Youth Academy Soccer


The McHenry Vipers Academy Program is for first graders who are interested in learning how to master the game of soccer.  The Academy focuses primarily on player development, specifically aiming to develop a player’s skill, confidence and character.


Academy Coaches:

All training sessions and games are coached by the McHenry Soccer professional coaching staff. Chris Rockall, McHenry Soccer Director of Coaching, is Academy Director. There are no parent volunteer coaching positions available in the academy program.

Type of player the Academy is looking for:

The Academy is seeking players who have a love for the game of soccer and who express an interest in learning new skills. Current skill level is not an important factor, but attitude is. Players must want to learn from the professional training staff and must be willing to work hard at practice. In return for hard work and willingness to learn, players will enjoy being part of a fun and exciting training environment where they will build great relationships with their coaches and academy teammates.

No tryouts for Academy:

The academy is an inclusive program that wants to give all level soccer players the opportunity to develop their skills. The only players that would be excluded would be those who are not willing to learn or work hard.

Number of Academy Teams:

With numbers averaging 24, we will divide the Academy up into 2 teams, Academy Green and Academy White. Teams are divided up based on current athletic & soccer ability with the Green team being the more advanced group.  If there are 28 or more enrolled in the Academy a third team (Academy Silver) would be created.

Age levels for Academy players:

The academy is for U7 age level players (First  Graders) and it is a co-ed program.  Players are eligible for the 2014/2015 season if they were born between 9/01/07 and 8/31/08.

** U6 Players may be selected for the Academy following a referral from the Academy Director.

Time commitments:

The Academy runs for three seasons: Fall; Winter; Spring.

Time commitments for the Fall and Spring seasons are:

(2) 1-hour training sessions per week (11 weeks in Fall, 11 in Spring)

8-10 game seasons in Fall and Spring (includes 1-2 Academy festivals per season)

Time commitments for the Winter season will be (1) 1-hour training session per week for 10 weeks and 8-10 indoor games from Jan-March.

Practices/Games:

During the Fall and Spring seasons, practices are held on weekday evenings and games will be on Saturdays or Sundays. During winter, practice could be on a weekday evening or Saturday afternoon and games are likely to be on weekends but could be on a weekday evening as well.

Practice/Game Locations:

In Fall and Spring, practices and games will take place in McHenry. (Festivals and away games will require a drive of up to 30 minutes). Academy (new registrants) will be structured into the recreational game schedules with additional games with nearby cities as home only games where referees are present and field accommodations are appropriate.  Away games will be based on similar expectations.  Winter practices will be at a McHenry school gym and games will be at Regional Sports Center in Crystal Lake.

Academy Players cannot participate in Recreational soccer as well.

Next step for Academy Graduates:

The Academy is designed as a feeder program for the McHenry Vipers competitive program. Any player who graduates from the academy at the end of the U7 season will then be encouraged to tryout for the U8 McHenry Vipers team.

Cost for the Academy program:

The Academy fees for 2014/2015 are $550.

Players will receive 3 seasons of professional training and three seasons of games. In addition to this, players will be invited to play in 4-6 ‘Academy Festivals’ against other academies. Each player will be insured through McHenry Soccer and will receive the following uniforms:

(2) Academy jerseys (Green & White), (1) pair of Academy shorts, (1) pair of Academy socks.

Why Academy costs more than Recreational soccer:

* Players are coached by professional training staff at all practices and games.

* Academy practices twice a week in Fall & Spring.

* There is an additional season (Winter) that the recreation league does not have.

* Indoor training sessions and games during the winter season will incur a facility fee.

Payment: Fees can be paid in installments.

There will be three equal payments due at staggered times throughout the year. The first payment will be due upon registration.

Registering for the Academy:

You will register at the same time as regular soccer sign-up (May/June), by going to www.mchenrysoccer.org, creating an account, then registering your child for Academy Soccer.

Let us know if you are interested!

Contact Chris Rockall, the Academy Director.  Please email skillsfirstsoccer@hotmail.com  or call (815) 321-3141 if you are interested or if you have any further questions.

Academy Testimonials

"The coaches teach the kids at a high level and still keep it fun. The kids take pride in representing McHenry when they play other cities. The kids learn to respect themselves, the coaches, and the team. You can tell the coaches are passionate about the game and want to see the kids succeed" (Joe & Lisa Knebl)

"Our experience with the McHenry Vipers has been profoundly positive. My son continues to learn and refine many skills such as ball handling, passing and positioning that will continue to help him in soccer. Beyond that though, he has learned skills which will undoubtedly carryover into whatever he chooses to do outside of soccer.  Specifically, he has gained confidence and endurance and he has learned that win or lose, working together with his teammates feels great!" (Dede Gill)

“The Viper Academy is the perfect transition between Recreation soccer and Travel soccer.   The coaches are very knowledgeable, and stress learning and using the skills over winning.  We are very happy with the coaches and the progress our son has made.” (Wayne & Julie Wilde)

The Youth Soccer Academy exceeded our expectations.  Our son developed his physical and mental soccer skills and became a more confident player.”  (Dan & Debbie Jensen)