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Inter Atlanta FC Blues

Responses to Academy Survey Feedback

Thanks to those of you who provided feedback to the Academy Parent Survey from Fall 2017. Below is some information with which I hope can be used as educational and helpful, to some of the questions and comments provided. Thank you!

PRACTICES, GAMES, FACILITIES:

Field Space:
While we definitely need and could benefit from additional field space for each team, practicing in a larger area does not necessarily benefit an individual player's skill development. The smaller the field, or reduced time/space with which to control the ball, the better, faster, quicker your player must be, and the faster he/she will develop. Therefore, training in smaller areas is beneficial for ball mastery and skill development. As the player gets older and plays on larger fields, so does their spacial awareness and understanding of 'how' to play the game and 'why' to use the width - regardless of the size of the field they are on.

There is no set size for field dimensions, rather there is a minimum dimension and a maximum dimension for each size (7v7, 9v9, and 11v11). All IAFC fields are within standard guidelines from US Soccer, however, we did lengthen the red 7v7 fields at AZ and the 9v9 field at Austin this spring 2018. As the players get older, they'll play games on larger fields. As mentioned above, starting the kids off on small fields demands individual player development and speed of play.

Glenwood Project. Still in the campaign stages. As soon as possible, we'll have that location up and running.

Field Conditions:
AZ took a beating during the fall, as is usual with so many kids playing soccer every week. We've re-seeded for the spring season, and will continue to do our best to keep it in as good condition as possible throughout the spring season.

Games:
Some people preferred less games, some prefer more. I must schedule some games on Sundays, considering we may be rained out here and there on a Saturday and my goal is to get each team at least 1 game per weekend.

Guest players:
Guest players are used when necessary, and should definitely be used as subs rather than starters (unless certain circumstances, like players are late or unexcused, missed training during the week, or is unconfirmed as 'available' on their TeamSnap).

Communication:
I'm bummed to get a few responses regarding lack of communication, however, will do my best to communicate as much as possible to keep you all updated. (I had one response saying there was TOO MUCH communication...) Particularly for new members to the program, I advise you to read the Academy FAQ's on our website, which should answer a ton of questions about the program, it's vision, and the expectations of each player and member. I am happy to add info to that page if there is something in particular you feel needs to be included.

Friday Optionals:
Friday Optionals are optional. No worries if your player didn't attend. It's just a day to play and get touches on the ball. Every single touch on the ball is practice. We want the kids to be able to 'just play' and that is the basis for Friday Optional Training. Over coaching is not good and can deter players from love of the game. Coaches do not 'over coach' during Optionals. Coaches are there to organize and facilitate.

Miscellaneous:
We removed the port-a-potty from Austin Field, due to the drug paraphernalia that was being left behind from the homeless folks; we do not want to risk the safety of our kids and our visiting opponents. We do have a relationship with The Wrecking Bar Brewpub (on the corner of Austin Ave), which allows our members and players to use their bathroom when necessary. It's a short walk, but it's safe and indoors.

For now, the parking lot at AZ Ave Fields, we do not own. We are not allowed to make permanent changes to it so we cannot pave it. The best we can do is continue to fill the pot holes with stones. Driving slowly through the parking lot will reduce the damage on vehicles, as well as helps with the safety of our players during pick-up/drop-off. Drive safely!

Inter Atlanta FC providing practice balls for all players. This is something we do want to be able to provide. If someone is interested in sponsoring the soccer balls (with a business logo included), please reach out and we can discuss options.

Why do all kids make a team? At 6-12 years old, cutting players is not development. Kids develop at different rates and each deserves the chance to play at a competitive level. As they get older and enter Select programs and middle school/high school tryouts, players will certainly get cut and/or may choose to give other sports a try. Until then, we/IAFC will do the best we can to train them to be competitive student-athletes, specifically soccer players, whether they are superstars or not.

COACHING:

Monthly meetings:
These are mandatory for each coach/team to have. I apologize to the teams that did not have them. In the spring, we expect this to improve.

 
Rules of the game:
Many of these kids do not know the rules of the game, or have 100% confidence that they are about to do the correct thing, for example, goal kicks or even throw-ins. However, I do know that these teams practice these areas, as I have been to each practice. This is a learning environment that takes time. Give the players time to learn the complexities of this game.

Goalkeeper Training:
These weekly sessions are free, and part of your already paid dues. The schedule is on the website, and you can always ask me or Director of Coaching Goalkeepers, Josh DiGiovanni, if you are uncertain of something.

Coaching:
This spring, we hope to continue to improve the overall consistency of our coaching staff, as we roll out the club playing style for all our teams to follow. We have a great staff of beginner and experienced coaches, all who are committed to the club and to your kids. Each also brings something different to our club, which makes us very unique. I believe each coach learned from the fall season and will be better prepared this spring.

Attendance/Multiple Commitments:
This is an area we expect to improve. With more focus on the scheduling process and less teams playing this spring, we should see less conflicts for our coaches. With all teams playing the same system, using the same warm-up, coaches using the same keywords, and performing the same set plays, when coaches do need cover, the system and preparation remains the same.

Feedback/Evaluations:
Must be completed on time and to standard. Some evaluations were not done up to standard. These will be improved in the spring 2018 season.

Rotating Positions:
Rotating players through multiple positions is important at this age. As they get older, players will develop certain strengths to place them in a set position for their future. As an Academy player, it is most important a player experience as much as possible, even if they struggle somewhere. During tournaments, players should normally play in the positions that best help the team perform successfully on the scoreboard. Otherwise, you should see players rotate during games.

Group Training:
This is important to achieve a single style of play, whether on the Elite team or the Silver team. The perception that IAFC only cares for the Elite teams is incorrect. By training each team with the same principles of play, the entire club will benefit, as well as each individual player. There are no players in the IAFC Academy whose skills are beyond fundamental training.



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Atlanta, Georgia 30333

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