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Boys Pre-Development Academy Program

Purpose:  The Pre-Academy program was developed in response to US Soccer's initiative to develop more players, beginning at younger ages.  Due to Empire's geographic location we only have DA Boys teams at u15, u17, and u19 age groups (similar to other DA clubs from remote locations of the US, including MLS clubs such as Toronto FC, Montreal Impact and Sporting KC). As a member of the US Soccer Development Academy, Empire United is taking initiative to develop those players who have the ambition and aspirations to become a world class player, and to contribute to Youth National Teams and competitive college soccer programs during their an age before they can play for the u15 DA team at Empire United.

Boys Pre-Development Academy Program Overview

Empire’s Pre-Development Academy training is a supplemental program for players who desire regular elite level training and competition at an early age.

All PDA sessions are organized by Rory Charcholla (Boys u19 Head coach and Boys DA Director) and Paul Valenti (Boys u17 Head coach and Boys DA Associate Director).  All training sessions are run and implemented by DA/PDA Staff members...the sessions themselves being led by DA staff members Michael Tanke (Boys u15 Head coach and PDA Director) and Andrew Lill (Boys DA assistant coach).

Like with our full-time Developmental Academy teams, Empire’s aim is to provide the highest standard of training in WNY (this is why the same coaches who work with the full-time teams will be running the PDA). By focusing on technique as well as organized attack, defense, and transition moments, our coaching philosophy is to develop the individual player as well as introduce the group to our club’s Style of Play and Identity exercises.

This approach to the PDA sets a clear pathway for these young players who wish to graduate to the Boys DA Full-Time teams of the future.  

• Provide elite players with elite-level coaching and training at younger ages, on a weekly basis
• Train elite players against other elite players, providing a competitive development platform
• Allow elite players a Development Academy experience prior to being at the age level when a Full-Time Development Academy team exist

Boys Pre-Development Academy Program Structure

The PDA is a 7 week program (each 7 week period is called a "Phases") consisting of 1 training session per week.  Empire will run three phases from August to March, with a separate Summer Phase taking place in July. 

Sessions are broken up into two zones based by birth year.
Zone 1: 2008 & 2009 Birth Years 
Zone 2: 2006 & 2007 Birth Years 

Training sessions will take place on weekends (Sundays whenever possible) at the Empire United Soccer Complex in Rochester (1520 John Street, West Henrietta, NY). 

2019-2020 Schedule:
Summer Phase - July 2019
Phase I - August-October 2019
Phase II - November-December 2019
Phase III - January-March 2020

This is an invite only program available on a regular basis only to players from Empire United (Canada, Buffalo, Rochester) and their affilitates (Syracuse affiliate - SDA, Utica affiliate - SDA Utica).
As a club policy we are open to players from other clubs attending for up to one year while being registered outside of the Empire/SDA 'umbrella'. Families can reach out to Academy Director Rory Charcholla for more information on how they can attend and see what the program has to offer.  


Can players still play school/other sports if chosen for the Pre-Academy Program?

Yes!  These training sessions are 1x per week, mostly on Sundays.  Most Modified school sports do not have a heavy commitment on weekends which will allow for them to be a part of the PDA while participating in school sports.

How are the players chosen for the Pre-Academy Program?

Players are constantly evaluated by Empire United Club coaches in their every-day team environment.  Coaches and DOCs of Empire clubs and affiliates recommend players to the DA Directors.  The PDA Staff itself watches players in their normal training environment, in leagues and tournaments, as well as in current phases of the PDA.  Prior to each phase the DA Directors invite the top performing 20 players from each birth year to attend that phase of the PDA.  Between phases new players are invited based on performance and work ethic in their club environment.

Why is there no programing from March through August?

From March to August youth players of the ages we train for the PDA are overloaded with matches and training as the weather turns nice.  Beacause of the increased demand physically and mentally the PDA takes a break during this time period, helping to avoid burnout and injuries from fatigue.

To maintain contact with players during the Spring period the Boys Development Academy runs Empire Training Centers to maintain contact with the players during this busy schedule, while also not overloading players.  In July of 2019 the Boys DA ran the first ever "Summer Phase" of the PDA.  The Summer Phase consisted of one session per week during the month of July and was part of the curriculum for the 2019-2020 season. 

In addition to the Summer Phase, the DA staff run the PDA Summer Camp each year at the end of July/beginning of August.

Do the players play any matches or in any events?

Yes, we select PDA teams to attend events and play friendlies, representing Empire United DA.  Here are the events being attended by our PDA for 2019-20:

  • Crew SC Friendly (Geneva, OH) - August 31 (u14 Team)
  • US Soccer Eastern Regional DA Showcase (NC) - October 25-28 (Zone 2: u13 & u14 Teams)
  • Internationals Friendlies (Cleveland, OH) - October 19 (u11, u12 Teams)
  • Push Yourself Futsal Showcase (Rochester, NY) - January 11 & 12 (u11, u12, u13, u14 Teams)
  • Toronto FC Friendly (Toronto, Canada) - Feb 8 (u12, u13, u14 Teams)
  • FC DELCO DA Friendlies - Feb 15-16 (u12 Team)