Is Academy Soccer on the Right Track?


By Paul Oliu

Something has gone awry with the Academy system.  Whatever the original intent as

Paul Oliu 2016

Paul Oliu is a former ex-writer, coach and dad. His articles appear from time to time on the 56th Minute

designed by US Soccer, I find the reality a bit troubling.  We were told that Academies are there to develop players.  We were told it is intended to elevate the quality of play.  We were told playing with an Academy IS the way to be the best soccer player.  Sadly, the difference between intention and reality could not be starker.  For the Academy system has become just another Ponzi scheme in the lexicon of US Soccer organizations.  I realize I may be in the minority here, but we should not be surprised by it in the least.


What has struck me the most over the past few years is the sad quality of coaching that is currently on the sidelines.  Having logged hours watching practices, I will say that our development of players are in the hands of coaches and trainers who lack experience, guidance, expertise, or all three.  The lack of quality is by and large accepted or ignored, and little organizational guidance is provided.  The lack of a coherent and structured curriculum creates a year’s worth of training into a hodgepodge of exercises without purpose.  The end result is players that individually may be very technical, but have the tactical awareness of a rock. Continue reading