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Frequently Asked Questions

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

The Academy

What is BYGA?

BYGA is the app we use to manage our club, Pell City FC. We use BYGA for scheduling, communication, and just about everything in between. You can learn more about the BYGA app with this helpful quick start guide!

What is competitive soccer, and how is it different from rec soccer?

Competitive soccer, as offered by Pell City FC Academy, is a structured and development-focused program designed to nurture the soccer skills and abilities of players who are passionate about the sport. Here are some key distinctions from recreational (rec) soccer, including how we differ from the Pell City Civic Center program:

  1. Higher Level of Competition: Competitive soccer at the Pell City FC Academy provides a higher level of competition compared to rec soccer. We aim to challenge players, encourage their growth, and prepare them for more competitive play.
  2. Structured Training: Our competitive program offers regular and structured training sessions that focus on skill development, tactical understanding, and physical conditioning. This is in contrast to recreational programs, which may have less frequent or structured training.
  3. Competitive Matches: In our competitive program, players engage in matches against other competitive teams, including clubs from different regions. These matches are designed to be more challenging and competitive, fostering player development.
  4. Travel and Exposure: Depending on the level of competition, our competitive teams may travel to participate in tournaments and matches, providing exposure to different playing styles and competition levels. This can be a valuable experience for players looking to advance their skills.
  5. Player Commitment: Players in our competitive program are expected to make a higher level of commitment in terms of attending practices, games, and additional training sessions. This commitment helps players excel in a competitive environment.
  6. Tryouts and Development: We select players for our competitive teams through tryouts, evaluating their skill, ability, and potential. Our focus is on player development, and we aim to create an environment where players can reach their full potential.

Competitive soccer at the Pell City FC Academy is about offering a structured and development-oriented pathway for players who are dedicated to the sport. It distinguishes itself from the recreational program at the Pell City Civic Center by providing a higher level of competition, structured training, and a commitment to player growth and development.

Do you have to live in Pell City to join the Academy?

No, you do not have to live in Pell City to join the Pell City FC Academy. We welcome players from various areas to be part of our soccer community. Our primary concern is ensuring that the commute to our facility at 100 Mt. Pisgah Drive, Cropwell, AL 35054, is manageable for you and your player.

How often do they practice and what days of the week?

At Pell City FC Academy, our training schedule consists of three days a week: Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday. The timing of these sessions may vary depending on the time of year. During colder weather or when daylight hours are limited, we may hold indoor training sessions in the gym.

Each training session lasts for approximately 1.5 hours. It’s important to note that you, as a parent or guardian, are not required to be present during the session. We understand that everyone has commitments and errands to attend to, and our priority is to provide quality training for your player during their time with us.

Are uniforms included when my player joins the Academy?

No, uniforms are not included when you join the Pell City FC Academy. Once your player is accepted into the Academy, they will be assigned a unique jersey number. You are responsible for ordering the uniform from soccer.com. Our uniforms typically remain unchanged for several years until updated by our sponsor, PUMA. This means that uniform expenses typically occur only once or twice over a four-year period.

The standard uniform package includes three jerseys (home, away, and alternate), one training jersey, two pairs of shorts, and two pairs of socks. The cost for the base uniform kit is around $135, but this may vary based on any additional items you choose to add to your order, such as a backpack, training jacket, and pants.

We strongly encourage the purchase of the backpack as it’s a practical addition for your player’s gear. The uniform ordering process will be guided by our academy’s instructions, ensuring a smooth experience.

What equipment does my child need?

Your child will need the following equipment:

  1. Uniform Kit: After registration and once your child’s number is assigned, you will need to purchase the uniform kit from soccer.com. This kit includes three jerseys (home, away, alternate), one training jersey, two pairs of shorts, and two pairs of socks. Additional optional items such as a backpack, training jacket, and pants may also be available. The cost varies based on the items you choose, but it’s generally around $135 for the base kit.
  2. Training Uniform: The training uniform should be worn to all training sessions.
  3. Shin Guards: Your child should wear shin guards during training and games to protect against injuries.
  4. Footwear: Depending on the training location, your child will need either cleats or indoor soccer shoes. Cleats are suitable for outdoor sessions, while indoor soccer shoes are for indoor gym sessions.
  5. Water: Ensure your child brings plenty of water to stay hydrated during training sessions.
  6. Soccer Ball (Optional): While not mandatory, your child can bring a size 4 soccer ball to training if they prefer. However, we provide plenty of soccer balls to ensure there is no downtime during the session.

By ensuring your child has the necessary equipment, they’ll be well-prepared for training and games in our program.

What is the youngest age you accept into the Academy?

We generally do not accept players below 7 years old into the Pell City FC Academy. Several factors are considered, including their mental and motor skills development. We compete in a competitive league, and it’s crucial to ensure that all players can effectively handle the training and competition demands. We prioritize the safety and development of our players, which guides our age acceptance policy.

What does it mean there are no teams in the Academy?

At Pell City FC Academy, we have a unique approach to team placement. We do not have set teams or rosters. Instead, our philosophy is performance-based. We constantly assess our players and make team assignments based on their developmental needs.

Our flexibility is due in part to the league we compete in, which allows for no set rosters. This means that we can tailor our approach to each player’s specific requirements. If a young player needs to be challenged, we may place them in an older age group. Conversely, if they need some additional confidence and success, we may place them in a younger age group.

It’s important to emphasize that our primary focus is not on wins and losses, but on individual player development. We are committed to providing a dynamic and supportive environment where every player can reach their full potential. Rest assured, we will keep you informed throughout the process to ensure your player’s growth and enjoyment of the game.

Where are the games played?

Games in our competitive soccer program are typically played in various locations within the Birmingham Metro area. These locations may include Vestavia, Homewood, Trussville, Hoover, and others. We schedule matches against other clubs and teams in these areas to provide our players with a diverse and competitive playing experience.

When are games, are there games on Sundays?

Our games at Pell City FC Academy typically take place on Saturday mornings. However, due to the number of teams in our league, we also have games on Saturday afternoons. While Sunday games are not common, they can occur occasionally, usually scheduled for after 1 PM.

In addition to weekend games, we sometimes arrange friendly matches with other clubs, such as Anniston. These friendlies may be scheduled during the week, on Tuesdays or Thursdays.

We understand that conflicts can arise, and if you or your player cannot make a game, it’s not a problem. It’s important to emphasize that our primary goal is player development, and we prioritize the growth and experience of our players over wins and losses. Your understanding and support are greatly appreciated in this regard.

How many tournaments does my player get to play in?

As part of the Pell City FC Academy, players have the opportunity to participate in approximately four tournaments during both the fall and spring seasons. We believe in offering our players a well-rounded experience that includes exposure to highly competitive tournament play.

One highlight of our spring season is our trip to Destin, Florida, where we participate in a special event to conclude the soccer season.

It’s important to note that tournaments are an additional expense, which typically ranges from $45 to $65 per player. The exact cost may vary depending on the specific tournament and roster size. Of course, the Destin event also requires hotel expenses and travel. All other tournaments are local to the Birmingham Metro Area.

Please keep in mind that tournament participation is performance-based. We select players for tournaments based on their readiness and ability to compete at a challenging and competitive level. Generally, we take U10 and U12 teams to tournaments.

If your player is selected to participate in a tournament, the decision to accept or decline is entirely up to you. We understand that these events may not be suitable for every player, and we respect your choices regarding their involvement.

How many games are in the season?

The number of games in a season at Pell City FC Academy can vary, as our approach is dynamic and focused on player development. The standard league games for each submitted team typically consist of 6-7 games each season.

However, it’s important to note that we frequently move players between teams based on their performance. This flexibility means that a player may have the opportunity to participate in 2-4 games during a single weekend if they are performing well.

In addition to league games, our players also have the chance to participate in tournaments and friendlies. As a result, it’s not uncommon for a player to play in a total of 20 or more games per season. Please keep in mind that this can vary based on individual performance and team assignments.

Nevertheless, we want to assure you that the minimum number of league games in a season is 6-7, providing a foundation for each player’s soccer journey.

Do you have girls teams, or is it co-ed?

Currently, we do not have girls-only teams at Pell City FC Academy. Our approach is primarily co-ed. At the Academy age level, we believe that girls can handle themselves well in a co-ed setting. In fact, we’ve observed that girls who develop their skills playing with boys tend to become more physically adept and perform exceptionally well when transitioning to all-girls teams. This experience can make them more competitive and dominant in girls’ leagues. While we do not have specific all-girl teams at this time, we are committed to providing a supportive and inclusive environment for all our players to excel in their soccer journeys.

What happens after my soccer player leaves the Academy?

Graduating from our Academy is a significant milestone, and while it can be bittersweet, it’s also incredibly rewarding. At this stage, we work to facilitate a smooth transition for your player. In their final season with us, we begin connecting them with top-tier teams that we believe they can compete with effectively.

Many of our top players may already be participating with other clubs during their final season as guest players. This provides them with an opportunity to familiarize themselves with the next-level coaches and eases the tryout process for the following season. It’s important to note that this participation as a guest player is not mandatory but is a service we offer to open doors for each player and build a strong feeder system for our High School program.

Our main goal is to ensure that each player’s soccer journey continues seamlessly, and we are committed to providing support and guidance during this transition to the next level of their soccer development.

What is the club’s coaching philosophy?

At Pell City FC, we are steadfast in our commitment to the holistic development of young soccer players. Our philosophy centers on the belief that true growth stems from both the challenges and experiences encountered on the soccer field. We aim to nurture not only the skills but also the character and passion of each player, understanding that the measure of success transcends wins and losses.

Our mission is to develop youth in the realm of soccer, providing them with opportunities to foster healthy living, sportsmanship, leadership skills, and the use of soccer as a conduit for education and a foundation for their future.

Our core values, embodied in the acronym ‘PRIDE,’ are the pillars of our coaching ethos:

  • Passion: Instilling a deep love for the game, motivating players to learn and grow.
  • Respect: Embedding the values of sportsmanship, teamwork, and healthy competition.
  • Integrity: Building character centered on honesty, responsibility, and ethical conduct.
  • Discipline: Focusing on technical skills, tactical understanding, and mental fortitude.
  • Excellence: Providing exceptional coaching, resources, and a positive experience for all.

Our style of play is a reflection of our philosophy, emphasizing a possession-based attacking system that promotes intelligent, skillful soccer. We encourage playing from the back, creating and capitalizing on scoring opportunities, and maintaining disciplined defensive strategies.

We envision Pell City FC players as focused, confident, enthusiastic about training, and goal-oriented. This embodies a player who is dedicated to continuous improvement and actively engaged in their personal development journey.

Central to our approach is the emphasis on development over wins and losses. We believe in nurturing resilience, adaptability, and a growth mindset, empowering our players to face and overcome the challenges and adversities inherent in not only the sport but in life itself.

Through this philosophy, Pell City FC strives to create an environment where players excel in soccer and carry the values, skills, and passion fostered here into their futures. We are dedicated to shaping not just outstanding soccer players, but well-rounded individuals who embody the spirit of the game and the principles of our club.

TRUST THE PROCESS

How can parents get involved?

Parents play a vital role in the success and vibrancy of Pell City FC. There are numerous ways for parents to get involved and contribute to the club’s growth and community spirit. Here are some opportunities for parental involvement:

  1. Field Maintenance: Help is always appreciated in maintaining the fields, including tasks like lining the fields for games.
  2. Fundraising: Engage in fundraising activities which are crucial for supporting various club initiatives and maintaining affordable fees.
  3. Event Organization: Assist in planning and organizing fun events for players, fostering a sense of community and team spirit.
  4. Social Media and Web Management: If you have skills in digital communications, contributing to the club’s online presence through social media and website management can be a great help.
  5. Joining the Board: For those who wish to take a more active role, joining the club’s board is an excellent opportunity to contribute to decision-making and strategic planning.
  6. General Volunteering: There are always various tasks and roles where help is needed, from managing equipment to coordinating club activities.

For parents interested in getting involved or exploring these opportunities further, you are encouraged to reach out to the Executive Director, Shane C. Bell, via email at shane@pellcityfc.com. Your involvement and contributions can make a significant difference in enhancing the experience for all players and members of the Pell City FC community.

What is the policy on playing time?

Pell City FC’s policy on playing time acknowledges the competitive nature of the league and balances this with a commitment to player development. While the club strives to give every player on-field opportunities, equal playing time is not guaranteed due to the competitive environment. The allocation of playing time is performance-based, and coaches aim to roster players in a manner that ensures everyone gets a chance to play, especially in league games. However, it’s important to note that there might be variations in playing time among players.

If there are concerns about playing time, Pell City FC encourages open communication. Parents and players are invited to discuss playing time issues with coaches to understand what can be done to earn more on-field opportunities. This approach is aimed at helping players understand the criteria for playing time and what they can do to improve and increase their chances of playing more in matches.

How does the club handle inclement weather and cancellations?


Pell City FC has an efficient system in place for handling inclement weather and training cancellations. The key points of their approach are as follows:

  1. Communication via BYGA App: All updates regarding training schedules, including cancellations, are communicated through the BYGA app. This ensures real-time updates and easy access to information for all members.
  2. Profile Completion and Notification Settings: Members are advised to complete their profiles on the BYGA app and adjust their notification settings to ensure they receive all updates. This helps in staying informed about any changes or cancellations promptly.
  3. Training in Light Rain: The club is generally inclined to continue training sessions in conditions of light rain or on wet fields, believing that such conditions can be part of the game experience.
  4. Severe Weather Policy: In the event of severe weather, such as thunderstorms or extreme conditions, the club may decide to move training indoors or cancel the session altogether to ensure the safety of players and staff.
  5. Staying Informed: Members are encouraged to regularly check the app for the latest information on training sessions, especially during times of unpredictable weather.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Personal Training

Do you have to be part of the Academy to participate in Personal Training?

No, you do not have to be a part of the Academy to participate in Personal Training. While there is no requirement for Academy involvement, it’s worth noting that many of the players who participate in Personal Training sessions are either current members of the Academy or have graduated from the Academy. Personal Training is open to individuals who are looking to enhance their soccer skills and receive specialized coaching, regardless of their previous or current Academy affiliation.

I don’t understand the small group personal training; do I need to find other players to participate or how does that work?

The small group personal training sessions are scheduled sessions that you can choose to attend, and there is no requirement for you to find other players to participate. These sessions are open to anyone actively enrolled in the Personal Training Program.

While there’s no need to build your own group, it’s worth mentioning that some players naturally start to attend these sessions together. Small group training can be highly effective because it allows us to hyper-focus on specific skills and activities, which can have a significant impact on your performance on the field.

These small group sessions typically consist of 2-6 players with various skill levels. However, the diverse skill levels do not detract from individual growth. Each player may engage in similar activities, but there are variations, restrictions, or time limits placed on advanced players to challenge and push them further, creating a dynamic and challenging environment for all participants.

What is a good age to start personal training?

We typically do not expect to see players younger than Academy age (typically younger than 7) in the small group personal training sessions. For players younger than 7, we encourage you to request 1-on-1 sessions instead. These individual sessions provide dedicated attention to younger players, allowing us to focus on building their skills without the potential pressure of group participation.

Starting with 1-on-1 sessions for younger players is beneficial as it ensures that we can give them the necessary individualized focus to nurture their development effectively. As players grow and progress, they can then transition to small group personal training sessions when they are ready.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Summer Clinics

What if I can’t attend all the summer clinic sessions?

The summer clinic sessions are designed to be flexible and a la carte. You have the freedom to pick and choose which sessions your player wants to attend based on your schedule and preferences. You can attend individual sessions and pay for them individually or opt for package deals, depending on your choice.

While attendance at all sessions is not mandatory, it’s important to note that, as with any form of training, attending more sessions can yield better results. The frequency of attendance can enhance your player’s development and skills. However, we understand that scheduling constraints may prevent full attendance, and our clinic structure is designed to accommodate this flexibility.

What is the difference between your clinics and a soccer camp?

Our clinics and soccer camps serve different purposes. Clinics are specifically designed with individual development in mind. They focus on breaking down specific skills and behaviors in a targeted manner, allowing players to develop a deep understanding and proficiency in those areas.

In contrast, many soccer camps aim to cover a wide range of topics in a short period, often over a few days or hours. While camps can be enjoyable and provide exposure to various aspects of the game, they may not offer the same depth of learning and individualized attention as our clinics.

We believe that the clinic approach works best for achieving our goals with participants. It provides more opportunities for players to get a higher number of touches on the ball and a higher quality of learning. Time and time again, we’ve heard from our participants about the significant impact our clinics have had on their lives, both on and off the field.

The key difference lies in the depth of skill development and the reinforcement of essential behaviors that our clinics offer, making them a valuable choice for players looking to enhance their soccer skills and understanding.

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