SYA is widely regarded as one of the top clubs in the region and is a member of the CCL, NCSL, and ODSL. The club has produced many State Cup champions and still more finalists and semi-finalists. Our coaches have coached all ages and abilities, from the youngest players to college and national teams. Many have played at the game’s highest levels as well. They bring a wealth of experience and different perspectives. SYA has a strong club environment with emphasis on teams training together, scrimmaging one another, and club passing players to offer them varied experiences in order to help them develop into the strongest soccer players they can be. Coaches work closely with each other and share a common vision with regard to player development and future opportunities.
SYA offers unique programs, such as our Travel Academy for teams from U9-U12. The Academy program began on a limited basis in the late 1990s and has expanded and improved annually since that time. Through Academy, all of our youngest players are afforded the chance to work with not only our top coaches but other trainers as well. These sessions include speed and agility training and professional goalie training (also available for older goalkeepers). U8 players have a separate academy to help challenge top young players. After leaving Academy, SYA continues age group training by pairing middle school teams together and also scheduling high school boys and girls (by gender) on the same fields to augment their team training through positional work. This allows players to work with multiple coaches on specific skills necessary to their position, in addition to sessions where they can move from one coach to another for technical and fitness work during a specific training period.
Our club-owned, 100-acre field complex, the SYA Sports Park, currently features three irrigated Bermuda fields and plans are in the works to install turf fields within the next two years. These are widely touted as the nicest grass fields in Northern Virginia. SYA also has regular access to seven lighted, artificial turf fields: the two new ones Arrowhead Park; two at Centreville High School; two at E.C. Lawrence Park, and one at Braddock Park. Having quality training surfaces is critical to mastering technique and providing year-round training opportunities, so SYA puts heavy emphasis on fields.
SYA teams have the opportunity to compete in many different leagues. Our top teams are competing in the CCL, which is comprised of the top clubs in Virginia as well as some from Maryland and Washington, DC. CCL has two divisions, so the majority of our teams are part of this league, but we also field teams in NCSL (which has merged with WAGS and is now both boys and girls) and ODSL. In addition, some teams choose to compete in Region I play each spring.
More About The Club Champions League (CCL)
CCL offers our teams both the opportunity to develop players and to compete against top quality competition weekly. No relegation means that coaches can focus on the growth of the members of the team. We know that young players develop best in settings where they are challenged and at the same time, are able to find success. It is notable that, contrary to the concern many people initially expressed, the top teams are not always the same team from season to season, and nor are the bottom teams. Patience and good, solid training are critical components in player development. Because of the league’s unique structure, coaches can be patient with players who progress at different speeds. SYA’s coaching staff is firmly committed to providing strong technical foundations from the youngest ages and building the tactical components along the way. Use of the “club pass” is available in all ages and affords children the opportunities to play on other teams for additional challenges and also allows teams to borrow players when rosters are thin on a given weekend. In addition, the league’s club-centric focus allows technical staff and coaches from different teams to watch a number of teams play over the course of a day. As the clubs set the schedule, coaching conflicts are not an issue. On a given day, the entire group of SYA teams may travel to McLean to play, or may host Loudoun on our home fields. This simplifies things for families as well, as they can go to one site for the day and see all of their children’s games.
The critical measure of a club is found not only in the qualifications of its coaches nor the quality of its programs but in the success of its players. SYA players move on to play college soccer every year. Many members of SYA teams participate in district, state, and regional ODP programs. Several have also earned call-ups to National Team camps for their age groups. We are very, very proud of our players and celebrate these successes. However, as a youth club our focus is not exclusively on the most elite players; we want to see every player who comes through our program stay until they finish high school. Whether a player dreams of making the national team, of playing on their high school varsity team, or of finding success in their weekly league game, we provide encouragement and the training to help make as many of those dreams come true as possible.