Chicago Fire Academy

Discussion in 'Youth & HS Soccer' started by glasgowceltic, Jul 6, 2005.

  1. glasgowceltic

    glasgowceltic New Member

    Jan 12, 2005
    Anyone have experience with the Chicago Fire Academy (not the fire Juniors)? Any info beyond the general description on the Fire website?
  2. Griff1900

    Griff1900 New Member

    Mar 30, 2005
    For what it's worth, my son & one of his teammates did the dowtown U12 Fire Academy in the fall and winter last year. He didn't participate in the spring because it conflicted with his club practice. I think he got a lot out of it, but he may have been in an unusual position.

    On his club team the same coach stays with the team each year so the Academy enabled him to get some different instruction than he was getting from his club. The instruction was good, and he learned some new things.

    He's an August birthday and was playing at his age level (U11) on his club team with 1/2 of his club teammates playing up a year. As a result, he could physically dominate most of his teammates in practice. At the Fire Academy, he was in with true U11's and U12's so he was pushed a lot more. Nevertheless, he seemed to be in the top 1/2 of the players (at least physically and skill-wise, maybe not tactically yet). It's probably as good competition as you'll find downtown, but the surburbs seem to have more alternatives for high level competition if you're willing to drive. At U11, we're not willing to commit to all that windshield time.

    At U12, the girls train with the boys which is both + and - for the girls. There were fewer girls than boys. If the girl wasn't aggressive, she didn't get that many touches during scrimage. I did notice that some of the less aggressive girls were getting more aggressive by the end of the 8-weeks.

    Biggest downside is the price. If you go to their summer camp, the cost comes to $20 per 1 1/2 hour session. If not, the cost is $30 per 1 1/2 hour session. This coming year, we're only likley to do the winter session since there just aren't many downtown options in the winter. He's already got too much soccer going on in the fall (club + middle school) and the spring practice time conflicts with his club team. Hope this helps.

    btw, if anyone has suggestions for high level youth soccer competition in downtown Chicago, I'd love to hear about them. It seems like there is a lot of young talent downtown, but it's thinly spread out across a variety of clubs and various hispanic leagues.
  3. JohnR

    JohnR Member+

    Jun 23, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    Don't know where you could get the training downtown, but as you write you definitely can get good games in the Hispanic leagues. You'll want to find a way to get your kid on a team or two if he's good.

    We did Fire Academy sessions briefly a few years back, in the first year. The coaches seemed earnest, but we had the opposite problem as you -- my kid was on the older end and was dominating a bunch of mostly younger second-tier players, so it was boring. He started to complain a lot about attending the sessions so I stopped bringing him.
  4. SoccerLad

    SoccerLad New Member

    Jun 8, 2005
    This Academy is the same joke that the Juniors are. Let us see how we can set up an academy where we can sell tickets and disguise it as youth soccer. Welcome to the glorified recreational academy or club.

    Either way it is a big waste of money. Place a ball at you feet and kick it around yourself!
  5. osage

    osage New Member

    Mar 20, 2005
    Let me tell you my experience. When my son was 14, I made the mistake of paying $300 plus for him to attend a Fire Academy tryout. Before paying the money I called Roland Hahn and specifically asked him if there would be other players my son's age or older in attendance who could offer him challenging competition. I was told there would be. On arrival, we discovered there were no players older than my son and only two other 14-year-olds. During the soccer 101 drills, Daryl Shore pontificated and made some surprisingly clumsy and arrogant comments. There were also two Fire players there working with the kids. To give you an idea how foolish Daryl Shore came across, the Fire players were laughing behind his back and telling my son not to pay attention to him. There is no substance to the Fire Academy program. It is pure PR without developmental value. If you're looking for a recreational experience, it won't be disappointing. If you're looking for something to advance your child's development, don't waste his or her time or your money on the Fire Academy. My son suffered through the first and second night. After that, I didn't have the heart to force him to attend the three remaining sessions. It was cheaper to just walk away having learned a costly leasson.
  6. glasgowceltic

    glasgowceltic New Member

    Jan 12, 2005
    "btw, if anyone has suggestions for high level youth soccer competition in downtown Chicago, I'd love to hear about them. It seems like there is a lot of young talent downtown, but it's thinly spread out across a variety of clubs and various hispanic leagues."

    You should check out the Chicago Hispano League. There are games at Orr H.S. most Sunday mornings.
  7. soccerfreek421

    soccerfreek421 New Member

    Jul 7, 2005
    chicago suburbs
    i couldnt agree more.
  8. the Next Level

    Mar 18, 2003
    Chicago, IL
    Good Post and Welcome Back!

    Too bad about your 16s against Vardar, but it was pretty cool to see my neighhbor (RLB) and his buddies on the ESP roster. I'm sure he's very excited (although you know he tries to play it off).

    Re: Fire Academy, I'm thinking the Academy isn't very useful if you have a truly top shelf player, however it would seem to be beneficial for the second and third tier players.


    PS. Do you remember that road trip we took waaaaaay back in that old black car you used to have? That was a cool trip. Just thought about it as I was typing this message. If you are going to the RM or AC Milan matches PM me, maybe we'll get together for a drink...
  9. the Next Level

    Mar 18, 2003
    Chicago, IL
    Let's talk about a real (maybe) program for a sec. John - NR and AW went to YPT right?

    What can you tell us about that? And how does the experience you had tie into the YPT European tour they do each year?
  10. JohnR

    JohnR Member+

    Jun 23, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    YPT -

    1) All the coaches are European professional youth guys. The U14 coach at Real Madrid, the U13 coach at Man U, etc.

    2) Two 2-hour training sessions per day, one game session in the evening.

    3) Training was predominantly technical.

    4) Player quality is good because YPT not only asks for references, but checks on them and will deny players who appear not to be up to snuff. On the whole, I would say that the typical player was of State ODP quality. The best were Regional types. The year we attended, nobody of National level that I am aware of.

    In terms of tours, there are two ways of going about it. One, a couple of kids might be identified at the camp by the coaching staff to do individual tours of Europe. Those kids will be approached by the YPT people to guage their interest. I have no idea how the finances are handled. Second, separately from the camp the YPT people pull together a team each year and bring it to Europe for a series of matches. Many of these kids are of course former camp attendees. The team tends to be quite competitive on the tour when playing against the top-division European youth squads, e.g. Bayern Munich & other Bundesliga youth teams.

    My kid enjoyed the soccer aspect of the program but at 10/11 (his birthday occurred during the camp) he was a bit young. Hard to survive the overnight atmosphere for a whole week at that age without collapsing from lack of sleep, also a bit tough socially with most of the kids in the younger group being 12/13.

    Overall, it was a good experience. He would have gone back this year but he instead playing with a team at USA Cup, which is at the same time.

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