The major difference between A3 and other soccer programs in the area is the level of commitment by the club to the community and kids. A3 offers opportunities for all kids regardless of skill - whether they're ready for premier teams or just looking for recreational leagues.
There are two types of soccer teams sponsored by A3 County and Premier.
A3 Premier teams are for kids who possess above-average skills, determination, and competitive spirit. The A3 Premier teams play in the Elite Development Program (EDP), National Capital Soccer League (NCSL), and Super Y League (Super Y) the area's premier youth soccer leagues. A3 Premier teams will usually consist of the age group's most skilled players. Being flexible about what competitive level each team plays in is a reflection of our commitment to individual player development and putting players into the most competitive environment. Why are Premier teams sometimes called travel or select soccer? Our teams are all competitively selected (therefore "select") and travel to games throughout the DC or Baltimore metro regions (therefore "travel").
A3 County Teams - are for kids that are interested in recreational, yet competitive soccer. A3 county teams play in the Anne Arundel Youth Soccer Association (AAYSA) league. A3 aims to sponsor one or multiple county teams per age group based how many kids register. County teams will be placed in one of multiple divisions by AAYSA, which are usually established, by skill level, to accommodate all participating teams. While we do our best to place teams in the appropriate division(s), the league makes the final determination.
How should I choose between Premier and County?
A3 strongly recommends that all kids attend the tryout sessions so they may be evaluated with other kids in their own age group. After attending the tryout sessions, the evaluators and age group coordinators will be able to determine the best team situation for all kids. If you have specific questions about your young player, you should contact our Director of Premier Operations.
It is vital that parents monitor the A3 website to stay in tune with club registration information and deadlines. A3 will make every effort to accommodate all interested players.
Premier teams are formed though a tryout process in late May and June. Coaches and evaluators will base their selections on player skill, athletic ability, potential, fitness, and positive attitude demonstrated during the process. Premier players will receive notification of the results within a few days after the conclusion of the last tryout session. Players not called/selected for the Premier teams will be called later in the summer as the county teams are formed.
County teams are generally formed by skill level and total amount of players registered - especially in the fall. As previously stated, it is likely that A3 will sponsor multiple county teams across age groups. In the event there are not enough players registered in a particular age group at the county level, A3 may at it's discretion combine two age groups in order to field a team or decline to field a team in the age group.
Age groups are determined by the United States Soccer Federation and cannot be modified by A3 or any other member organization. Starting in fall 2016, all players were grouped based on their year of birth instead of school year.
Traditionally, youth soccer clubs have determined that players should not be "playing up" above their age level. A3 acknowledges that with regards to county soccer teams and for a few Premier players, it may be in the best interest of a player's development to 'play up'. In this case, A3 will evaluate each situation and determine what is best for everyone.
It is strongly recommended that each player tryout for teams in their correct age group.
Structured development takes place throughout the year in practice and in games. More importantly, however, is the unstructured time the players spend with the soccer ball on their own. Playing in the backyard, school ground, garage, etc. will provide them an unlimited amount of touches. It is during this time that a player will begin to develop his creativity, dribbling, juggling, moves, and ball control. The time a player spends on his own will directly correlate to how quickly skills develop. The club has a team-first approach that calls for the players to work on their individual skills as they relate to the team concept. Coaches will ask the players to focus on proper trapping which will lead to "positive" first touches - passes, shots, dribble, etc.
Parents should focus on what takes place during practice and away from the team structure in gauging the development of a player. Game day is merely the product of the time and effort put in during practice and on their own time.7. What will it cost me?
The player registration fees are listed on the registration website and the total annual costs of the program should be considered before attending the tryouts. As with many soccer programs across the country, Premiert teams are more expensive than recreational teams.
Futures - costs are per season - fees are approximately $40 (U04 & U05) to $125 (U06 to U07) per player and include a t-shirt.
Junior Academy - costs are per season - fees are approximately $140 per player and include a t-shirt.
County - costs are per season - fees are approximately $130 per player. Uniforms are purchased by the player and may be used for as long as they fit.
Premier teams - annual (includes Spring & Fall) registration fees are dependent on number of tournaments, coaching fees, etc. The average costs for a Premier team in 2021 was $1000 to $1500. (including tournaments).8. When will the tryouts take place?
Every age group will hold open tryouts every year for Premier teams. It is not necessary to attend all tryouts but all players should plan on attending as many sessions as possible to ensure evaluators get a fair look the players. Players who are not selected for select team may have an additional placement session before the fall season starts in August. Older age groups will usually have less tryout sessions so it is important to monitor the A3 website for dates. Specific days and times will be announced (via e-mails, newspaper ads, flyers, etc.) during the spring.
Soccer is a sport which requires a quality playing surface and so keeping the fields in good shape is a high priority for the club. The decision to close fields (for practices or matches) is usually a collaborative effort between our facilities managers, coaches, and open source research. We take weather reports and forecasts very seriously and do our best to make sure we have a good understanding of what's happening with regard to the weather. For practices, we usually try to have a decision made and posted on Twitter by 2:00 pm. Games are a bit different as the leagues all have different requirements for cancellations. Some require a 2 hour notice, others a 3 hour notice, and some have an actual time (say 9:00 am) to call in the decisions. That requires that a club official go out to Bell Branch as early as 6:00 am on game days to make a decision. That helps explain why sometimes games are called off at 6:00 am but the sun is out at 1:00 pm. We make the best decision possible based on the information available to us at the time.
Our club offers indoor soccer for the younger age groups. The games take place in Crofton area elementary school gymnasiums.
During the summer, we provide the West Ham Academy ID Session for our Premier players and Summer Training session for recreational players - county and World Cup.
Volunteers - parents can volunteer to help out in a variety of ways. For select teams, coaches will likely require parents to assist with:
Our risk management guidelines follow the US Government’s Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) Guidelines for Movable Soccer Goals which were meant for all soccer organizations to follow. In order for us to be compliant, our insurance consultants recommended we follow the above-referenced CPSC guidelines which state, “When goals are not being used always: Place the goal frames face to face and secure them at each goal post with a lock and chain.”