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Academy (U8-U10)

The Houston Express Soccer Club Academy Program (“Academy”) consists of the U8-U10 age groups within the Houston Express Program. The Academy program aims to prepare players for the technical, tactical, physical and psychological demands encountered in older age groups.

The Academy consists of two major components, all of which are crucial to maximum player development:

  1. Training
  2. League competition and tournaments

The Academy is the first step toward integration of players into our style of play and toward preparing them developmentally to compete for places on our highest level teams. Additionally, Houston Express players who have graduated from The Academy have qualified in record numbers at the Olympic Development Program’s State and Regional levels, have been involved in US Soccer’s Training Centers, and have played at collegiate levels. Be a part of our culture and future.


Academy Team Placement

Academy players are placed on age level teams by the HESC Coaching Staff based on their playing ability. Academy players must attend player evaluations to ensure appropriate team placement. The Coaching Staff allocates players to form appropriately capable teams within their respective league brackets. Academy rosters are no more than 13 players deep to ensure an appropriate coach to player training ratio, with the youngest teams averaging about 10 players. Parent requests for team placement are not accommodated. Player performance and development can fluctuate greatly from year to year, so it is not uncommon for players to move from team to team within their age bracket as they develop.


Development and Higher-Level Training

In preparation for entering competitive play, the Academy introduces a more developed game of soccer with a 4v4 (for U8) or 7v7 (U9-U10) game format. It is designed specifically for U8-U10 players who want higher-level training and desire to compete with teams outside of Houston Express. While most academy players enter at U8, players can enter at the U9 and U10 ages. Each season, Houston Express has over 300 players on its Academy teams. There are no residency requirements for the Academy Program.

Houston Express is committed to a consistent style of play across all age groups and genders which, offensively, is a possession game that encourages creativity, flair and confidence with the ball while taking on defenders and, defensively, emphasizes application of one-on-one and group defending tactics to pressure opponents into giving up the ball. Our style of play is implemented through use of a proprietary curriculum that all Academy coaches teach to ensure proper and consistent player development.

Academy teams train twice weekly, either Monday and Wednesday or Tuesday and Thursday from 5:30 – 6:50 pm, and all training sessions are organized and run by the HESC Coaching Staff. Houston Express assigns an Express staff coach to each team, which runs the training sessions throughout the season in accordance to the HESC curriculum.


Academy Competition and Tournaments

Academy teams play league games with their teams on Sunday afternoons within the Player Development Friendlies (PDF) League. Roughly half of the games are played at HESC fields with the other half at area fields generally located within a 45-minute drive from our South Campus fields.

Academy teams play 1 to 4 pre/post-season tournaments per year.