Life After the Academy

So, your child has completed 2 years of Academy training and is now ready for the cut and thrust of competitive soccer, so how does this differ from what your child has experienced and what can you expect?

The same high standard of coaching will still be evident. A new coach will be in place and will be able to take over where the Academy coaches left off. This change is important as it’s a proven fact that both players and coaches can stagnate when together for too long. Also we have coaches in place whose expertise is at this age bracket.
Team play will become more evident as we move from 6 aside to 8 aside, although the technical side of the game will still be the Coaches priority on training nights. A possible 3rd night of training could be an expectation as there is a great deal to cover as we move forward.
Game days
This will differ from what you have been used to in the Academy format. Teams will play just one game, which will last 50 minutes, divided into two 25 minute halves. Scores and standings will now be a factor, however still a small one.
The emphasis is still on development. It’s not possible to Coach to both win and develop, winning will come later.  Most games will be in and around the Tampa Bay area and within an easy 30-45 minute drive.
You will now see 3 officials which, will consist of one center Referee and two Referee assistants. The Offside rule will now be implemented, which changes the way the game works. This rule is greatly misunderstood by many. It is suggested that reading a Rule book might be advisable to give a better understanding of how it works.
These become more prevalent at this age and are normally hosted at local clubs over a weekend. Most teams will enter at Least two Tournaments throughout the season to give players the club experience. You could expect 2 games on a Saturday and one on a Sunday. If successful in the preliminaries a final game is played later that day. Trophies and medals are a part of these events.
The fee to participate at U-11s does go up in cost. You will incur, as you did in the Academy, both club and training fees. Club fees are normally paid in three installments; with training fees paid on a monthly basis during the course of pre season and culminating at the end of the season.
To summarize
Although your child is playing “club soccer” keeping things in perspective is absolutely vital. Reducing the pressure of performing and keeping the game “fun” is vital if they are to mature in to complete soccer players. Burnout is at 75% at the ages of 14 and up, so keep it fun for your child and things in perspective, this will make for a wholesome and positive experience throughout their club tenure.
Tony Paris
Executive Director
Tryout Questions to Consider

Before making a decision on where you should play, you need to look at the following, and then make an informed decision:

  • Who will be the Head coach of the team you will play for?
  • What are the coach’s qualifications? His/Her objectives?
  • What are the coach’s philosophies?
  • Does the Coach have tenure with the club soccer program?
  • What experience does the coach possess?
  • Are they looking to develop?
  •  Is it win at all costs (The quick fix)
  • Who is the DOC of the club and what are his qualifications?
  • Clubs goals and objectives?
  • The infrastructure of the club




What does the club offer by way of further opportunities?

  • Free Training with professional coaches?
  • Camps?
  • College referral?
  • Overseas Travel?
  • Mentorship?
  • Extra training opportunities



The coach.


  • What qualification does the coach possess?
  • Is the coach successful?
  • Are they renowned for player development?
  • Do they possess good training abilities
  • Do you feel this coach can get the best out of you and help you develop? \Do you want to play for this coach?
  • Does the coach shout loudly from the side line thus unnerving you?
  • Is the coach a positive force or a negative one?
  • Does the coach understand your psychology?




Tony Paris
Executive Director







Much has been written about College scholarships and how to acquire one. Well, I want to put my perspective on this topic and clarify my thoughts.
As we move towards the end of the season for many, the thoughts of Tryouts are on the lips of everyone, with players and parent alike being promised all sorts of things to try something new?
My first thought is to beware of Club Coaches that promise the world and guarantee College scholarships to players that either play for them or are looking to jump ship for this very reason. I want to make it absolutely clear that no club coach can promise this? So, Buyer beware!
In some situations players do get a scholarship, but where to? Perhaps to D1 schools that are not soccer power houses and tucked away in the middle of nowhere! Perhaps it’s better to consider a top quality D2 school in these situations, in a strong conference and a chance to play for a national championship! Remember playing time is important so go to a school where this is a possibility.
The lure of playing for club with aspirations of a State cup Championship always seems attractive to players who are looking to play at Collegiate level. However this can be a fallacy for these very reasons.
As en Ex- College coach of 10 years I can assure you that State Cup teams did not impress me, I was never interested in teams and results, but players and the coach that coached them. I will quantify that statement. Did the coach prepare the individual for College and the demands that are put on players over that 4 year period? Or was it just team driven with no value on the individual?  Did they instill the core values that are so important to make it at the next level? There is a marked difference between the two, coaching to win and coaching to develop are two different things. There one thing getting a player to College and then graduating?  
As we see 75% of players from the age of 14 and up leaving the game we need to be sensitive to burnout and overzealous coaching.
We are in an enviable position as we continue to grow and have other clubs in the Tampa Bay area wanting to join a winning team and coach with a winning formula! There are no shortcuts to success, so you need to entrust your child’s future to a club that has professional expertise with people that have played and coached at the professional level, with the highest licensure in the world of soccer!  But above all a club that holds integrity above all else with no compromise.
Rules and Regulations:
On a final note:
Nothing feels better than being told by a coach from another club you are good player and that you should wear the colors of their club... Of course this is a sales pitch. 
If these approaches are made before tryouts is an infringement of FYSA poaching rules and highly illegal. Please be sure to let me know if this happens to you, as they might not value the rules, however we do and take this extremely serious as the playing field needs to be equal if we are to succeed.
So, on that note I look forward to seeing you all at VSI-Pinellas Tryouts.

Tony Paris
Executive Director
Link to Training Fees

Please click on the VSI logo to be redirected to the site where you can pay your training fees online.