U8 Soccer Development Academy

Preparing players, parents and potential coaches for U9 competition

About the Program

Our 8U Development Academy was created to help develop the technical ability and game sense of passionate, motivated, and advanced U8 players who desire to be challenged in every aspect of their game. The academy serves as a bridge between IM and travel soccer, and follows the US Soccer Small-Sided Initiatives.

Participants benefit from a higher level training run by professional trainers. Practices are 1x/week, typically on Friday evenings, to avoid conflicts with Intramural soccer games and practices. For questions or assistance, contact program director Paul Laub.


What to Expect

Subject to changes based on the number of participants on the boys' and girl's sides, the program includes the following:

  • One weekly 90 minute professional trainer-led practice sessions, from roughly mid-August to mid-November
  • Several 4v4 intra-squad games
  • Festival-style 4v4 games / tournaments with neighboring clubs on Sundays in the fall
  • Optional regional tournaments (likely 7v7 format)
  • Opportunities to continue winter indoor and or spring outdoor training as well

Additional Information

How will my son or daughter benefit from the Academy program?

Our goal is to create an environment that will nurture the ability of the many talented U8 players within the club and prepare them for higher-level soccer. We believe that implementing the US soccer small-sided standards is the best way to accomplish this goal:

  • Fewer players on the field means more touches on the ball and more game involvement, which develops more individual skill
  • Players who are more skilled become more confident and comfortable when they have the ball
  • Field sizes are designed to assist players in decision making and improve overall awareness
  • This approach builds on itself as players get older and numbers increase on bigger fields

Source: US Soccer Player Development Initiative


How is this different than travel soccer?

The quality and level of instruction and coaching for the Academy will be exactly the same as it is throughout the rest of the travel program. However, we will not be forming 7v7 teams to “play up” in a U9 travel division within the area leagues that our older kids plan in. Instead, we will focus on 4v4 weekend games (intrasquad or with neighboring clubs) in a friendly and fun, but competitive environment. Therefore, the travel requirement will be less than that for the older travel teams.


How is this different than intramural soccer?

The Academy will be oriented toward the U8 player who is ready for a more competitive, focused soccer environment and who is interested in the travel soccer program for U9 and older.  It is also an opportunity for families to gain experience in this environment and for potential coaching volunteers to begin their preparations to lead a team.


If interested, please check for open registration in late spring/early summer or contact one of our Club Coordinators:

Position Title Name
U8 Academy Coordinator Paul Laub
Travel Soccer Chair Andy ODell
Boys Travel Coordinator Matt Ferrie
Girls Travel Coordinator Colleen Mallozzi


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For general information about the Whitpain Recreation Association and its youth sports programs, email us at info@playwra.com or use the contact form below.

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