The Texans & Challenge Juniors Academy has also been referred to as “Pre-Select” soccer for boys and girls ages U-7 to U-10. Typically it’s for those players who excel at the recreational level and desire an additional environment that is more competitive with advanced coaching. It is, however, open to all players. After graduating from our Juniors Academy program, Competitive soccer begins at U-11.
Juniors soccer focuses primarily on individual skill development. The goal of Juniors soccer is to prepare players for a club soccer environment in their later years. It is designed for the more competitive player and the more committed families. The program has licensed coaches and has more travel and expenses involved than just recreation soccer.
The Academy is focused on player development. We are striving to create a solid learning experience by eliminating the “must win” stress placed on the player and team. Texans SC & Challenge SC have a unique player development system consisting of four levels which follow our curriculum of developing creative and confident soccer players throughout each stage of development.
There is an unhealthy bias towards promoting athleticism rather than taking time to develop players at the younger ages, which is having a profound negative effect on soccer in the USA. Therefore at The Academy, we believe in age appropriate coaching which ensures that we are teaching not only the RIGHT things, but moreover teaching them the RIGHT way with an emphasis on long term development rather than short term 'wins'.
Juniors Academy's philosophy is to develop skillful players in a fun and competitive environment where we encourage individual creativity. We want players to problem solve, improvise and make decisions on their own during practices and games. We also want players to play completely free with no fear of failure. The goal of Junior Academy teams is to learn the necessary tools to develop to their full potential as a soccer player.
We recognize that the Juniors Level is the first and most important stage in structuring player development. The 4 major themes from the Juniors Curriculum are:
Ball Mastery - using both feet and multiple surfaces, we encourage players to experiment with all turns, tricks and skills whereas to develop their technical confidence with the ball. All players are developed to be dribblers first.
Shapes & Support - developing the idea of triangle and diamond shapes by supporting the player on the ball. Thus giving players more options to keep the ball rather than just kick it away.
Small Sided Environments - lots of 1v1, 2v2, 3v3 and 4v4 free play within each training session. Thus allowing players to experiment and maximize development though multiple contacts on the ball and also recognize the triangle and diamond shape within the game.
Independent Player Thinking - we encourage the players to think for themselves and solve soccer problems with the skills we have taught. Our coaches guide players to the answers by asking questions rather than telling them the answer. Thereby creating independent thinkers who will play the game and solve soccer problems without the coach constantly telling them what to do in any given scenario. This leads to longer term information retention and higher levels of skill acquisition.