stage 13-15 years old
This will include a U-13 group and a U-15 group. Training will be 2 sessions a week, weekly game, 1 fitness session a week, and tournaments. Out of town travel will begin at this stage.
This stage is crucial for combining all the components of soccer in order to increase the players’ soccer knowledge. Players at this age are still in the process of physical and mental development. All components of training can be combined and organized with the purpose of developing the highest potential of the player. Tactical scenarios will increase and emphasis will be on shape on and off the ball, and on the moments of transition. Fitness sessions will be intensified, and our players will have the benefit of working with fitness trainers and specialized coaches. Gaining strength in the muscles helps to develop technique at higher speed; this speed helps the player to react faster to technical and tactical situations. Players will have an individual Physical Development Plan that our coaching staff will keep track of to ensure that every player is monitored. In addition, our players will also benefit from
working with mental training, coaches, and nutritionists to unsure a healthier way of life.


Advanced Stage 16-19 years old
This will include a U-16/17 group and a U18/19 group. Training will be 2 field sessions a week, weekly game, 1 fitness session weekly, tournaments, and showcases. Out of town travel will be required.
Players at this stage are at the peak of their physical and mental development process. Tactical scenarios and intense physical activities will now be emphasized to prepare players to compete at the highest level. This is the age to focus on the outcome of the match as well as the quality of individual performance. To ensure that, we will provide training opportunities with the semi-pro and pro teams, thus providing advanced players with the chance to elevate their game and understand what it takes to play at the next level.
The long-term objective of the AC Syracuse development pyramid is to develop COMPLETE players who are well-rounded contributing community members. A soccer education with AC Syracuse is more than soccer it is a vehicle to develop life-long skills

Coaching Philosophy:

To tie the four components together for both the player and the team as a whole, the principles of play must be evaluated. The principles of play are essentially the checklist that a player goes through mentally for each moment that occurs in a game. With time and a lot of training these principles will become second nature for the players and will improve decision making. AC Syracuse coaches will follow these guidelines, and training sessions will be specifically designed to include activities where the Principles of Play are at the core (see training plans below).

Due to differences in age groups, the Principles of Play will be included in various shapes and forms in training sessions to ensure that our players learn and apply age appropriate concepts. A training session for a U-12 group cannot be coached the same as a U-18 group. AC Syracuse Academy provides a pre- determined training structure to all of our coaches with the purpose of helping players go through the developmental process following the same concepts and philosophy.

Training Session Objectives & Templates


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