PARENT INFO

UNION JUNIORS PRE-ACADEMY

Philadelphia Union Pre-Academy
Parent Information

We at Philadelphia Union Youth believe that a well informed parent can be the most crucial resource for a soccer player’s development.

We strive to provide a litany of resources to the parents of our Pre-Academy, including a highly communicative and dedicated administrative staff, and information sessions from our staff that includes Sport Psychology, Cognitive Development, Nutrition, Athletic Development, and more. 

As the Pre-Academy is a nascent program with lofty ambitions, we understand that we may make changes and additions from time to time to ensure the program continues to evolve and so that every participant is able to maximize the developmental opportunity.

This page serves as a resource for current and prospective parents who may be interested in the reasoning for our program design, and to answer questions on the structure of the program.

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FAQs

Yes, however, Union Juniors players will be expected to prioritize Union training and competition, and confer with Union Youth staff when there is a scheduling conflict. It’s actually possible to still play some games and/or tournaments with their local club team. Union Junior players will register with the state soccer association, the EPYSA. They will register with the Union as their primary club, but may register with a secondary club as well. While players will be expected to prioritize Union training and competition, and confer with Union Youth staff when there is a conflict, there will not be uniform restriction from other soccer or sport-related activity.

Philadelphia Union is committed to youth development and providing opportunities for our talented local youth. We believe Zone 1 (ages 7-11) is a critical developmental phase for youth soccer players. Our objective is to provide a fun and nurturing program that develops a long-term passion and love for the game.

Union Juniors Pre-Academy program serves as the primary identification platform for the Union Academy, and our scouting department works very closely with the program.

Union Juniors Pre-Academy is the first step on the Union’s “Pathway to the Pros” and features an experienced staff of dedicated soccer educators.

We believe the Greater Philadelphia region has the ingredients to be the future powerhouse in the sport of soccer in the U.S. We are passionately committed to providing our rich talent pool of local youth players every opportunity to play a starring role in propelling American soccer forward.

Tryouts will be announced annually for the youngest age group (U8) annually.

Players will be identified through our Union Youth Training Programs, Union PDP. Click here to sign up.

Some players will be identified by our staff and invited to join training sessions throughout the year.

Training sessions and matches will take place at Philadelphia Union’s youth training complex, YSC Sports, in Wayne, PA.

Note: Our program emphasizes more time on the field and less time in a car. The convenience of a central location can help in this regard. However, we do envision limited additional competition opportunities in tournaments and/or jamboree events against other MLS teams taking place offsite, and U11’s participates in the regional Atlantic Premier League, playing an age group up. Winter sessions may additionally be off-site.

The Union Juniors Pre-Academy program is a 36-week program divided into three seasons:

Fall Season

  • 16 Weeks
  • Starts Aug. 21st 2017
  • Competition Begins: Sep. 9th (11 Matches)
  • Break: Nov. 20th – 26th (Thanksgiving)
  • Ends: December 15th
  • One External Tournament

Multi-Sport Winter Season

  • 10 Weeks
  • Starts: January 15th
  • Ends: March 26th

Note: The Winter Season will feature an innovative multi-sport curriculum featuring basketball, futsal and other activities designed to enhance the athletic ability and coordination of all participants.

Spring Season

  • 10 Weeks
  • Starts: April 9th
  • Competition Begins: April 14th (10 Matches)
  • No Breaks
  • Ends: June 15th
  • One External Tournament

Yes, Union Juniors Pre-Academy program does have a fee comparable to those for regional youth soccer travel programs. All Philadelphia Union Academy teams (U12-U18) are free-of-cost.

Philadelphia Union believes in the value of a well-rounded athletic experience, especially for kids aged 6-12. Sports science data supports the notion that multi-sport activity develops better, more coordinated, athletes. Those who go on to pursue soccer will do so with a better athletic foundation, which will enable them to maximize their true potential as players. For those who choose to pursue other sports later in life, the foundation of our innovative Pre-Academy multi-sport curriculum will serve them well regardless of the activity they choose to pursue.

To our knowledge, Philadelphia Union will be the first professional soccer club in the world that has implemented a focused multi-sport curriculum into its development program.

U8 – U10 Union Junior players will play in an internal league created specifically for the Union’s Pre-Academy program called the Union Development League (UDL). Each age group of Union Juniors Pre-Academy will feature a pool of players, which will be divided into teams to compete against each other in the UDL. Once selections have been made and invitations have been issued, players will be assigned to team in their age group pool and will compete in the Union Development League against the other Union Juniors.

Philadelphia Union may schedule Union Juniors to play in scrimmages with local clubs on week nights as part of training and will coordinate games versus other MLS clubs, but the majority of games for the Union Juniors will be in the UDL.

The rationale behind this approach is because our focus in on a development first and foremost. We believe the UDL will be a very competitive and fun environment, which the boys will love.

U11’s compete in the Atlantic Premier League with YSC Sports as their home. Union Juniors teams compete an age up, in the U12 bracket, against some of the top clubs in the Greater Philadelphia region.

We believe that among younger age groups, inviting a larger pool of players versus only selecting a small squad of players is the best strategy for the development of the youth soccer player. Neither the Philadelphia Union nor any other soccer club can know for sure which players in the U8-U11 ages might have professional potential later in life. By working with a broader pool of talented players, the Union increases the likelihood that it will positively influence more players, thereby increasing the chances of one day producing homegrown talents who have the ability to star for Philadelphia Union in MLS.

In addition, if we had chosen to select just one team for each age group, our Union Junior teams (comprised of talented players from throughout the region) would have had to compete against local teams in local leagues at every age, which we believe would not be a healthy learning experience for our players or for the players representing the local clubs.

U8’s

  • 4 v 4
  • Fall & Spring 2x week training + 1 UDL game
  • Winter 2x week + 1 game

U9’s

  • 7 v 7
  • Fall & Spring 3x week training + 1 UDL game
  • Winter 2x week + 1 game

U10’s

  • 7 v 7
  • Fall & Spring 3x week training + 1 UDL game
  • Winter 2x week + 1 game

U11’s

  • 9 v 9
  • Fall & Spring 3x week training + 1 APL game
  • Winter 2x week + 1 game

The Union Juniors Pre-Academy is the primary identification platform for the Union Academy, which starts at U12, and our scouting department will be working closely with the program. This is the first step on the Union’s “Pathway to the Pros,” which begins with the Union Juniors program. The “Pathway” continues with Philadelphia Union Academy, progresses to the professional tiers with Bethlehem Steel (USL), and finishes in MLS with Philadelphia Union.

The Union Juniors Pre-Academy is the primary identification platform for the Union Academy, which starts at U12, and our scouting department will be working closely with the program. This is the first step on the Union’s “Pathway to the Pros,” which begins with the Union Juniors program. The “Pathway” continues with Philadelphia Union Academy, progresses to the professional tiers with Bethlehem Steel (USL), and finishes in MLS with Philadelphia Union.

The Union Juniors Pre-Academy program includes training sessions, matches in the Union Development League or Atlantic Premier League, scrimmages against other local club teams and junior squads from other MLS club, two tournaments, and two tickets for each Union Junior for five Philadelphia Union home matches.

Your son’s Union Juniors Pre-Academy membership includes two tickets each to five Philadelphia Union games at Talen Energy Stadium.  The flexible Five Game Plan allows you to select the games you want to attend and watch the pros with a family member or friend!

For more information on how the ticketing program works, visit http://www.philadelphiaunion.com/tickets/5game.  A Union ticket representative will contact you via phone to select your games shortly after being selected.

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