This fall, Sporting Club Network, presented by Price Chopper, announced the launch of a new player development and identification resource further linking the Academy Affiliate programs to the SKC Academy. Through this groundbreaking new initiative, each club has the opportunity to recommend their top U12 boys to be classified as Regional Pool Players within the SKC Academy. Over 50 players have been recommended from 12 of our affiliate clubs, representing 7 Midwestern states.
Periodically throughout the fall season these players travel from their affiliate markets to Kansas City to participate in a training experience led by our full time SKC Academy coaches. These hand-picked U12 boys are selected to be intermixed with the U12 SKC Academy boys for 3 sessions throughout the fall and/or spring. The sessions consist of a 90 minute training, working on the current curriculum the SKC Academy is working on that week following with 7v7 small-sided game play.
Integrating top local Academy Affiliate players with the SKC Academy teams serves as mutually beneficial to both groups of boys. It gives affiliate players access to SKC Academy curriculum and SKC Academy coaches along with the chance to play and challenge themselves with the SKC Academy U12 boys who regularly receive this experience. On the other side, the SKC Academy boys receive new competition to challenge themselves along with being able to showcase leadership in guiding/helping the affiliates adjust to the new environment. A number of our affiliates have already been implemented into supplemental training in between the weekends in Kansas City so that the regional pool players regularly receive training aligned with academy curriculum.
After the three sessions in the fall, there will be an evaluation period in the winter/summer as the academy and affiliate staff reassess the current player pool, determining any changes to the pool going into the following spring/fall youth soccer season. As we gather feedback from this first experimental fall season, we want to start to implement classroom sessions that could consist of things like tactical information meetings and interactive discussions on core values of Sporting KC.
As we aim to grow the Regional Player Pool, we hope more opportunities for players will follow as well. Looking ahead towards this spring our Regional Pool Players will have the chance to earn a spot on our Generation Adidas Cup U12 team. 12 players are selected from the entire player pool of local and regional players to compete as a unified SKC group at the U12 division in spring 2018. After the spring we hope to improve on this Regional Player Pool concept by implemented new developmental opportunities while eventually expanding the pool throughout the U12-U14 age groups.