Academy Soccer

The #1 Priority for the NRFA Academy is player development!

We promote a love of the game, to help instill the ideals of excellent moral character and good sportsmanship. Integrated in this is the building of self-esteem, self-confidence, teamwork, respect for self and others, and all the inherent benefits of physical exercise.

The goal of the NRFA Academy exists to foster the growth and development of youth soccer by providing a fun, structured, high paced learning environment.  This will help our players to have fun and to reach their full potential on the soccer pitch.

Academy Soccer Assessments Announced for the 2022/2023 Season

Neuse River FA has announced the 2022 Academy Assessments for the upcoming 2022/2023 soccer season. Players should arrive in soccer appropriate attire including soccer cleats, socks, shin guards and water bottle.

Academy Co-Ed
May 3 + 4
6:00 to 7:15 pm
East Clayton Community Park

Age Groups

  • U7 (2016)
  • U8 (2015)
  • U9 (2014)
  • U10 (2013)
  • U11 (2012)
  • U12 (2011)
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What is the Academy Level?

The NRFA Academy is the next step for youth recreational players who are looking for higher level training and competition and prepares players who have the desire to play at the Classic level. The Academy program is a critical in our Player Development Model as it provides players with weekly training by our professional coaching staff that follow a yearly training curriculum developed to improve player development at an accelerated rate for those who are wanting and are able to train in more structured and demanding training environment that want higher level play. The idea of Academy is to provide players with the opportunity to play with and against players of similar ability and commitment and at a level where they will experience the most success and enjoyment.

The Academy philosophy combines players from each age group to train together in pool training as well as on individual teams so that every player in the age group can identify as being part of an elite unified program rather than just one team. This challenges players individually but also encourages the group as a whole to grow and push each other to compete at the highest level possible. Pool training also helps the players to build relationships and self-confidence within a fun and competitive training environment; greater competition, increased training satisfaction and accelerated individual player development are all factors within this philosophy.

The goal is to create an environment that focuses on the growth and development of the individual player thru familiarity and repetition which in turn creates strong unified teams with confident and skilled players. Winning becomes a byproduct of player development thru working hard in a structured and disciplined training environment. Our players must pride themselves on their performance in training through maximum effort and improvement throughout the cycles of training and our coaching staff must continue and strive to get better to grow and develop as players do to improve the overall growth and development of the club.

Academy Guidelines and Regulations

The Academy program is the club’s model for youth training and development for players ages 6-9 who want a more structured training and match environment beyond the recreation level.

The goal of the Neuse River Futbol Alliance Academy Program is to foster the love, growth and development for the individual player by providing a fun, structured, high paced learning environment so that our players have fun while reaching their full individual potential in soccer.

We will do our best to instill the ideals of excellent moral character and good sportsmanship. Integrated in this is the building of self-esteem, self-confidence, teamwork, respect for self and others, and all the inherent benefits of physical exercise and team play.

Although winning is not our priority; when competing, we will learn to win while being humble and to lose with grace while respecting the game, the coaches, out opponents, the spectators, and the referees.  

Financial Commitment

The Academy program is a greater financial commitment than recreational soccer. There are generally two types of fees for Classic - club fees and team fees. Club fees cover items such as trainers, fields, player insurance, while team fees can cover team tournament fees, referee fees, coach’s travel/expenses, and items of that nature. Fees can be paid at once or divided into quarterly or monthly payments. Financial assistance is available for those who apply and qualify.

Ready to find out more?

Contact Keith Jenkins for questions about the NRFA Academy Level.

Questions about NRFA?

Contact a NRFA Registrar for more questions our tryouts and other important details.

Academy Soccer Q&A

Do we play matches like other teams and how many should we expect? 

The Academy has a regular season like any other team that runs from August until November and starts back up in late January and runs until the first of May. Typically, teams will play 10-14 matches. On match day, teams typically play one and sometimes two matches. The number depends on the other clubs in our league and the number of teams in your division. Your team may have one match on one day and two matches on another day.

Why the Academy instead of recreational soccer?

The Academy is run by NRFA staff coaches that have met certain coaching qualifications in order to be a part of the Academy staff. The Academy is a high level intense structured program that will demand the best of your player on the field.  It requires players and parents alike to be committed to the program and development of the player for them to succeed.  The Academy is for players who want to play soccer at a higher level in the future.

Do Academy teams keep score when playing in matches?

Academy matches do not record a score at the conclusion of any match.  The only exception to this would be a 10U academy team playing in an officially sanctioned tournament.  For regular season matches, a final score is not recorded.  Whereas winning is not our final objective, we do want to teach players “how” to win by playing hard throughout.  However, individual player development will not be superseded by the desire to win a match.

Do the Academy teams play in tournaments?

At this point in time, only the 10U Academy teams play in sanctioned tournaments.  However, depending upon the league that our teams play in, all age groups typically attend a festival where a team typically plays two matches in one day.  10U teams will typically attend one preseason fall tournament and one end of season spring tournament.

Where and when do we play?

Matches could be played on either Saturday or Sunday dependent upon the league that the club plays in for that season.  Typically, we will play teams within our region of the state against clubs in Wilson, Wake County, Fayetteville, Chapel Hill, Greenville, and other areas typically within an hour.

How much should I expect my son/daughter to play in matches?

The goal is for all players to play 50% of matches although play time can vary. Neuse River FA coaches are not on the sidelines with a stopwatch monitoring playing time. Some players will play more than that at this level but hopefully we’re getting all players in for at least half of the game. Training attendance and commitment can affect play time at this level.

How does match scheduling work? 

The Youth Academy Director will schedule all league matches for each team.  This is typically done prior to the start of the season but due to many factors, matches can be added as needed throughout the season.  One of the unique things about the academy is the ability to be creative and flexible.  Therefore, some matches may be indoor (futsal) or outdoor with different numbers of players than normal.  For example, our 8U program could play 5v5 one week and then play 7v7 in another week.  Our 10U program might play 7v7 one week and 9v9 later in the spring season to prepare players for the 11U classic soccer experience.  In addition, special events such as street soccer (small sided games such as 4v4) are incorporated to make things fun and exciting.

Will there be player movement thru teams?

Yes there can be player movement, the goal of player movement is to improve player development. If a coach feels a player needs to be challenged in any number of ways (maturity, speed of play, size, to learn responsibility, etc) he/she may move him up or down. These moves may be temporary or permanent and is always based off what the coach believes is the best interest of the player. This is solely at the discretion of the coaching staff.

What is your philosophy on wins/losses in the Academy?

We believe you do everything in life to succeed and we never play to lose.  However, our goal in the Academy is solely player development. There may be times when we are more concerned about playing time or player development than in securing a win. Winning doesn’t matter at this stage of their development.  When players start playing the “big game” that’s when results start to matter. What matters in the early years is; are we learning the proper fundamentals and have we prepared you technically to play classic soccer.  It is very similar to school in that learning the proper fundamentals will give you the tools you need to have success in the big game.  If your goal as a parent is for your child to “win” the match, no matter what, then the NRFA Youth Academy may not be the proper place for your child.

"The more difficult the victory, the greater the happiness in winning."

Pele