Academy Division

Daniella Bush, Academy Division Director

The FYSA Academy program is an in-town program for players from grades 3 and 4.


The Academy games are played at Lower Dacey Field on Saturday mornings according to the provided
SCHEDULE (updated 2024-04-15).

Weekday training locations vary from season to season, but typically follow the pattern:

Academy Overview

The FYSA Academy program is an in-town program for players from grades 3 and 4. We use the term academy as it implies a certain training model that emphasizes individual development for all participants. Multiple teams train together during the week, mixing players of all abilities. Games are a cooperative effort of all coaches to play good soccer and improve technical and tactical skills for all players.

All Academy practices and games combine 3rd and 4th graders, and they play 5v5. The Academy serves as a training ground for players, referees, and coaches. Mentors and trainers can be seen on the field every Saturday morning to provide guidance and support.

Academy Philosophy

  • Program emphasizes a group training model, mixing players of all abilities
  • This training model also allows players to benefit from the instruction of multiple coaches
  • Our emphasis is on individual technical development, with age appropriate tactics weaved in over time
    • Can our players perform with technical proficiency under the pressures of time, space and opposition?
    • Can our players control and play the ball under pressure? Do they look comfortable with the ball? Are they confident on the field?
    • Are our players taking risks, and learning how to play creatively and deceptively?
  • The emphasis in the Academy is not on team success, it is on the child’s development
  • Opposing coaches work collectively to improve the overall level of play, rather than accumulating a winning record
    • Kids play to win, we coach to have them learn
  • Small field sizes are used to generate the need for players to play with skill, rather than rely on athleticism to solve soccer problems in the game
  • An “East Group” and a “West Group” often play against each other on Saturdays to present players with games where they can engage physically and technically at their level of readiness. More touches = better soccer players! Please note that we may not adopt this approach every season. We do what’s in the best interest of the players at any given time
  • Training and games for any given week are built around a “theme of the week.” That theme is posted on Lower Dacey field every Saturday morning. Coaches will focus their attention on that particular theme during their games
  • We have an open “visiting player” policy. Quite simply, we invite players to benefit from extra soccer! If a team needs an extra player, you can play in a 2nd game
  • We always emphasize FUN, and hope that our players will develop a love of the game through our program!

Safety / Equipment

The safety of the players is the number one priority. Players wearing equipment which is dangerous to other players or to themselves shall not be eligible to participate in any game. The Referee at the field has the final say on what may be dangerous equipment. If a player wants to get their ears pierced, please have them do so in the off-season at least 6 weeks before the next season starts. Players must be able to remove their earrings for games and practices; if they cannot be removed, then the child will not be allowed to play. The following is a summary of prohibited items, per rules from the Massachusetts State Referee Committee:

  1. Any rigid or semi-rigid cast or splint, regardless of padding. Note that joint braces or supports are generally acceptable; however if they have exposed hinges, buckles, buttons, zippers, etc. they may be considered dangerous and unacceptable by the referee
  2. Hair control devices of any material other than soft pliable plastic or rubber
  3. Earrings of any kind, including post earrings, regardless of coverings
  4. Jewelry of any sort
  5. Hats or other headgear

Required equipment includes a soccer uniform (blue jersey, soccer shorts and soccer socks), size 4 soccer ball, soccer cleats, soccer shin guards (worn under the socks), plenty of water, mouthguard optional but recommended.

Zero Tolerance

Not only is the FYSA Academy a place to develop young players, it is also a place to train young referees. For many of them it will be their first experience running a game and they will make mistakes. However, it is important that the players learn to abide by the referee’s decisions and it is our job as adults to demonstrate good sporting behavior for our children. All FYSA divisions have a Zero Tolerance Policy regarding interaction between coaches/spectators and the referees. Any violations of this policy will result in immediate ejection from the playing fields, and may result in further disciplinary action pending review by the FYSA Board of Directors. The terms of the Zero Tolerance Policy are as follows:

  1. No one, except the players, is to speak to the Referee during or after the game. Exceptions: Coaches may ask questions before the game, call for substitutions and point out emergencies during the game, or respond to the referee if addressed
  2. Absolutely no disputing calls during or after the game, and no remarks to the referee to watch certain players or attend to rough play. No yelling at the referee ever, and no criticism, sarcasm, harassment, intimidation, or feedback of any kind during or after the game
  3. If coaches or spectators have questions regarding particular calls, rules, or a referee, or wish to give feedback regarding a referee, they should do so through the Referee Coordinator or Division Director