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Montclair United Soccer Club

Montclair United Soccer Club

Academy Guidelines


This document is intended to stand alone as an instructive blueprint for anyone seeking to learn more about or administrate the Academy


The Academy philosophy is to provide high-level, structured training to Montclair children who demonstrate a passion for the game of soccer
and a commitment to further developing skills through concentrated training. The program emphasizes individual, skills-based training and
small-sided games, as well as developing an inspiring, fun environment that fosters confidence and creativity.

Team Composition


Teams should be comprised primarily of Montclair children with targets for team size and out-of-town participation.

Age  Group
Number of Boys (target)   Number of Girls (target)  Non-Montclair (07042/07043) 1
 U7/8  36  36  max 20% per team
 U9  36  36  max 20% per team
 U10  36  36  max 20% per team
 U11 32
 32  max 30% per team
 U12  tbd  tbd  max 35% per team
 U13  tbd  tbd  max 40% per team

1 Academy Age Group Directors may petition the Academy Director and MUSC Board of Directors to raise the hard cap on non-Montclair players. Still, under no circumstances will out-of-town participation
exceed 45% per team.


Players wanting to play with an older age group (e.g. an 8 year old playing with the U10 Academy) must fit one of the following criteria:

  • Grade appropriate - if a player is not age appropriate, but is grade appropriate, he/she is eligible to play up.
  • Significant contributor - if a player is neither age or grade appropriate, upon request, he/she may try out for the older age group. If the player is ranked in the top 1/3 of the A team, he/she is eligible to play up.
  • Extraordinary circumstances - if a player does not fit either of the above criteria, the Team Manager and/or Academy Age Group Director may make an appeal to the Director of Academy Programs for an exception.

All applications to play up are subject to the judgment and final approval of the Director of Academy Programs.

Parent / Player Commitment


Each age group requires commitments from knowledgeable parents to ensure the program’s success, as well as contain costs. The following roles are critical:

  • Vice President of Travel Programs - plans and manages all MUSC travel programs.
  • Director of Coaching - establishes age group benchmarks, evaluates and managers trainers and training organizations, drives developmental culture within the Club.
  • Director of Academy Programs - ensures all Academy Age Group Directors are implementing the program appropriately (egadministration, lesson plan, curriculum, substitution patterns, etc), utilizing the model of positive reinforcement and collective feedback.
  • Academy Age Group Directors - (one each for the girls’ and boys’ Academies) are responsible for overall administration of the program and evaluation of the trainers. Each enlists and manages parent volunteers to coordinate small-sided scrimmages, invited scrimmages, tournaments and any other events.
  • Team Managers for each team (for age groups where teams are formed).
  • Small-sided Game Volunteers will help to control costs by minimizing trainer involvement.


Children are expected to dedicate themselves to the program; best demonstrated by dependable, prompt attendance and enthusiastic participation. The level of commitment (and attendance) increases with each age group, materially stepping up for the U11s with a nonoptional Winter component. But, in general, the Academy is designed to drive attendance using the carrot (ie fun programs in a challenging, competitive environment), not the stick (ie contracts, mandates or sanctions). Montclair United recognizes children will likely miss sessions due to school or religious education commitments, vacations and commitments to other sports. The Academy supports children playing multiple sports (especially in Winter/Spring) and understands the associated scheduling/attendance considerations. That said, the Club aims to balance the commitment of players who prioritize soccer relative to players who may have other commitments. At U12 and above, trainers may reduce playing time proportional to the number of regular practices and league games attended.

Training and Competitive Play


The needs of the club can only be met with the following:
  • Consistent, dedicated, enthusiastic, high-level training by qualified professional training staff.
  • A dedicated training “director” who will oversee the program and coordinate all staff trainers.
  • Detailed training curricula outlining how the program will unfold during the year on a session-by-session basis.
  • Fields properly set up for weekday and weekend training.

For training purposes, each age group will be broken down into smaller groups with a maximum of 12 players per trainer (16 for U11 and older). Each trainer will work with all players within an age group. Even at age levels where players are divided into teams, trainers will float between teams during training sessions. The goal is to provide interchangeable, focused training for all players within the program to underscore the belief that each player is capable of achievement.

Each team will have a primary, but not exclusive, game day coach, though rotating coaches from season to season is encouraged. While Parent Team Managers may administratively assist trainers on game day in pre- and postgame, the professional trainer will be the only one on the sideline during the game, unless a professional trainer is unavailable.

In order to expose players to different training methods and styles, each trainer will be paired with an individual team for a maximum of two years.


A deliberate, well-planned approach to training and game play is comprised of several components, many of which are utilized in some combination within MUSC travel teams. The Academy format, however, is specifically designed to maximize player development and social enjoyment, while controlling costs. The elements:

Training sessions
will focus on rhythm, balance, explosion, coordination, change of speed and the use of technique with maximum time on the ball. Training activities will take place in match-related or match conditions to emphasize fun and creativity and to develop well-balanced players able to utilize both feet with a concentration on technique. Secondarily, tactical elements will be introduced gradually for each age
group as follows:

  • U9s to begin to understand goal kicks, throw ins and free kicks
  • U10s to include the details of corner kicks
  • U11s should understand all rules/regulations and how to deal with situational soccer

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