With roughly a month left in the current season we’ve obviously been busy preparing for the 2016 2017 season. Continuous improvement is always at the forefront as we strive to continue leading Western New York in true player development. There are a number of exciting changes planned for the upcoming season that we believe will build upon the successful Empire model. Please take a few moments to read through some of the changes and kindly spread the word to interested families in the WNY soccer community.
Indoor Training Facilities
Sportsplex will be our full time home starting with the 2016 2017 season. The renovations at Sportsplex will continue as they replace the turf on the older soccer side in late 2016 and build out a performance training area in the currently vacant upstairs area on the north side of the building. Besides the great customer service Sportsplex has provided us over the years, there are a number of strategic advantages to being there full time, including but not limited to;
First crack at all prime hours as needed. We can schedule our weeks just as we want.
We can begin to stockpile training equipment like portable goals, agility ladders, etc. to improve the training experience.
Communication will improve between the club and the families, the club and the coaches, and the coaches with each other.
Carpooling opportunities for families will be much easier.
We will be able to add the Impact performance training to our programming at a lower cost and with much better overall logistics.
Additional programming like goalkeeper clinics, striker clinics, classroom video and tactical sessions, etc. all become easier to coordinate.
Overall coaching staff collaboration will improve our coaches and the overall development environment.
Impact Sports Performance Training
Over 90% of our families had a positive response to Empire adding Impact to the programming, so we decided to give it a go for the 2016 2017 season. It's only possible because of the commitment by Sportsplex to add space for them and our commitment to Sportsplex to be there full time. Some key notes about this plan;
We are only building it into the fee structure and programming from u13 through u18. U12s and down will have a chance to opt into classes, but it is not built in or required.
To address the increase in cost, we thought this was a good time to introduce a financial aid program. Starting this season, we'll offer financial aid awards of $200 or $400 based on funds and need. To apply it will only require the completion of a simple online form. Anyone can apply. To fund this aid program, we've redirected all summer camp proceeds. We'll also look for additional fundraising efforts to increase the amount of aid available each season.
We experimented with a Goalkeeper training extension that provided more keeper specific programming to players willing to pay a small fee. Empire will now add the "paid" portion to the base offering and eliminate any extra required fees.
General Programming Information and Pricing
Here is a link to a PDF with age specific programming plans, including estimated costs. The goal with this document is to clearly lay out what to expect from the club. We will strive to over deliver, but this gives you a good sense for our standards per age level.
Girls State Academy and Boys Pre-Academy
Here are additional links to PDFs with programming information related to the Girls State Academy (GSA) and Boys Pre-Academy programming being offered. Empire believes it’s important to offer opportunities for players to always have another level of soccer to strive for. The GSA and Pre-Academy supplemental programs are for players who are currently achieving at a high level within their respective age levels. Besides offering a high level training environment, these programs also serve as a good scouting tool as we look to place players in the US Soccer Development Academy programs.
United State Soccer Development Academy
Currently boys only, but starting the fall of 2017 we are hopeful to see a girls’ side Development Academy here in WNY. Empire submitted an application and will hope for approval from US Soccer in the weeks ahead. The Development Academy program is a United State Soccer Federation initiative that has transformed the soccer infrastructure on the boys’ side over the past ten seasons. It’s the best possible development environment available in the US today and we are proud to be a part of it. For additional information about the Development Academy please refer to their websitehttp://www.ussoccerda.com/faq.
Registration for tryouts isnow open. Pre-Academy and GSA tryouts are free. Development Academy and Empire Buffalo tryouts will require a $25 fee for each.
If you are interested in participating in any of our programming, but cannot attend tryouts or a portion on the tryouts please contact the age group head coach as soon as possible.
Pre-Academy and Girls State Academy tryouts are taking place on the next two Mondays (June 6th and 13th).
Development Academy tryouts are taking place on Saturday, June 18th.
Empire Buffalo tryouts are not set yet, but a majority of the age levels will fall on three Saturdays in July, the 9th, 16th, and 23rd.
That’s it for now. Look for additional information coming out in the days and weeks ahead. We hope to see everyone back for another exciting season.