Choosing the Academy Way
The decision to enter an academy program is not one to be entered into lightly. There are many factors to be considered - commitment, personal comfort and cost among them.
Entering an academy program is a big commitment for both player and parents. Add together training up to three times a week for almost a full year, plus games and some travel and you have a significant number of hours required to dedicate to the sport.
The academies will do their utmost to ensure a smooth transition for both player and parents. For those that decide to enter the program, it will quickly become evident that the benefits will far outweigh any concerns that might have existed going in. Players will be immersed in a positive but intense environment with like-minded teammates. The priorities of the professional coaches will be to ensure that each player in the program develops to their full potential. The will not be placing unreasonable pressures on the players to win games and collect trophies, but rather they will challenge them to identify and develop their weaknesses, as well as to grow as individuals and as elite athletes.
One of the questions about the program is the cost. At first glance, the investment required to place your child may seem prohibitive. However, when one stops and thinks about the services being provided, it becomes evident that the cost is fairly indicative of the value.
Everyone who loves this game agrees that we
need to add a significant level of professionalism to our Player Development
Programs across Canada. In other words we need to emulate how the rest of
the "successful" soccer countries do it. Which means coming up with a
systemic, consistent and predictable method of exposing our brightest young
talent, to highly qualified, licensed professional paid coaches.
The volunteer parent coaches, who make up 98+% of our coaching ranks, although well meaning, can only take us so far. The results of the last 100 years of soccer in Canada proves this. Yes it is more expensive when you pay your coaches and support staff, and yes it is more expensive when you run a 12 month program instead of a summer only one, and yes it is more expensive when you insist on renting best-in-class facilities and purchasing only the best training equipment and uniforms available, but it is the only way we are going to be able to develop world class players in Canada on a regular basis.
Until we have large, rich, professional clubs who pay for these costs, as they do in Europe, South America and parts of Africa and Asia, this is the only way forward.
Ultimately it will come down to a choice made by the parent/player after considering some important questions:
- Do my goals, and the goals of my child coincide with those of the organization we choose?
- Is my child happy in his or her current soccer environment?
- Is my child committed to the sport to the level where a more professional program is in his or her best interest?
- Are the services being offered in line with the investment required and the needs of the player?
In order to help make this decision, SAAC has provided some background information related to the costs of a typical Academy program versus that of a typical club program. The chart below is a breakdown of costs and training hours associated with each system.
It is evident that although the costs described for the Academy program can be higher, there is an associated increase in service. More time on the field and higher training-to-game ratios are two of the main advantages of the Academy program. Add the fact that each session will be planned and executed by professional qualified staff and you'll find that the minimal extra cost provides immeasurable benefits over existing programs.
The academies are also committed to earmarked as high a percentage as possible of their budget directly into on-field services for your child.
The are initiatives SAAC is pursuing to help reduce the cost of our tuition:
- partner with associations and professional
clubs to remove cost redundancies and achieve greater efficiencies and
economy of scale
- partner with corporate Canada in the form of scholarship sponsorship and marketing programs
- partner with European supper clubs
If you still have questions about SAAC, the Academies or any of our programs, do not hesitate to contact us. You can contact the association at email@example.com and the academies by clicking the academy logos in the left hand column.