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Athens United Soccer Association

Player Pathway

AUSA Player Pathway

The diagram below explains the course of a young soccer player's development through training and play at Athens United Soccer Association.

The youngest players (ages 4-8) enter into our Early Developmental Program where they are coached by parents and other volunteers using the guidelines that are provided, explained, and demonstrated by the club's professional coaching staff. Players are formed into small teams to play 3v3 and 4v4 games in our in-house league.

At age 8, players and parents may make a choice between continuing to play in either the Developmental Program or in the club's Academy Program. The former is essentially a continuation of the Early Program, featuring volunteer coaches and local competition. Teams play 7v7 until age 10, when they switch to 9v9 play for two more years - all on correspondingly larger fields.  

The AUSA Junior Academy provides opportunities for 7-10 year old players in the Developmental Program to supplement their regular team training with an additional session each week that is conducted by our staff of professional coaches.  

The AUSA Academy Program is the first stage of competitive travel soccer. Our entire Academy staff has earned their professional coaching licenses through the United States Soccer Federation. The frequency and intensity of the training sessions is considerably greater than in the Early and Developmental Programs. These teams compete in pre-and post-season tournaments and 8-12 regular season games each season (in both Fall and Spring). These games are played against the same age Academy teams as other clubs in the area, mostly from in and around the Atlanta area. Typically, half of the games will be played at home and the other half will be played away.

At age 12 (U13), Academy play gives way to Select competition, with six tiers of play featuring a promotion/relegation system each
Spring and Fall season. This statewide competition is managed through Georgia Soccer, our state's representative to the USSF. All
Select coaches are also part of our club's professional staff, most with advanced licensing and many years of experience.  

For players of high school age, the Spring season of regular competitive club play is eliminated so that they can represent their respective high school. Current AUSA Select players start in and star on just about every local high school soccer team! Our Select teams re-form after the high school season is complete to play post-season club tournaments including the State Cup - the top youth soccer competition in the state.  

The very best competitive youth players in the state try out each Fall for Georgia Soccer's ODP (Olympic Development Program) teams. Making the "state pool" is a major accomplishment for any player and also represents the first step on the path to playing for the full national team!  More than a dozen Athens United players have earned recognition through Georgia ODP over the past few years.  

For youth players interested in pursuing soccer in college, high-level Select play and ODP experience are the best preparation and also provide recruiting opportunities for college coaches. High school soccer alone is not sufficient preparation for the skill and speed of play at any college varsity level - DI, DII, DIII, or NAIA.  

All Athens United teams will train and play according to the principles of the Ajax Online Academy.  

Click here to visit the Ajax Online Academy website.