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Blythewood Soccer Club

Questions About the Clubs Academy/Select Program

What is Academy Soccer?
Academy level soccer is a competitive “Travel” program for age U8-U12.  Teams will play other teams in the region in the same age and skill level group or divisions.  Teams play currently play in the United Development League (UDL) and other leagues sponsored by the SC Youth Soccer Association.  All games played in the UDL are currently held in and around the Columbia Metropolitan Area. Team will also play matches with other clubs in the area from time to time that may require a little longer drive, but for the most part all league and friendly matches are within an hours drive.

Each team will also play in one or more tournaments each season.  At this age group these tournaments are in state at places like, Aiken, Columbia, Spartanburg, Charleston, Myrtle Beach, Charleston and Summerville.  Players in the U8-U10 groups play 7v7 and those in the U11-U12 level play 9v9.  The focus at this level is about player development.  All measures will be taken to find a team for players wanting to participate at this level.  On average over the course of a season players should expect to play at least half the game but playing time will vary and is not guaranteed.

What is Select Soccer?
Select soccer is similar to Academy soccer above, but play 11v11.  It is also for U13 players and above.  Due to the number of teams they may also travel a little farther, but once again it is not unusual for teams to meet in and around the Columbia area or areas in between the teams playing to help with travel.  These teams play in the state associations Open, The President Medal Soccer or Challenge Leagues.  These team also may travel to tournaments outside the state.  Some of the older teams will also only play in the Fall Season as players play with their schools in the spring.   These are more competitive teams.  Roster spots are more limited and from time to time players are cut.  While the club is committed to player development there is no guarantee of playing time at this level.

How Do I Register for an Academy or Select Team?
The club normally holds tryouts/evaluations in early to mid-May of each year for the following years teams.  There is more about these evaluations in the other FAQs.  Players can be added as needed throughout the year, but each player must be evaluated.  For teams playing in the spring if there are roster spots available the club also typically holds open evaluations/tryouts in January for those wishing to join for the spring season.  For information about upcoming evaluations you can visit our player evaluation page.

How Are Players Selected for a Team?
There is a formal evaluation/tryout process. More detail is provided in the Evaluation/Tryout FAQ section and the players evaluation page.  Effort is made to find teams for all players coming to evaluations, but sometimes players are cut due to lack of space or coaches.   Each will have a player number that will be used in the evaluations.  These evaluations are compiled and the teams are formed based on age groups and scores.  All effort is made to make the process as transparent as possible.

When Are the Games?

There are spring and fall scheduling meetings for each league.  Tournament selection is made by the Director of Coaching and Coach in consultation with the parents.  However, exact game dates and times will not be known until right before the start of each tournament or season.  Typically, at this level there will be games on Saturday and/or Sunday.  There may also be games throughout the week, but that would be rare.

When Do Practices Start?

It is up to the coach, but most coaches start practice in July or early August.

Where Does My Players Team Practice?
Seeing the club has very limited access to lighted field space and field space in general teams will move to different locations during the year.  Typically when there is enough light to practice in the evenings teams will practice at Cobblestone, or Doko Park but especially in the winter after the time changes team will either adjust their schedule and/or move to places that have lights.  Some other locations the club has used include, Killian Park, Earlewood Park, North Springs Park, the Kelly Mills Sports Complex, The Kershaw County West Complex and Owen’s Field.

How Much Travel is Involved?
At this level about a third to a half of your game will be in the Columbia area.  At the Select levels due to the number of teams you may be asked to travel 2 or more hours, but normally teams try to meet somewhere in the middle to help minimize travel for all.  Select teams also play in tournaments that may require out of state travel and overnight stays.  All effort is made to minimize travel and play multiple games if possible when traveling.

When Are the Games?
Game times are not known until the schedules for the season or tournament are posted.  You coach will provide all of that information.  Most of the coaches us available apps to keep their parents up to date on things.  Games at this age group are normally on Saturday and/or Sunday, but could be during the week on rare occasions.

Where Will Games Be Played?
League games at the Select teams can travel for their league games pretty much anywhere in the state, but just like academy team’s effort is made to minimize travel by scheduling games somewhere in between two locations.  Being centrally located in the state does tend to mean we have more games in the Columbia are.  Tournaments are typically in SC, but can be out of state.

Does a Year Commitment Mean My Child Will Be Playing Soccer 12 month, 365 Days a Year?
No.  U15 and above typically only play in the fall season and then play with their school teams in the spring.  The younger teams typically run from July-November for the fall season and from Mid-January through May in the spring.  There are dead times from the May evaluations until the start of practice in July and then from Mid to late November until mid-January.  The club does offer other activities during these down times, but these are not required and players are encouraged to participate in other activities when they can.

How Long is The Season?
See Above

How Many Practices Are There Each Week?
It is up to the coach, but most coaches have 2-3 team practices a week including at least one team session with a Coerver coach. 

When Will My Child Practice
That is set by the coach in conjunction with the Director of Coaching.  Most practices start around 6pm for the younger groups and run about an hour and a half.  Practices for the older players may be later to maximize the use of available field space and may actually start earlier during times when it starts getting dark early when lighted field space is limited.

What Equipment Do I Need?
All players are required to have shin guards and their own ball for practices and games.  It is also suggested that they have cleats and bring water or sports beverage to games and practices to help stay hydrated.

Are the Cost of Uniforms Included in My Club Fees?
For Select and Academy teams the cost of uniforms is NOT included in the club fees.  The exact combination of required uniforms can vary from team to team, but should be less than $100.  The club is on a 2-3 year uniform cycle and changes in the past have been minimal enough to allow players to keep the same uniforms for several years until they wear them out or outgrow them minimizing the need to reorder new ones each year. 

Are the Teams Co-Ed?
Blythewood Soccer welcome and encourages girls to join the club and if there are enough to form age and skill appropriate all girls teams we will do so.  If there are not enough girls in a particular age group, girls are welcome to play on the boys teams.  Especially at the younger ages the girls can typically hold their own with the boys.

Are the Cost of Tournaments Included in My Club Fees?

No.  Most teams at both the Select and Academy level participate in 1-3 tournaments a season (2-6) a year.  These costs are in addition to the club fees paid.  All expenses for registering and checking in to a tournament plus the cost of a hotel for you coach if they do not have a player playing in that event are included in the tournament cost.  These costs are divided up equally among all players on the team and must be paid whether your player is attending or not.  The Cost of tournaments varies by tournament and age group, but typically range from $50 to $85 per player.  Each tournament includes at least 3 games.

What About Tournaments?  Is My Child Required to Play?
Most Select and Academy teams participate in 1 to 3 tournaments in a season (2-6 a year).  If you are on a team that registers to participate in a tournament you are asked to make every effort to participate.  However, even if your child does not participate you will be responsible for your share of the events fees.

My Child Will Not Be Able to Attend His Teams Tournament.  Do We Still Need to Pay Our Share of the Associated Fees?
As stated above, once a team has decided to participate in a tournament and registered all players on that team are required to pay their share of the team’s tournament fees.  The cost of registering, online registration and hotel expense for any coach that does not have a player playing in the event are included in the team cost and are divided equally among ALL the players on that team.  Teams DO NOT pay for meals or mileage expenses for their coach.

What is a Team Manager?
The Team Manager is the point of contact for the parents of a team.  Their roles may vary from team to team, but typically they help with communication, collect money, help in collecting and completing team paperwork, maintain the player cards, paying the ref on game day, coordinating volunteers, registering teams for tournaments and handling tournament check ins.  They also represent the team at the club’s board meetings.

Can I Request a Specific Practice Day or Time?
Practice times and days are set by the Director of Coaching in conjunction with the coach.  You are encouraged to speak with you coach about any conflicts or desired days so they can take that into consideration in planning their practice schedules.  Most coaches are reasonable about players having to miss if they know in advance or as soon as possible especially on the more competitive teams missing time can effect playing time and player effectiveness.

What About Playing Time?

The Blythewood Soccer Club believes in the long-term development of the players and tries to maximize player touches.  However, both the Academy and Select teams are competitive soccer teams.  In such there is no guarantee of playing time.  At the Academy level coaches typically try to make sure over the course of a season players average playing at least half the game, but this can vary dramatically from game to game.  At the Select levels effort will still be made to make sure all players get playing time, but there are no guarantees of time.

Can I Request My Child Be on a Certain Team?
Request will be considered on a case by case basis and are granted at the sole discretion of the Director of Coaching.  Teams are formed based on age groups, gender (if feasible) and skill level based on the players evaluation.    We prefer to keep players in their age appropriate teams as much as possible.   Being a small club it is not unusual for a player to help out on an older or different team from time to time.

What Size Ball Does My Child Need?
U7-9 players use a size 3 ball.  U11-U12 use a size 4 ball.  Older players use a Size 5 ball.

My Child is on Their High School or Middle School Team.  Can They Still Play with The Blythewood Soccer Club?
Yes, it is normal for players to play on both a school team and on the club team in middle and high school.  Once players get to the U15 or higher level there is no spring club season to help accommodate this.  Make sure your coach Is aware of your plans to play in both so they can plan accordingly.  Also, if you know before the season your player will only be playing in the fall please let us know so we can determine if there will be enough players interested in playing both seasons.


The Blythewood Soccer Club

PO Box 983 
Blythewood, South Carolina 29016

Phone: 803-807-7128
Email: [email protected]

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